Wednesday, May 23, 2012

GeoTourism - We Should Care About This!

GeoTourism is such an all-encompassing concept, but the good thing is that it encompasses VINEYARDS and WINERIES too.  Hurray for that!

In celebration of the conclusion of the Sierra Nevada portion of this over-arching National Geographic Project, several Sierra Foothills wineries stepped up and celebrated too by pouring their wines at the "New Face of Travel" event held at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.  The event commemorates 3,000 square miles of local culture, iconic  beauty, and  adventure that distinguishes the unique character of the  Sierra Nevada.

One result of this multi-year effort is an interactive Web site,, and also a print map. These maps capture the history, heritage and attractions distinctive to the Sierra Nevada region.  This project was partnership with Sierra Business Council, the National Geographic Society and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.

Why does this matter to the wine business in the Sierra Foothills?   Because this Sierra Nevada Geotourism project is aimed at promoting tourism for the 21st century, "tourism that can conserve the region’s historic towns and heritage sites, restore and protect the landscape, and sustain local businesses and communities".

In the maps, attractions, businesses, and events distinctive to the Sierra Nevada are called out, to provide travelers with a richer and more complete experience spread throughout the Sierra Nevada. The goal : to celebrate the Sierra Nevada as a world-class destination, while contributing to the economic health of the region by promoting sustainable tourism

All good stuff.    These wineries contributed their time and wine to celebrate, and deserve recognition.  Click on their names to fine out more about these civic-minded wineries!

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's a Hand-Sell Summer for Sierra Foothills Wineries

Rubber gloves, leather gloves or those cheaty vinyl gloves that doctors use -- whatever it takes to get your hands in motion this summer, owners/winemakers of the small artisan wineries from the Sierra Foothills should get in their cars, drive up to Lake Tahoe, and hand-sell to the resorts and restaurants there.  It's a great demographic and the wine buyers are warmed up and receptive.

Courtesy, Wild Goose
Over the past two years, I've been championing these wineries which are within a 2-3 hour drive from  Lake Tahoe.  They share the same geologic history as does this beautiful lake, with granitic soils making it difficult for me to grow zinnias in my garden on the West Shore, but making it possible (and necessary) for rhone vines and Italian vines and other vines to take a deep rooted approach to life.

Chaim & Elisheva Gur-Arieh,
at Incline Spirits 
Every time I do a wine-food pairing review at a venue on the Lake for The Tahoe Weekly newspaper, I talk about Sierra Foothill wines.   Wine expert Pat Hedderman at Wild Goose put a few on his list last year.  Scott Willers, wine buyer at Obexers Market in Homewood carries a few, as does Will Brigham at Incline Spirits.  Bric Haley of River Ranch pours a Montevina by the glass. 

As I was posting one of my Wine Time columns ( click here to to see them all) today, I was thinking about the opportunities to sell into this area -- and this great vacation-goer demographic -- this summer. 

Restaurants in Tahoe are very receptive to the drink-local message.  They buy local produce and meats, and ballyhoo their locavore orientation on their menus.

Sierra Foothill wines are well-priced, and deserve a place on not only the by-the-glass list, but the bottle list. 

You've got a car (maybe even a van).  You've got a space for cases.  You've got a road map.  And from my columns, you've got a list of fine restaurants and wine shops, and their proprietors, locations and phone numbers.  Talk about giving you something on a silver platter! 

What are you waiting for?  Get those hands a-selling!