Breaking

View from the top of Pence Ranch

The TTB, the American wine regulatory body, today announces the official expansion of the Sta Rita Hills AVA by 2,296 acres. The controversial ruling will become effective on 21 September.

The expansion of this highly successful appellation comes as a result of a petition filed by geographer Patrick Shabram in March 2013 on behalf of the owners of Pence Ranch and John Sebastiano Vineyards, both of which will be fully included within the newly expanded area. Sebastiano Vineyard sits largely within the original AVA boundaries but a small portion of the property, currently planted largely to Rhône varieties, is currently outside the eastern border. Sebastiano Pinot Noir is planted entirely within the already established appellation. Sebastiano Vineyard has been a fruit source for numerous vintners from throughout Santa Barbara County. Pence Ranch, to the east of Sebastiano Vineyards, sits entirely outside the current appellation and will now be included in the newly expanded Sta Rita Hills AVA. Seen above is the view from the top of Pence Ranch which operates its own Pence winery and also sells fruit to vintners throughout the extended region. As a result of the approved expansion, any vintners who bottle wine on or after 21 September 2016 from vineyards within the expanded area will now be able to label those wines with the Sta Rita Hills AVA. Previously they would have been labeled Santa Ynez Valley.

The request for expansion was met with intense opposition within the Santa Barbara winemaking community.

To keep reading, heading on over to JancisRobinson.com where the article continues. This article appears there free for all. 

Here’s the direct link: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/sta-rita-hills-expansion-approved

Subscription to JancisRobinson.com is £8.50 a month or £85 per year ($12.20/mo or $122 a year for you Americans) and includes searchable access to the new 4th edition of the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the 7th edition to the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs, as well as interactive discussions on the Purple Pages. Click here to sign up.

To read more on the Sta Rita Hills expansion and the arguments both for and against: http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2014/08/06/an-in-depth-look-at-the-proposed-sta-rita-hills-ava-expansion/

2

California Wild Fires

As some of you know, California has been hit again and again this year with wild fires. Lake County alone is currently suffering its fifth this summer.

The current Valley Fire, as its come to be known, has been particularly devastating. It started midday Saturday (this weekend) and escalated to 40,000 acres in only 24 hrs, and has continued to spread to 61,000 acres with only 5% containment.

Even harder, the fire has forced substantial evacuations as it has moved through towns and residential communities in Southern Lake County, North Napa Valley, and Eastern Sonoma County. Thousands of people and their pets are displaced, many having lost everything to the fire.

How to Help

Evacuation centers have been established in both Lake County and Napa Valley.

There are also numerous sites accepting donations of goods, toiletries, clothing and shoes (of all sizes and ages), and personal items. Please call ahead if you want to make a drop off.

There are several animal care facilities accepting donations of pet food, bedding, collars and leashes, etc for everything from dogs and cats, to chickens or rabbits, and horses and livestock.

Following is the information I have been able to gather.

As always, monetary donations are most helpful.

RECOMMENDED MONETARY DONATION CENTERS – UPDATED

Provident Credit Union’s Fire Relief Fund UPDATED
100% of the proceeds will be distributed to nonprofit agencies in the Lake County community to assist in the recovery effort. Additionally, Provident will match proceeds up to $5,000.
Donate in branch.
Donate by Phone: 
Phone: (800) 632-4600, opt. 0
Donate by mail: mail a check payable to Lake County Fire Victims Fund c/o Provident Credit Union to this address:
ATTN: Lake County Fire Victim’s Fund
Provident Credit Union
303 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood Shores, CA 94065
http://providentcu.org/index.asp?i=news&a=Lake_County_Fire_2015-09

Redwood Credit Union
has started a fund in partnership with The Press Democrat and Senator Mike McGuire to assist those affected by the Lake County fires.
https://www.redwoodcu.org/about-rcu/news-announcements-specials/rockyfire

