Friday, December 31, 2010

Twitter Addiction?

Addicted to Twitter? How could that be? it started out as just a fun little thing to stay in touch with friends, then I made new friends, and attended Tweet ups.  Tweeting on lunch breaks at work, before and after work, missing sleep to catch up on reading and retweeting. Then I got a smart phone, now twitter is with me all the time, and I mean all the time, even those places that were for traditionally just for printed materials. I catch myself missing the feed when I am trying to do other daily chores. Is there a room at the Betty Ford Clinic for Tweeps?  And what idiot decided 140 charactors was enough to convey all your thoughts?  Thank goodness for blogging at least it is not a limiting and therefore not as addictive, I hope.  Of course I am checking my TweetDeck as I write this so taht I don't miss anything.

I am constantly refering to my wife as the Twidow (The significant other of a tweeter who doesn't tweet and doesn't understand why you do).  She truly has no concept of just how addicted I am, though the windows phone commercials are clueing her in "Really!"  I have yet to drop my phone in the urinal but most of the other scenes could have come from my life.  Thankgoodness they didn;t have Twitter or smart phones 28 years ago when we got married or I may have been left at the alter as I tweeted out one last quick one.

I currently have three accounts two for myself and one for a winery I support.  So I spend lots of time in different personalities. Sometimes they merge and sometimes they get confused.  I guess that just makes it a bit more interesting and far from boring. Twitter fits well with my ADD as it is hard for me to stay focused on one subject for too long, but I have found that by limiting my groups I follow to a specific subject does help a little.

Well time to start the #FollowFridays, #FF and check my follower counts, so I will see you out in the Twitterverse.  Follow me @Wine_Traveler

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winery Volunteering

I am often asked what it takes to be a Winery Volunteer, so I thought I would jot down a few random things that came to mind. 
The first thing is time; you have to be available when the winery has need of help. Most small Winery owners have “Day Jobs” so most likely the times for volunteering will be outside of normal work hours, evenings and weekends. This is advantageous to us part time winery workers as in most cases we also have “Day Jobs.” Because this tends to be the luck of coincidences it is advisable to sign up at many wineries, then chances are something will match your schedule.
The second is a desire to learn, every winery does things a little different so you have to be willing to learn how they "do it." Some have invested in equipment to automate some of the processes others do everything by hand and each winemaker has their own philosophy of what best suits their wine making methods. While you should not be afraid to share your experiences, do not try to tell them they are “Doing it wrong, because at winery XYZ they do it this way.”
Being outgoing helps as to get on the volunteer list you have to approach the winery. Most wineries have an email list of volunteers and the first ones to reply to a request usually get the job.  Make a good impression, being friendly and fun helps to get you to the top of the list as long as you are also productive. Belonging to their wine club and/or making regular purchases does not hurt either.
There are many options when it comes to helping wineries; there are the folks that help set out the food for events, If you have your Class 12 certification you can pour wine, During Crush there are lots of manual jobs that are easy to learn such as sorting the grapes to remove leaves, raisins and debris. Bottling is another opportunity to volunteer some wineries use an automated conveyor that requires little interaction and mostly just observation for defects to a completely manual process where even the labels are applied by hand.  So don’t be afraid to sign up and answer the e-mail maybe we’ll be working together sometime.

Who Knew? (Originally posted on 8/28/2008)

Eastern Pennsylvania is home to a new AVA, the Lehigh Valley, designated in April of 2008.  My business travels brought me to this fertile farming area at the foothills of the Pocono Mountains.  With a cooler and wetter climate than Eastern Washington I was surprised by the variety of grapes grown here.  A new one to me and the star of the Leigh Valley is the Chambourcin a red varietal that thrives in this AVA and makes a great tasting red wine. The locals here use American Oak primarily and some even from cooperages right in Pennsylvania.  Traminette is a white grape that does well in this AVA, along with Vidal Blanc, Cayuga and Pinot Grigio.  I visited three wineries here and will review them separately later.  The alcohol levels are notably lower in the wines here rarely more than 11%, and they seem to have a market that tends more towards the sweeter fruitier wines, Concord wine is a staple and I must admit it was like Welch's grape juice, I think a sippy cup of this before nap time would have made a difference in raising the kids :-)

I wouldn't say they lied, but...

I was told Marysville had no place good to eat.  Well I have found that to be a bit of an exageration.  While options are limitied one of the best meals I have had in a long time was right in the middle of town.  J.R.'s Steakhouse is tucked away off the main road (State Ave) The inside is all dark wood and cozy, the staff is friendly and attentive.  The menu is varied, but not so many choices that you are sure they can't do that many things well.  My wife and I had just moved to Marysville and felt it was time for a nice meal to celibrate.  We started with the Clam Chowder, obviously house made with fresh ingredients and thickened with cream not starch.  This alone will bring us back.  We then ordered a bottle of 14 Hands Merlot, and I had the special which was a baseball Sirloin steak cooked to perfection, seared on the outside and juicy and red on the inside.  The seasoning included caraway seeds which really added a wonderful compliment to the garlic butter. served with broccolini and a twice stuffed baked potato, both of which were perfect.  My wife had the prime rib special which came with 4 Prawns in Kobe sauce, baked beans and a loaded baked potato.  The baked beans were awesome, not something you will ever find in a can. The server talked us into splitting a Creme Brulee I had to thank her as it was a real Creme Brulee, not one of the instant custards/puddings with burnt sugar on top.  We left satisfied and ready to share this experience with others.