Hardy Wallace aka “Dirty South” Makes Goode

So his wasn’t the prettiest face on the page, I am sure he’d be the first to admit.

But anybody who knows Hardy, or gets to know Hardy, knows he’s a really Goode guy.

No surprise that Murphy-Goode snapped up the guy who flew across the country to be first in line in San Francisco to sign up to compete for a really goode job as Murphy-Goode Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent–someone who’s seriously been big into wine for awhile–when we met at the Wine Blogger’s Conference, it seemed everybody already knew him!–and someone who certainly doesn’t take himself too seriously.

According to the winery’s press release,

“This is Murphy good!” Wallace said after he was named the winner at a ceremony on the Healdsburg Town Square. “Seriously, this was my dream job before the job ever came along. My dream has come true!”

The good-humored Wallace is founder of the popular “Dirty South Wine” blog, is
a musician, and a Sommelier Guild level I and II.

“This was an extremely difficult decision given the talent of all the candidates, but
Hardy really knocked us over in the interviews with his passion and enthusiasm,” said
Murphy-Goode winemaker, David Ready, Jr. “He’s like us: he’s a people-person who
loves wine.”

Wallace will live for free in a charming, two-bedroom home near downtown
Healdsburg.  He starts “work” on August 15, 2009.

Congrats, Hardy! You ran a great campaign for the job and you deserve the $10,000 a month, the accolades, and all the Liar’s Dice you can stand.

But the real congratulations goes out to all the people (myself included!) who went for it, who said, “hey, I’m in!” People who took a risk, made a video, submitted it, promoted it. People who gave it a go.

Because you never know where something might take you!

(Hey something? I’m ready when you are!) Continue reading

Which quote about wine would YOU put on a shirt?

Over at the Open Wine Consortium, I found out that Wine Blog has a poll about which quote to put on a t-shirt.

Some of the quotes I find as distasteful as the popular “Wine Rack” shirts seen adorning the chests of some women. Making fun of people who drink to get drunk isn’t funny to me, and I’d rather not promote an alcoholic lifestyle.

Some of the quotes I liked quite a bit, and would love to see on a t-shirt. I might even consider buying one.

These three were my favorite quotes of the 15. I especially like the first two:

What is better than to sit at the end of the day and drink wine with friends, or substitutes for friends? – James Joyce

Always carry a corkscrew and the wine shall provide itself. – Basil Bunting

Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux makes you talk of them and Champagne makes you do them. – Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

If you have a favorite quote about wine, please share! and go vote!

Social Media: Advertising that bites back & spits wine in your face too

Murphy-Goode did a not so goode job of managing their recent social media campaign for the Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent.

That’s what I thought as I was putting my video together and observing the campaign, but I kept it to myself.

I read the fine print–the fine print on the site that said the Top 50 would be selected by an HR firm. The fine print didn’t say anything about the Top 50 being selected by the voters or that popularity had anything to do with it.

Knowing this, I still encouraged my friends and family to vote for me–as well as my network of friends and their friends and friends of friends at the college where I teach, through twitter and through facebook. And I didn’t make public my musings about what the upshot would be if a popular candidate wasn’t chosen.

Today’s SF Chronicle however, is not keeping quiet–and neither is top vote getter Martin Sargent. They published a story today about Sargent who used his social media savvy to attain many thousand more votes than anyone else. According to their story, Sargent got 6,000 votes.

Which surprised me because watching his video he didn’t impress me. But it wasn’t about the video–it was getting his network to vote for him.

His network came out for him. I remember seeing that he had over 6,000 votes when other top 10 vote getters like one of my favorites Hardy Wallace had under 2,000. I happened to be on-line at midnight 24 hours before they were to announce the Top 50. I was checking the number of votes people had when all of a sudden, the site changed and I saw the Top 50. I tweeted the results, facebooked and emailed a few of the Top 50 I knew or had gotten to know as well as congratulating VinTank’s Paul Mabray that 7 of the 8 candidates he was advising had made the cut.

