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It's All in the Value

Hello, old friends.

Saturn returned early March 26th
The Certified Wino's Saturn came early #28

It's been far too long. I've missed writing for you all formally here on the blog. A hell of a lot has happened over the past 6 months: planning a retreat to Italy (pssst...and more!), new brand partnerships, a merch redesign and events all over my favorite cities. I intended for the break to just be for two months and that eventually shifted into a full-on pause in the first quarter. However, that pause was needed for me to really encapsulate the importance of this particular blog entry. Upon first glance at the title, you may assume that I'm going to delve into price comparisons amongst bottles. I'm known to make proclamations as to why you shouldn't turn your nose up at a $7.99 red blend from South Africa. While that sparked this particular conversation, it is not the main focus. The interim between the holiday season & now gave me a new perspective on what it means to "curate experiences".

For the uninformed, that is what I am: an Experience Curator. A chef does this through a dish they've carefully sourced ingredients for and plated like an artisan before it hits your table. A mixologist does this when stirring up a balanced cocktail and then finishing it with a thoughtful garnish. The experiences I create are centered around wine. Everything from tastings & dinners to educational seminars and, more recently, content creation. These are some of the ways I connect myself more with audiences. It's likely the way you discovered this blog. I often liken the emotive response to event experiences as I do music. The listener can be transported to another point and place in time by what they are experiencing sonically. Curated events, when executed with intentionality, will make you feel as if you are in another plane of existence; a space outside of reality----if only for just 90 minutes.

It's All in the Value
Think of the most memorable event experiences you've had in the past year. Half the value was simply in how you felt afterwards, right?

The value of those experiences is priceless. A hard look at the trends of wine consumption would further support this. Wine consumption has seen a bit of a decline over the past few years that has now leveled out going into 2024. However, the money & demand for event experiences surrounding wine have increased. A bigger emphasis is put on the moments surrounding the bottle versus just the bottle itself. Consumers want the wine to a) be delicious, of course but b) they also want to feel something; an intangible feeling brought on by the tangible product. I'm not talking about a buzz despite alcohol being involved, ha! Events are the medium in which an operation or individual can really lean into this particular exchange of emotions fully.

Chatting with a friend of mine, Keely Rosenthal (Events Manager, Foxcroft Wine Bar), she echoed that sentiment regarding intangibles. She recalled a rehearsal dinner she coordinated for a couple who were regulars of the restaurant. The couple had a deep love for Stolpman Vineyards, and Keely sourced their Syrah to be featured at the dinner.

"I wrote to Pete Stolpman, who I was still in contact with after working with him the prior year, and he was kind enough to send a postcard to them with not only a congratulations note, but a personal invite to his property. I'd never seen a couple so elated as I brought them the bottle & card! Small moments like those are the reasons why I am in this industry and make the connections I do. Oh, and the wine perks are great too, ha!" - Keely Rosenthal

I spent the past 6 months not planning and executing as many events as I normally do. I decided to sit in the passenger seat while other event curators hopped behind the wheel to create magic for me to experience. I attended wine dinners, ate my way through multiple tasting menus, and even added live music & art galleries into the mix that were finding ways to uniquely include wine. The goal was to get a different perspective and uncover what experiences people want more of. While that specific answer still alludes me, the indescribable feelings that bubble up with each event experience remain the same.

In hospitality, we operate in intangibles. Emotional responses are our currency. When considering the value of an event experience, while we obviously need to make a profit & be good stewards of our respective businesses, the emotional response will often hold more weight. I plan to keep that at the forefront of my mind moving forward into the second half of this year. SO many things coming down the pipeline----some of which you may have peeped with new sections being added to the blog. Keep your eyes on those retreats people, ha! Support your local tastemakers, restaurants, retailers, etc. as they keep pushing the boundaries to bring you more innovative experiences. In all those experiences, remember to sip thoughtfully & savor memorably.


The Certified Wino

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