My Blog

I’d like to interrupt the (wine country travel recap/review) interruption of my blog to bring you a piece that’s actually related to what-I-envisioned this site would be about. I’ve clearly been a huge proponent of personal brand over the years, and stumbled on an article that raises some great points around what you can do to brand yourself in this new, digital age.

The article on Personal Branding references many things I’ve started to work on – with all three of these tactics actually. I think my LinkedIn is good, not great. My personal site is also good, not great. And – as far as the blogging goes – I’ll let you be the judge.

Til Next Time,

Michael

Having been to wine country a number of times now, I always find myself coming back with modified opinions on the age-old debate of “which is better” – Napa or Sonoma. I initially fell in love with Napa, but then cheated on it with Sonoma – and am admittedly probably still more attracted to the new kid on the block. But they both really are magical and I would never turn down a trip to either. Below, I’ve listed an updated set of thoughts and reactions for each.

Napa:

  • More expensive tastings ($15-30 apiece)
  • Less picturesque, aside from the Silverado Trail, where the topography starts to yield better views of the valley
  • Generally yuppier clientele
  • More hidden gems than I recall (e.g. Saintsbury)
  • Bigger and more famous vineyards
  • Much more corporate and quick to push product on tasters
  • Upscale, recently-reconstructed downtown area
  • Less residential areas (more of a Bed-and-Breakfast scene)
  • Best Pinots around, with other varietals the compliment the portfolio (but don’t hold a flame to the Pinots)

Sonoma:

  • Less expensive tastings (mostly $20 and under)
  • More picturesque, with rolling hills, and a generally “greener” landscape
  • More laid back clientele
  • More hidden gems than I recall (e.g. Cast)
  • Smaller and more quaint vineyards
  • Less corporate, more independent, and you feel less pressured to purchase product
  • Older, more quaint downtown area
  • More residential areas (more ideal for an Airbnb)
  • Less impressed with their Pinots, and more impressed with varietals I didn’t previously associate with the area (e.g. Zins, Cabs, Syrahs, blends, etc)

All in all, I think Napa probably still has a higher ceiling, with more of the top-end names (both wineries and restaurants, like French Laundry). It definitely has more money invested in it, and it shows – as evidenced by comparing the town squares. But I still prefer Sonoma because of the quaint and less arrogant feel.

Much more to come as I review some of the stops along the way!

Til Next Time,

Michael

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The view from the tasting patio at Cast (a personal favorite)

This will start a mini-series of (non-work) posts stemming from a recent trip to wine country. I’ll go over a little bit about my thoughts on Sonoma vs Napa (I’ll call this my “updated view” since I’ve already been to both before and reviewed them previously), and list some of my “must see” places and favorite vineyards. Some of the information will resemble a beginner’s guide to wine country, while other areas will dive deeper into trade secrets I’ve learned (mostly from the hundreds of dollars I’ve probably lost due to poor decisions) over the years. Hope you enjoy it!

As a teaser, here is a list of the wineries I was able to get to on this trip (pictures coming as well):

  • Napa
    • Frog’s Leap
    • Round Pond
    • Robert Sinskey
    • Regusci
    • Saintsbury
    • Artessa
  • Sonoma(ish*)
    • Buena Vista
    • Gloria Ferrer
    • Deerfield Ranch
    • Kunde
    • Ferrari Carano
    • Cast
    • Dutcher Crossing
    • Sbragia
    • VJB
    • Chateau St Jean

*a lot of my “Sonoma” wineries aren’t really in or near Sonoma proper – but since they’re all Sonoma County, I’m going to count them as being Sonoma even if they’re really Dry Creek, Healdsburg, or some other town not named Sonoma

Til Next Time,

Michael

It’s been a while, I get it. I’d love to make excuses, but all I’ve got is some crappy explanations. The summer got entirely too busy at work and I spent my limited off-time traveling and generally recharging my batteries. Sorry for that. What I will offer, though, is that I’ve had some pretty cool escapades across the country and I’ll look to share some of those stories here. While they may not be directly related to Corporate America, they’re at least hopefully some good recommendations on where to go and what to do in some great destinations.

Up first, I’ll do an in-depth review of a recent trip to San Francisco and wine country. Stay tuned!

Til Next Time,

Michael

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