Mendo Lake County Credit Union

they have set up a fund specifically for fire relief and guaranteed all funds will be used for those impacted by the fires.
https://www.mlcu.org/what-s-new/rocky-fire-relief-fund/

Wine Country Animal Lovers
are doing tons of work to help pet evacuees and coordinating efforts through shelters and pet hospitals throughout the region. They are also accepting monetary donations, which are being dedicated to those affected by the fire.
http://winecountryanimallovers.org

Red Cross donation site. Indicate disaster relief.
If you donate via Paypal you can add a note designating #ValleyFire
https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation?flow=char&loggedIn=false

To register for Red Cross Assistance American Red Cross “Safe and Well” website
call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to let families know you are safe.

Middletown Mustangs High School Football Team UPDATED
The Valley Fire started the weekend prior to Middletown High School’s Homecoming week. At least 1/3 of the football team lost everything, including their gear. Emergency funds don’t typically cover the cost of replacing athletic equipment. The team from El Molino High School, which the Mustangs were scheduled to play this week for homecoming, have started a fund to replace athletic gear for the Middletown team. Sports are a great way for young people to move forward productively. The Mustang’s team have expressed their desire to get back to practice.
https://www.gofundme.com/MiddletownMustangs

RED CROSS EVACUATION CENTERS

Two primary evacuation centers both being led by the Red Cross:

Kelseyville High School
5480 Main Street, Kelseyville, CA

Napa County Fairgrounds
1435 N Oak St, Calistoga, CA.
Petaluma Animal Services and Wine Country Animal Lovers are available for evacuated pets and animals.

ADDITIONAL EVACUATION CENTERS

Big Valley Rancheria Gymnasium
1002 Osprey Court (off Soda Bay Road), Lakeport, CA.
There is space for parking of self-contained RV’s outside the shelter.

Clearlake Senior Center
3245 Bowers Avenue, Clearlake, CA

Cole Creek Equestrian Center
4965 Steelhead Drive, Kelseyville, CA
With or without livestock.
Space for self-contained RV’s, trailers and tents.

Kelseyville Presbyterian Church
5340 Church Street, Kelseyville, CA

Redwood Empire Fairgrounds, Fine Arts Building
1055 North State Street, Ukiah, CA
They have facilities for shelter of small animals and can also house some large animals.
Directions: Coming from Lake County, take N State St exit and head south. Go through two stop lights and take a left past KFC.

Seventh Day Adventist Church of Lakeport
1111 Park Way, Lakeport, CA
Space for self-contained RV’s.

Lakeport Auto Movies
52 Soda Bay Rd, Lakeport, CA 95453
Space for self-contained RVs, trailers, and campers only.
Please check in at movie theater office.
Dump station available in Library Park near launch at 5th St in Lakeport, No potable water to fill tanks.

DONATION CENTERS
DROP OFF GOODS
PICK UP NEEDED GOODS

Moose Lodge in Clear Lake
15900 E Highway 20, Clearlake Oaks, CA 95423
(707) 998-3740

Methodist Church in Clear Lake
call Cindy at 1 (408) 821-2443

List of donation centers. You can add to the list as well.
http://www.lovelakecounty.org

Napa County Fairgrounds
1435 N Oak St, Calistoga, CA.

ANIMAL RESOURCES

Lake County Horse Rescue is taking large animal evacuees.
4949 Hellbush Drive in Lakeport. 707-263-0278

Lake County Horse Council has additional equestrian rescue information:
http://www.lakecountyhorsecouncil.com/emergency-equestrian-evacuation-resources-for-lake-county.html

People wanting to offer help housing / transporting horses should follow and post the following pages:
Sunrise Horse Rescue
Cole Creek Equestrian Center
Sonoma County CHANGE Program

Petaluma Animal Shelter is helping to coordinate pet care at the Napa Fair Grounds
http://www.petalumaanimalshelter.org

Wine Country Animal Lovers is helping to coordinate pet care at the Napa Fair Grounds
and with shelters throughout the North Coast
http://winecountryanimallovers.org

Emergency Boarding Assistance is available at animal hospitals throughout the North Coast. Animals must be up with current vaccinations but at hospitals where there is still room doctors are offering free shots to get animals current. Here is a list of hospitals. Please call ahead.
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=940230632689606&id=211690755543601&fref=nf

If you want to foster dogs/cats, please complete an application with our rescue partners at Sonoma Humane Society ~ they are also accepting donations!

