Recapping My Life Away

If you have any ideas on how I can successfully and professionally self promote myself in the work place, please send me a quick note.

Enter the dreaded digital recap.  You may feel like a child, a newbie, needing to establish your role, giving yourself an authentic and responsible spin on your existence, and living a painful few hours stamping your digital feet on how wonderful your performance is.  You may want to stab yourself in the eye with your keyboard, but damn, you gotta do…

I’m not shy about the great things I execute.  Don’t judge.  I put 200% of myself into my work, and part of my soul gets lost in projects.  I’m proud of the outcomes.  The problem is, when it comes to sales, it is never ending.  I can work until midnight and still not finish all the projects on my desk.  If I allow myself, I can attend an event every night of the week and still not see all the people I need to see.  It is daunting.  It is alluring.  I even played with the idea of how to attend my favorite weightlifting class, check in at a tasting, and return to the gym to do some endurance work all in one night.  Am I diving head first, with a glass of wine, into the deep end?

I’m living it, and confused on what my identity is telling people.  I need to ask you for guidance on how to let the powers of be know how great I am.  That sounds pathetic.  They get it, and they know how hard I work.  But, do they know my aspirations, how I see beyond the sale, how I try to create a buzz about my portfolio, market, creative ideas, myself…

They don’t until I tell them.  Here is my mistake; I always believed that when I do perform the best, better than others around me, everyone will sit up and take notice.  That, my friends, is a dead end way of thinking.  I KNOW how many wonderful people and ideas surround me.  I can’t be mad at the individual that uses their big mouth to get noticed while I sit in the corner like a mouse.  You are only as good as your next performance – lesson learned a long time ago.  Why didn’t I learn from that heartache I went though in my 20’s?

How can I do more, because there is obviously something more to do.  I’m missing the detail in the buy in of me – but it’s there.  New quest; I’m going to use every tool, at my fingertips, to bust my way into a new way of thinking, doing, creating, activating.  It’s there, under the surface. Why am I stopping at the surface.  More digging is necessary.

So, I turn to you, little blog, for help.  You have become my diary, companion, selling tool, sounding board – all the things.  Let’s put you to a bigger use and engage the universe.  I’m writing  down and implementing what I want and what can happen – putting it out on the line so a larger energy can assist.

I want this market to blow up with luxury.  I want a more powerful position for myself.  I want companionship with good and honest people.  I want more time with my curious and captivating nephew.  I want to be a superstar in the digital and social universe.  I want to create a platform that is unlike anything you have ever seen before.  

I know many of you like a visual “recap” of what has been going on – as we have established through this blog – WHO DOESN’T.  Check out some pictures below of the last few months.  Great things that deserve more detail.  I’ll get there, I promise.

Sincerity And My Wine Intentions

A colleague asked me the other day if I wouldn’t be happier selling more serious wines.

So many ways to answer and react to this question.  Being “serious” is a negative vibe for me.  I am passionate, curious, a little flakey, determined, cry at commercials, laugh obnoxiously…but serious?  Is it better, for the judgmental powers that be, to be put into this “non serious” category?  Does not being serious, by viewer’s definition, mean I don’t have talent?  Is there a serious scale?  Should I never drink another bottle of 19 Crimes again, and only stick to fine Burgundies, because that would be serious?  (bleh)

Every move I make I make with intention.  Intention takes the serious out of serious.  I see it before I do it; I’ve been doing this for a long time, and just realized I have been projecting.  Fabulous and fulfilling isn’t it?  Serious isn’t even a concept anymore – I’ve moved past serious.

Then I found the videos below.  Through wine shenanigans comes sales; true and true. Do I lead with luxury wines; I do.  I do because it is the outline of my job.  I do because down deep, it makes me happy.  I do because I believe the consumer gets a bad wrap.  You are not as simple as we, the fine wine minds, think you are.  You can understand geology, science, and the human experience.  But, do you want to decant a bottle of wine, or just pop a bottle at a picnic?  How funny that this week, I sold Bourbon Barrel Aged wines at around $16.99 on the shelf, and spoke at a $500 a plate dinner.  Opposite ends of the coin, but both relevant.  The squeaky answer that, for some reason, no one seems to hear, is that BOTH lead me to the end goal; winning at that wine game.

I’m going to keep going. Prepare your opinions, and get a few more insults ready, because more things are on the way.  Complicated, thrilling, and blow your mind things that will take time, patience, and a whole lot of…well…I’ve said enough.  For now, enjoy this 19 Crimes Food Truck/In Store Tasting/Virtual Reality promotion that gave so many people who came out on a snowy day a whole lot of, well, fun.  Now snow...that is serious…

Is Everyone Italian In New Jersey? Introduction to Castello Di Gabbiano

Practice your best MUZZ-A-REL shtick because I am about to talk Italian…

I spoke at a wine dinner the other evening with eight different, very high end, wines from all over the world.  I first showed a $50 bottle of Chardonnay from Australia, then a $80 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from California, and then….thought I would catch a break on sales… and offer a $25 bottle of Chianti Classico Riserva.  When this Italian selection came out, a lovely New Jersey gem of a female said, in a perfect clash of cultural accents, “Oh my gawd, I can’t even believe!  Finally!  Something to go with my macaroni”.  That really happened.