Not that I’m an expert, but I’d already been done this “Dream Job” road as a candidate for the Island Caretaker on the Great Barrier Reef job and I’d seen how social media can bite the hand that feeds it.

I saw how Island Caretaker candidate Claire somehow ended up with many thousands of votes –and heard many say how easy it is to hack a vote counting system.

I watched first hand the uproar about Julia, the Top 50 candidate dubbed the “Porn Queen” who was dropped from the campaign. I’m still getting hits on my blog post about that!

I saw how supportive, how ugly, and how bizarre a ning can get over a competition.

And I also experienced the backlash when not only I wasn’t chosen but that the choices were skewed in a way that I and my supporters didn’t approve–and many other candidates complained about as well.  As much as they’re fans of the great barrier reef, my loyal friends were not too loyal anymore to the brand I’d been pushing. I know at least one candidate who decided to go to New Zealand instead of AUS when she didn’t make the Top 50.

With the Murphy-Goode job, some of my friends wondered why I was so gung-ho on what they dubbed a “goode” but not a great wine, w winery part pf a huge “family” of wineries, and a greenwashed winery at that. Wasn’t there a better winery for me to work for they asked?

A winery that’s part of a company that’s issuing lay-offs, including one to the guy who came up with the idea in the first place?

Here are some excerpts from the original SF Gate article:

Murphy-Goode, part of Jess Jackson’s Jackson Family Wines empire, devised a dream job – $60,000 and lodging over six months for one savvy social media wizard to make the Healdsburg winery the talk of the Internet.

Nearly 2,000 eager applicants emerged, and some 900 videos were posted online, a key part of the application process. Many took to their Facebook and MySpace pages, gushing about the chance to live the “Goode life” and pleading with fans to vote for them in a running tally of popularity on the winery’s Web site.

But when the winery unveiled its top 50 finalists in late June, top vote-getter Martin Sargent of San Francisco, a former TechTV host and Internet celebrity of sorts, was not on the list. The winery has removed the tallies, but Sargent’s reported 6,000 votes put him well ahead of the pack. His video application had received 34,090 YouTube views as of Thursday.

Of course, the winery had portrayed the “Goode Job” campaign as an extended job search, complete with interviews. But voting on its Web site complicated that picture, especially as social media thrives on popularity rankings. The purpose of the votes wasn’t explicitly stated, but candidates quickly lobbied their networks for a boost.

Digital marketing strategist Paul Mabray of VinTank in Napa, who is advising several finalists, said the winery fell short by trying to embrace social media without fully understanding its rules.

“Yeah, we screwed up,” said Caroline Shaw, senior vice president at Jackson Family Enterprises and a winery spokeswoman. Continue reading

WBW #59: some sake for you!

sushi & sake

I sat drinking and did not notice the dusk,
Till falling petals filled the folds of my dress.
Drunken I rose and walked to the moonlit stream;
The birds were gone, and men also few.
–Li Po, “the wandering poet”

This blog post for Wine Blogging Wednesday has taken a long and windy road. It includes some tasting stories from my nephew Kyle who just returned from three months living in Japan where he developed a taste for sake,  some notes on two sakes that I’ve tried before and tried again, “Wandering Poet” and an organic one, plus two that I tasted last night with sushi and fish and chips with ketchup!

This, the 59th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, and hosted by The Passionate Foodie, is an homage to Kushi no Kami, the ancient name for the god of Saké. Host Richard says that “Saké was once referred to as “kushi” which translates as “something mysterious or strange. To many people, Saké still is mysterious and strange but I hope to unveil some of that mystRalph's 89 birthdaySMery and reveal its wonders.”

Well, wonders about these rice wines have been revealed! On Tuesday, July 7, for my father in law’s 89th birthday, we went to the Ojai Fish Market for fish and chips, one of his favorites. They also serve sushi and have three sakes on their wine list. I ordered the two “cold” ones: Sho Chiku Bai Nigori unfiltered sake, our waiters recommendation, and Sho Chiku Bai filtered sake, both made by Takara Sake.

