Our Motivations: The Substance of our life

What keeps you up at night? What keeps you excited after you wake in the morning and realize another day is yours? What is it about your work that makes you proud and motivates you?

I was asking myself these questions the other day while conversing with a Zinfandel. In the end, my answer was not money, not prestige, not security. What keeps me proud and motivated about the work I do is my associations.

Wark Communications has right now the most fascinating mix of clients and individuals ever assembled.

Hook & Ladder Winery: A Russian River Valley producer with 400 acres of grapes at its disposal and three generations of family working it.

Bucklin: Producer of the Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel, clearly one of the most historic vineyards in California that produces a wine of such uniqueness that it might not be taken for Zin, but could only be "Old Hill" in origin.

Mayo Family Winery: By far most forward thinking tasting room entrepreneur who makes only single vineyard wines in small batches.

Inertia Beverage Group: This group of direct sales/Internet marketing entrepreneurs are the kind of group that gets remembered decades from today as "the pioneers."

Saintsbury Vineyards: Is there a more definitive producer of Carneros Pinot Noir? Are there two more interesting and engaged wine guys as Dick Ward and David Graves?

Now I get to add to this pride-inducing group Appellation America. I’ve been fans of Appellation America an their mission to bring appellation consciousness to the American wine trade and consumers since I first heard of them. I watched them slowly bring on a series of outstanding correspondents such as Tony Aspler, Dan Berger, Thom Elkjer and Alan Goldfarb. Let’s face it, wine web sites are a dime a dozen. But Appellation America is demonstrating the kind of commitment to a mission that exists among a group of American publishers that can be counted on two hands.

So, when they came to talk to me, I listened.

I rarely send out a press release or allow a press release to be sent by a client announcing new Wark Communications clients. My philosophy is its the client, not me, that needs to get in the news. I didn’t hesitate with Appellation America.

Sometimes in wine pr, and probably most other consulting endeavors, we take clients because we know we can do the job and because the money is good. The ideal is to WANT each and ever client because they motivate you with their significance and your desire to spread the word.

Well, I’m in a motivated mood—so motivated as to be inspired to write a bit of a self congratulatory post on FERMENTATION, something I studiously try to avoid.

But the take away is this: Our motivations are the substance of our lives.

5 Responses

  1. Paul Mabray - June 22, 2006

    We also think Appellation America is doing a great thing for the wine industry by making it easier to understand the great product we all represent. We look forward to their success.

  2. tom merle - June 22, 2006

    Apart from my view that appellation distinctions are dubious, I am wondering how the tasting panels composed in part of winemaker/vintners from a particular AVA deal with the selection of “signature” wines that don’t include their vino. If these vintners have agreed to sit on the screening panel, aren’t they assuming that their wines will reflect the terroir of the grapes sourced from that appellation. This all seems very awkward, but then maybe I haven’t fully absorbed what AA is doing….
    I’m also trying to understand the interface between distinctive wines of terroir as chosen by practitioners and writers, and the wines being offered for sale on the site. There seems to be a disconnect, as though the store is grafted on to raise some revenue. Why aren’t the wines discussed in the content portion of the site found in the store (since the selections emerge from blind tastings I don’t think buyers would consider that the fix is in if the wines are being sold)?
    Can you shed any light on this, tom

  3. tom - June 22, 2006

    In the past all the wine is tasted blind and signature wines are chosen from those “blind” bottlings. The tasters know they are there not to judge or rank the wines, but to seeking out and better understand regional characteristics and why, if particular characteristics are discovered, they appear in the wines.
    While there is an assumption that specific regions deliver a specific character to wines, there is an equal assumption that this character might not always be coaxed out in wines due to any number of factors.
    As for the wines that are for sale at Appellation America, they are not related to wines identified as “signature wines”. The process of putting wines up for sale on the site is a completely different part of the business entailing a great deal of interaction between AA and the wineries.

  4. tom merle - June 24, 2006

    You confirmed what I wrote, but I still find the two disconnects awkward. The vintners invited to brainstorm about regional characteristics, you seem to be saying, are fine with not being selected as representative of their area’s terroir. This strikes me as odd when the site is putting so much emphasis on the importance (i.e., value) of appellational distinctiveness.
    Similarly with the wine store. I am the first to understand how “a great deal of interaction” leads to the selection of certain wines in the store or any eCommerce component of a wine related website. But while the listed wines all deserve to be purchased, they have no connection to the scope, mission etc. of AA. As a professional spinmeister, without whom I had the pleasure of working some years ago, how do you reconcile this?
    Another Tom

  5. tom merle - June 24, 2006

    that should be ~with whom~. Is there a blog program that allows comments to be edited as you can on webboards which seem to be much more flexible?

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