A testament to what consumers think of Italian wine as a whole.  It’s good, it’s really good –  no, it’s the best.  I don’t blame them.  It’s something about the Sangiovese grape – the holy grail of grapes from Italy – that settles into your being.  There is fruit, spice, earth, tannins, length, pleasure, delight, and an all over gratifying experience.  Italian wine was my first real wine job, so I fall on my knees to the stuff.  This Polish girl will speak Italian wine jargon till I am breathless.  Oh, how freaking sexy it is….

New Jersey, land of pinot grigio, also believes Italian wine cannot exist without New Jersey existing.  For importing purposes, eh, can’t hurt, but there is more than what you all think pairs well with “Cal-a-mar”. (do you know “Cal-a-mar” is actually PRONOUNCED calamari in Italy by real Italians that actually live there?  Just a side note…)

An overview of Italian wine is TOTALLY necessary.  What you need to know right this moment:

  • They don’t drink a lot of Pinot Grigio in Italy.  They just don’t – it’s an export thing.  Castello di Gabbiano actually blends their pinot grigio with chardonnay -better fruit component to the wine and mouth feel.  Sorry to burst your bubble on this.
  • Chianti is a PLACE – not a grape.  Sangiovese is the grape in the bottle – at least 75% must be in that bottle.  Chianti Classico is ALSO a place; the heart of the Chianti zone.  So, purchasing a bottle of Chianti Classico may give you a more sincere, deeper, denser style of Sangiovese.  There will also be a black rooster on the neck of the bottle showing you the wine will be sourced from the Classico region; another statement of quality.
  • Riserva means the wine spends a minimum of two years in oak, and 3 months in bottle prior to release.  If you are looking for your holiday feasting wine, you found it!  The fruit here changes to a cooked flavor, cigar box (smokey), harvest spices; highly recommend to age a bit.  Don’t cellar for ever, but a little age creates some funky goodness.
  • Super Tuscan throw down; a escape from the grape Sangiovese, and a trip into more noble varietals; Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  If you are a little nervous on an Italian wine purchase, this may be your route.  However, buyer beware; just because it is “super” doesn’t mean it is super delicious.  Find a producer you like, and stick with that winery! (or ask your buddy Susan for some recommendations)

Rather than me telling you about a favorite Italian winery, Castello di Gabbiano, that kicks some Italian Culo, check out this video below.  I had the pleasure of working with the General Manager, Ivano Realie, in November – so I grabbed a little footage of our presentation to my friends Priya and Yogesh of Wine World in Gillette.  You can find Wine World HERE: LIKE this Facebook Page

Watch, learn, and discover the wines from Castello di Gabbiano with a private tour (well, semi private; Priya, Yogesh, the internet and you) from Ivano Realie!

Dinner With People You Don’t Know (Or Care To Know)

If you and I are friends, you are probably one of about five people.

This is true of most of us; keep your squad close and all others, well, at a nice arm’s length distance. I don’t want to sound bitter, mean girly, or elitist. I want to come to you, as always, with the truth. I don’t like a lot of people.

I love people, and I am in a very loving kind of career that is people centric. That may be why I am black hearted with promises of BFF-isms and “let’s bare our souls” conversations. I’ll smile through it, laugh at the right moments, but I gotta say, I’ll forget about our conversation in about 5 minutes.

This is when I’m “on” by the way; when I am at a wine dinner entertaining. Because that is about 90 percent of a wine dinner; entertainment. If you think people are coming there to learn from me, then save your money. And, can I tell you, I am so good at making you feel like we have a burning lifelong bond. It’s just so under-fulfilling, and I think it is cracking my heart a bit.

Dinner with a great retailer (now this guy is cool) and his collector customer’s got to me this week. I tasted these customers on eight wines, all good, some great, some better than great. I was the perfect host; I told jokes, stories from my own life that may have seemed personal. (nothing I say in a wine dinner is even close to personal – illusions, all of it), I conveyed loving ideas of California on a cool April afternoon at the winery; sipping chardonnay, watching the grapes grow…I’m making myself vomit. My audience’s response?  “Go open another bottle; we need to drink more”.

This is not the Wednesday night of my dreams, but is a reality. If you find 1 person in about 10 that your are connecting with at a wine dinner (or life for that matter), you are lucky. I did find that one woman, and she bought 12 cases. I earned my keep that evening, but lost a little part of my psyche.

However, you came here to learn something, didn’t you.  Ok, lessons from this dinner:

  • My friend Al is a true gentleman and professional, and has a few stores (coming soon; Kearny location):

Clifton Commons Spirits and Wine: 132 Kingsland Rd, Clifton.  If Al isn’t there, ask for Babu.