Pet Food, supplies and donations can be accepted by our rescue partners who are also working with us at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga:
Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch
Petaluma Animal Services

How to volunteer: You are welcome to visit the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga and check in with a coordinator to see what you can do to help. It might be cooking in the kitchens, refilling water bowls for pets, organizing piles of incoming donations, etc. and these needs will be ongoing as long as the evacuation center is up and running.

Pet Lost and Found Pages:
https://www.facebook.com/lakecountypets?fref=ts
Valley Fire – Lake County Lost or Found Pets
PET Lost and Found for Lake County Fires
Napa Valley Equine
Lake County Animal Care & Control

DISTRESS HOTLINE

If you or someone you know needs help handling distress from the wildfire please call the following Distress Hotline for assistance. They have access to a range of resources that can help.
Call: 1-800-985-5990 (they have Spanish language speakers available as well)
http://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline/disaster-types/wildfires

 

UPDATED ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

USPS/MAIL REROUTED:
Mail for the evacuated areas has been re-routed and is available for pick up at the following locations:

For Cobb and Clearlake Riviera:
Kelseyville Post Office
5500 Gaddy Lane
Kelseyville, CA 95451
707.279.4562

For Middletown and Hidden Valley Lake:
Clearlake Post Office
14500 Olympic Drive
Clearlake, CA 95422
707.994.6790

HEALTH SERVICES

Lake County Tribal Health and St. Helena Clearlake Clinic have same day appointments available to evacuees: Call 263-8382 or 995-4500

UPDATED SHELTER LOCATIONS

http://www.lakecountylac.com/shelters.html

W20Group.com Acquires VinTank 

W20 Group has acquired VinTank, the wine tech leader in social media analysis and communication. The purchase was just announced this morning.

“W2O is known for their analytics work. They can take a brand, look at all the social media data, identify that brand’s audience, and identify what they like so you can advertise smarter, and even predict future sales.” Paul Mabray, CEO and co-founder of VinTank, explains. “VinTank lets you communicate with them in real time. It completes the circle.”

Working with major brands such as Verizon, Intel, Red Bull, and Warner Bros., W20 Group has won multiple innovation awards for their work.

In purchasing VinTank, W20 Group gains unique technology that allows them to incorporate the next step in brand building. With VinTank software, W20 Group customers will be able to not only better understand their audience, but now also connect directly across social media platforms.

The acquisition proves significant for multiple reasons – This type of sale of a wine technology company is unprecedented. By combining the resources of W2O Group with the data of VinTank the insights into the wine industry to be gained should be monumental. The ability to communicate directly with customers that VinTank offers W2O Group will have reverberations far beyond wine.

Successful Wine Technology

This is the first time a company from completely outside the wine industry has purchased a wine technology company. VinTank effectively created software for the wine industry that can scale beyond the wine industry.

VinTank’s success in wine technology is unique. The wine industry proves to be one of the most difficult industries within which to successfully advance social media technologies due to the industry’s own resistance to such change, and most winery’s limited financial resources.

“I’m really grateful for the challenge of building this kind of technology within the wine industry.” Mabray says. “There was this sense of banging my head against the wall but that eventually gave insight into what we needed to do.”

Wine tech success stories are few. While many such companies have launched, very few have succeeded. Successful examples include Ship Compliant, Wine Direct, and VinTank itself.

Gary Vaynerchuck stands as another clear leader in wine technology, thanks to his early success with the Wine Library video series. However, it is significant to point out that Vaynerchuck’s current success is largely thanks to his quickly stepping outside the confines of wine itself.