I studiously compared the two with my dinner: miso soup, salmon nigiri, a rainbow roll, and a salmon roll which featured smoked salmon.

Honestly, I couldn’t tell if one or the other was much better with any of the dishes I had; I even tried them with fish and chips with ketchup. Both sakes had crisp light flavors of pear, with not much of  a finish. Chilled, the 15% alcohol wasn’t too overpowering. However, the unfiltered Nigori, which is cloudy in the bottle and in teh glass–if you remember to shake it– was much sweeter, and possibly paired better with the ketchup. Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed with either one; dinner was not too impressive either.2 sakes

My nephew Kyle says he’s ridden his bike by the Takara facility where these two sakes were produced many times on his way to his job at the Cal sailing club in the Berkeley Marina, but he admitted he’d never stopped to taste or check out the facility, but his housemate, Alfred, an MBA candidate, went regularly tot he free tastings there. So it seems like these two are domestic USA products.

This same nephew returned a month ago from an extended stay in Japan where sake was a regular part of his day. His girlfriend Ashlyn is in a masters program in Osaka University where she’s studying linguistics. They’d often go out to dinner for sushi which they’d enjoy with plenty of hot sake, but he doesn’t know what kind they served because Ashlyn was the expert and she’d pick the sake.

Since he has more expertise at this point than I do, I invited him over to try what was left of the two from the sushi dinner in Ojai plus Rihaku “Wandering Poet” by Shuzo, imported from Japan and which I found a while ago at Cost Plus for under $15 and an organic Ginjo Jumai from Mumokawa which my friend Helen had recommended after she tasted it at the Mutineer’s Launch Party last month. This last one, like the first two, are a domestic product, made in Forest Grove, and which is certified organic by Oregon tilth.

Kyle and I lined usea fresh market Ojai sakesmp the bottles and a collection of sake glasses and went through the sakes a few times, taking notes and comparing them, with the Momokawa first, Wandering Poet second, the Takara ginjo third, and the Takara Nigori unfiltered last.

The organic ginjo’s label, according to Kyle, is a sillouette of a Tori gate which you would walk through to get to a shrine or another important place. The gates are massive, some of them as large as a two story house.  Ashlyn’s professor, who studies the foundations of Japanese society, said that these structures are a cornerstone of Japanese society and that’s where executions took place. They’re painted red now, but back in the day, they were smeared red with blood. Most people don’t know this history, according to the professor; the gates indicate society, community, law and order. You could say they had a zero tolerance policy. Kyle says they’re all over the palce and they’re very cool–simple and beautiful.Organic Sake Momokawa

Regardless of the art on the label, we found the organic ginjo to be very artful indeed; it was our favorite of the four–full of character, complexity, body, flavors of fuji apple, pungent, upfront, not subtle, and with a lingering finish. Would stand up to food well–salmon, salads.

Helen says, “Momokawa organic ginjo (junmai) Sake. Ohhhh. This takes Sake to a new level. We all know the usual floral, sweet
taste of sake that us gringos drink in restaurants, heated by the galleon. This, yes this is different. Smokey earthly with a WAYYY longer finish. Junmai means “pure rice” thus the sake is made with only rice, water, koji, and yeast. Drink it cold pinche pagano.”

The Wandering Poet was our second favorite: flavors of banana, sweeter than the organic ginjo, vague tropical fruits, pineapple. Mild, some body, enough to pair with light food or even a teriyaki chicken or salmon.

Overall? At $15 for a full sized bottle, I’d seek out the organic Momokawa to have in my cellar or when out for sushi, Japanese, Chinese or Thai food.  I’d even select the Wandering Poet in that environment or if I was at home with a stirfry or teriyaki, but for the same price for half the size bottle, I wasn’t twice as impressed. Maybe as my palate progresses, the more subtle Wandering Poet will speak to me.