Little Falls Liqours: 315 Main St, Little Falls – I buy my beer here.  Great selection of whiskey and bourbon in the back of the store. Don’t let the size of the store fool you.

  • You need a starter: An audience needs wine in their hand as soon as they walk in the door. If not, they will feel like this is a waste of their time. I like to serve something light, pretty, not to serious, low alcohol, and a conversation starter. I went with Matua Rose – a rose of pinot noir. Good fruit, pretty color, fun, palate cleansing, and a good prop to hold during simple friendly exchanges. We have enough serious crap in our lives: the beginning of a wine dinner should be a little get-away from that nonsense.
  • Pinot Noir will always be the winner for food and wine pairing; Everyone likes this wine.  You cannot go wrong.  It will pair with most all foods. Stick to California selections to be safe, and venture to the French stuff for a little sass.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon is always a winner; But watch out. You may feel like you need to spend a lot of money. The Cab that everyone went back to this evening was the cheaper one. Why? It was easy to drink, but had all the qualities of a great Cab; abundant fruit, great tannic structure, finesse, style.  My selection for the evening was The Stag – and you can find this at Al’s store.
  • You always need a sleeper – I will consistently pack a wine that I think is good, but that no one would touch on their own. Now, this is risky. If played well, you come out looking like a rock star. I had my audience try Chateau St Jean Chardonnay; again, not to expensive, but not something that “experienced wine people” (I write this with a side smile) may reach for.  If you find a wine with balance, this move will turn out well. Ask Al for something off the beaten track. Don’t spend more than $20. Be honest with YOUR audience and let them know this may be a flop. You may surprise yourself.
  • Where was dinner? I highly recommend – Salute in Montclair.  Affordable, gluten free pizzas, brick oven pizzas, beautiful fish, homemade pasta, everything fresh…a winner.

 

Loosing Myself In A Sea Of Wine

It’s been a while, and I’m going to sketch out why.  Here, sitting in my PJs, about 10 pounds overweight, swollen by all the wine I have been drinking, and dazed by my own existence – here we go…

Last night, I watched a live Instagram feed powered by my friends from @close.the.gap.

Shameless plug – follow follow follow these five women and their conversation on what it means to be strong, be beautiful, be feminine.  The struggle is real, they are real, and they make looking in the mirror a little easier.  Bravo ladies.

This was an “Empowerment to Women” discussion that took the audience into a talk on success and how we portray our success on social media.  An audience member, who is a musician and trying to promote herself as such, told a story of how she became terrified by her social media audience. First of all – I don’t know her posts, her content, her intent.  I have not done research on this women, and do not want to make her a monster. However, this got me thinking. Is this real? Do you see truth or what I want you to see? Do I have a responsibility to show you my side as it authentically rolls itself out, or should I selfie the hell out of my blog.

I wanted to say to that women – dummy up girl. Social media to most people SHOULD BE A GOOD TIME. To those of us that would like to take it to another level, another career, express a voice; we gotta go the distance. I have had haters since the moment I have opened my mouth in this world, and may have you spewing mad comments right now. So do it.  Go for it and get it out.  My responsibility, and let me say that word again, responsibility, is here and beyond. If this woman had nightmares and the shakes because of a Facebook post (that she penned herself I may add), then, hey, I take it all back.  Do you, but do think about your direction.

That was part of my absence; I needed some Susan wine time.  I needed to focus, concentrate, and generate some really good content into my work life – without noise that social media can create.  Let’s go to the documentation, shall we?

  • Organizing a dinner can suck, but performing the dinner can suck more and be a rewarding experience – all at the same time.  I usually don’t eat at the dinner, rather shovel food in my mouth without thinking when I get a quick moment.  Never good for the clean diet of my dreams.  I did sneak in some time with my tribe (necessary to keep me sane), and would grab a meal from @navarritoshomemade – clean Latin inspired meals packaged and ready to go. These meals saved me and my mind. Find the website here; Navarritos Homemade – and like them on instagram!
  • Invasion – winemakers take New Jersey!  I have a love/hate feeling come over my whole body when I hear a winemaker will be coming to town.  They are work, more work, fun, but work.  For some reason, they all decide to tackle NJ at the same time. That calls for a whole lot of activation, and a whole lot of being social, selling, and follow up.  Whew – survived and proud of it. (and made lasting relationships with exciting and intelligent souls.  Damn, lucky girl)

…and then, in the middle of my crazy life, New Jersey decided to throw a major food and wine event at Crystal Springs Golf Resort.  This food and wine show is a MUST to anyone out there ready to celebrate great chefs and wineries. I seem to ‘push the envelope’ a bit on marketing my brands.  Every year I stand on a edge of “should I really do this”  – ask for forgiveness, right? (by the way, you are all coming next year…)

There is so much more to share, and I will.  Stay tuned please; I promise to get on a posting cycle: outlined already in my bullet journal; did you think I didn’t have a bullet journal? (if you would like a sneak peek, let me know)  I would love to hear some feedback, or get into some conversations on questions you may have out there.  Let’s create a theater of wine thoughts together!