What makes VinTank significant beyond the wine industry? 

“We’d already made software to work beyond wine,” Mabray explains. “But as a self funded company we needed to stay focused on wine so our attention wasn’t divided. Now the development conversation can expand and prove what the software can do both in and outside of wine.”

VinTank’s power beyond the wine industry rests first in how brands can communicate directly with customers. It also depends on VinTanks ease of use.

Currently, VinTank software pinpoints social media mentions for specific wine brands giving their customers the ability to identify who is talking about them, as well as the opportunity to communicate with those customers directly. Even more importantly, it allows you to communicate with those customers in real time.

If someone mentions a wine brand on Instagram, via the VinTank app that winery can respond in Instagram. Same with Twitter, Facebook, Delectable, blog platforms, and more.

Part of what makes VinTank so easy is that to have these conversations, wine brands don’t have to be logged into every social media platform. Instead, they can communicate across any of them from within the VinTank app.

Now imagine that same capability for any brand in any industry, not just wine.

In an age where customers more than ever want to feel directly connected, VinTank technology makes communicating directly with those customers possible. It also makes the noisy chaos of social media understandable.

As significant as the VinTank acquisition is for industry in general, it promises to change the wine industry as well.

The Next Step: Analysis

“We have the largest set of data on wine consumers in the industry,” Mabray points out. VinTank analyzes one million social media conversations about wine per day and has now for years. “I’ve always wanted to dig into that data but haven’t had the money to hire analysts. W2O already has data analysts in house.”

The insights into the wine industry made possible by this merger are unprecedented.

“We will be able to do things like predict variety popularity before a boom,” Mabray explains. “We will be able to predict leading regions, varieties, and brands based on social media interaction.”

Such analysis will also give insight into key influencers – the people that impact wine sales and increase interest in particular wines just by talking about them.

VinTank already has the ability to identify who the influencers are, and the impact of their message through how it spreads online. With W20 analysis, VinTank will also be able to predict new influencers before they happen.

Imagine companies being able to use such insight to connect with those influencers directly.

The Power of Influence

Part of what VinTank technology has already helped make clear is how influence in social media operates.

“We look at people that might not have a huge audience,” Mabray explains, “but whose audience listens tightly to what that person says.”

An individual with a small number of followers on social media could have more impact than someone with a much higher number of followers when at least two elements are in place – followers trust and act based on what the individual says, and the followers also influence others.

The point is simple – “Who influences the influencers?” Mabray points out. “We can identify not only who the key influencers are, but also who influences the influencers in microwaves from the side. Someone might be a key influencer, but who has direct lines to him or her” and influences his or her decisions?

The importance of such insight is crucial in the world of social media where key influencers might not even be known critics, but instead simply people that speak up about certain subjects like wine.

The Future of VinTank: A Commitment to the Wine Industry 

“W2O is committed to the wine industry, and we’re committed to staying,” Mabray explains. “James and I both live here [in Napa] with our families. We’re not going anywhere.”

While W2O Group is not a wine company, their purchase of VinTank includes a commitment to the wine industry. Indeed, VinTank has been looked at by other companies but part of what convinced VinTank to accept an offer from the W2O Group is its ongoing commitment to the wine industry.

What W2O offers the wine industry is greater resources. “They’re a company with resources, and they’re dedicating those to the wine industry.” Mabray explains. “We can now expand our work for the wine industry.”

VinTank’s Napa office will remain open.

VinTank CEO Paul Mabray will lead the business side of W2O Group’s software division for data driven engagement. VinTank CTO James Jory will lead the technology side of the same division.

“We’re essentially two sides of the same coin,” Mabray says. “We come together.”

***

To read more on the VinTank acquisition:

The official press release: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150330005194/en/W2O-Group-Acquires-VinTank-Social-Engagement-CRM#.VRlDRVz4vFK

VinTank’s own blog post about it: http://www.vintank.com/2015/03/the-next-chapter/

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