And speaking of the Wandering Poet, Li Po, I leave you with some of his words from two more of his poems:

Waking from Drunkenness on a Spring Day by Li Po

“Life in the World is but a big dream;
I will not spoil it by any labour or care.”
So saying, I was drunk all day,
Lying helpless by the door.
When I woke up, I blinked at the garden-lawn;
A lonely bird was singing amid the flowers.
I asked myself, had the day been wet or fine?
The spring wind was telling the mango-bird.
Moved by its song I soon began to sigh,
And as wine was there I filled my own cup.
Wildly singing I wated for the moon to rise;
When my song was over, all my senses has gone.

In the Mountains on a Summer Day by Li Po

Gently I stir a white feather fan,
With open shirt sitting in a green wood.
I take off my cap and hang it on a jutting stone;
A wind from the pine-trees trickles on my bare head.

Clearing at Dawn by Li Po

The fields are chill; the sparse rain has stopped;
The colours of Spring teem on every side.
With leaping fish the blue pond is full;
With singing thrushes the green boughs droop.
The flowers of the field have dabbled their powdered cheeks;
The mountain grasses are bent level at the waist.
By the bamboo stream the last fragment of cloud
Blown by the wind slowly scatters away.


WBW #59 sipping some sake & other Green Drinks on July 8

wandering_poet sakeTwo ways to get your drink on this Wednesday, July 8: join the international community of wine bloggers sipping sake the second Wednesday this month or find your local community for Green Drinks, typically the second Tuesday or Wednesday each month.

Lenn Thompson writes that the 59th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, hosted by The Passionate Foodie, is an homage to Kushi no Kami, the ancient name for the god of Saké, and that the theme is perfect:  “it’s just the kind of WBW theme that inspired the event in the first place — a forced exploration of a region or type of wine that is new or unknown…”

Host Richard, the Passionate Foodie says that “Saké was once referred to as “kushi” which translates as “something mysterious or strange.” To many people, Saké still is mysterious and strange but I hope to unveil some of that mystery and reveal its wonders.” Read Richard’s full post to get all the details and for links to more information on Saké.

Sounds to me like a great excuse to go have some sushi! And I’ve been itching to write about some organic sake I tasted too, as well as “The Wandering Poet” aka Li Po, one of my favorite Asian poets, “ who lived from 701-762 and was known to drink a lot before writing. He was claimed to have said, “I drink a bottle and write 100 poems.” ! Watch for a post on that soon!

Ventura County Green Drinks Ventura Country meets Weds. July 8 from 5:30-7:30pm at PizzaSalad in Thousand Oaks 1655 E. TO Blvd. Rumor has it PizzaSalad doesn’t just serve a pizza crust made with organic flour and a couple of organic toppings, PizzaSalad also serves pizzas and salads which are made entirely with USDA certified organic ingredients, from the spices and herbs to the flour and olive oil to the cheese and greens.

Whether they offer organic, biodynamic or sustainable grown wine and beer remains to be seen.

For more about my experiences with Green Drinks, go here: https://winepredator.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/green-drinks-wine-explained/

Murphy-Goode Names Top 10: VinTank Scores Goode Too

Rocky
Boston MA
Annie
Seattle WA
Hardy
Atlanta GA
Kamary
Los Angeles CA
Jennifer
Tampa FL
Eric
Edmonds WA
Adam
Austin TX
Todd
Los Angeles CA
Nicholas
Brooklyn NY
Rachel
Los Angeles CA

Wine Blogging Wednesday #59: Sake to you July 8

Lenn Thompson writes that the 59th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, hosted by The Passionate Foodie, is an homage to Kushi no Kami, the ancient name for the god of Saké, and that the theme is perfect:  “it’s just the kind of WBW theme that inspired the event in the first place — a forced exploration of a region or type of wine that is new or unknown…”

Host Richard, the Passionate Foodie says that “Saké was once referred to as “kushi” which translates as “something mysterious or strange.” To many people, Saké still is mysterious and strange but I hope to unveil some of that mystery and reveal its wonders.” Read Richard’s full post to get all the details and for links to more information on Saké.

Sounds to me like a great excuse to go have some sushi!