Long story short.
I was visiting Sonoma back in September with a few friends. I used to live in San Francisco, so I was used to going my same ‘ol route to visit many of my favorite wineries. But since I’ve lived in Portland for almost four years now I feel out of the loop for what’s new there. So, on a whim I sent out the following tweet on Twitter “On my way to Sonoma, anything new I shouldn’t miss? Haven’t been here in awhile. First stop Gloria Ferrer”. And low and behold I got a response immediately from a winery I hadn’t heard of, Anaba (@AnabaWines on Twitter), who responded “Visit Anaba. We are new. Very close to Gloria Ferrer. Come on by.” And we did.
When we walked into the quaint tasting room we were the only customers and saw only one person working at the bar. As the woman greeted us she asked if we were the ones who sent the Twitter message. We asked how she found us and her response was simple, “There was nobody in the tasting room so I just went on Twitter and searched the key words ‘Sonoma’ and ‘wine’ to see if I could drive folks in here, found you, and responded right away”. Simple as that. And because of that simple interaction we were able to discover a new winery, that we were not intending to visit, but enjoyed and look forward to visiting again. Even people (like myself) who pride themselves on keeping up with the industry, changes, and news, can’t keep up with all the new wineries that pop up in Sonoma, or elsewhere for that matter. That’s where social marketing can help.
Anaba Winery, Sonoma CaliforniaWhile on sabbatical from a career with IBM, Anaba owner John Sweazy traveled through Europe and discovered the beauty, land, and people of both Burgundy and the Rhône Valley, and fell in love. Upon his return he worked in real estate finance before selling his company in 2003 and dedicating himself to starting his own winery in Sonoma, where the lands reminded him of what he loved about his two favorite regions in France. Thus Anaba was created, named after the unique upward anabatic wind patterns in the Western Carneros region of Sonoma. Not being a winemaker himself he brought in UC Davis graduate, Jennifer Marion, to direct the wine making and vineyard operations. In just a few short years this team appears to be doing something right so far because I was very impressed with what we experienced in the wines.
Fitting for their location they source Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the cooler Carneros region, near the winery, and Russian River appellations, but also source Rhone varietals from some of the warmer areas within the Sonoma Valley. The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were delightful, but my two favorites and the ones we purchased quite a few bottles of that day were:
2007 Anaba “Coriol” White Rhone Blend
Mineral (think stones, wet stones) on the nose, with lots of lemon peel, green apple, peach and melon, with a hint of oak aging mellowness. The mouth had a slight peppery spice, with somewhat of an oily texture residue (typical of Viogner) with additional mineral, lemon, and an almost salty aftertaste (more like wines with a Mediterranean feel). This wine would go with a wide variety of seafood dishes along with more rich foods where the weight and body of the wine could hold up to a heavy white sauce. Intriguing. I drank this bottle with grilled Mahi Mahi with a side of quinoa and roasted broccoli... topped with some quality salts this was a winning pair!
Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Grapes: 69% Viognier, 15% Roussanne, 10% Marsanne, and 6% Grenache Blanc.
2007 Anaba "Coriol" Red Rhone Blend
On the nose this wine was smoky and meaty with cedar, dark fruit, and fresh ground pepper throughout. In the mouth the wine was a bit bold at first, but this full-bodied wine quickly opened up with a beautiful array of red and black fruit, vanilla and cedar, with a strong backbone. With the richness and peppery touches I see this as a great steak wine, perhaps a grilled peppered steak!
Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Grapes: 38% Grenache, 27% Mourvedre, 25% Petite Sirah, 10% Counoise
Now the point of this story is that Twitter alone didn’t sell me on their wines, but by using it their employee did get my attention and sparked my interest in wanting to stop at this new winery. It was the wines, combined with the great hospitality that we received, that ultimately motivated me to make my purchases. And because of that, I will likely visit them again on my next visit, and certainly recommend a stop to friends wanting to check out new wineries in the Sonoma area. So, next time you’re visiting a wine region and looking to explore something new it may be worth a tweet to see who’s listening. And for wineries, it may be a good opportunity to give Twitter a shot (if you’re not already doing so) to see who you may be able to invite to your winery that was not planning to do so. You just never know…