Western Canada Retailer Conference

The 'X' stands for 'Excellence' !

Winexpert Western Canada retailer conference is taking place right this minute (May 27th 2012) at the lovely River Rocks Casino and Resort. After a cocktail reception and dinner last night everyone is raring to go today (some more raring than others--this is a resort hotel, after all!)

Rob Van Wely

Things started off with an address by Rob Van Wely, President of GVI. A word of explanation: Winexpert, the company I work for, is one of a group of consumer winemaking companies, which includes Vineco, Wine Kitz, Cellar Craft and Artful Winemaker, under the umbrella of Global Vintners Incorporated, a division of Andrew Peller Limited, Canada's largest winery. That's a mouthful, but we're one big happy family, making wine products for people to make wine for themselves. 

Bill, Janet, Haeley, blurred person, and Juhan, getting their listen on

First up after Rob is Arnie Licas, Director of Marketing for GVI, sharing industry research findings about the potential for home and on-premise winemaking. We did a pretty big research project, surveying people who were both users and non-users of consumer winemaking products. The findings are fascinating: in a nutshell, we're seeing younger people entering the category (the average age of our customers has tended to be closer to retirement than college), and with the right positioning and a bit of elbow-grease there's good stuff ahead. 

Arnie on a roll

The rest of the morning will feature Lynne Burnside, Marketing Manager for Winexpert, talking about our upcoming marketing initiatives, me talking about product improvements, Gavin Hawthorne, Director of Sales for GVI, talking about our new model store project. Bill and Janet Goneau are here from the first model store (I blogged about it last September) and they'll be answering questions about the store and the changes. 

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Pig Headed

Yummy Happy Piggy

Caution: this blog deals with the sometimes messy but always rewarding process of turning animals into food. Folks with delicate sensibilities, vegetarians and those who are uneasy about viewing primal cuts of meat that can look right back at them should skip this one. When you get to the pictures of severed heads, don't say I didn't warn you.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with my dear friend Lisa. In addition to being a big-brain in her day job, Lisa is a semi-pro book reviewer in Ohio. If you like books, and like talking about the books you've read, you should immediately head over to her blog, Alive On the Shelves and soak up her reviewy goodness. She has turned me on to more good authors and good books in the last decade than I can recall. She's actually on my notional list of librarian-subversives, a very good list indeed. 

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LD Carlson Conference

Quick update: I'm in lovely downtown Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, for the annual LD Carlson conference. This is the 13th year for the retailer get-together and it's the best conference yet. I spent an interesting night meeting up with old friends, making some new ones and checking on quality control for the local beverages. 

Speaking of which, one of the beers I enjoy down here is from Great Lakes Brewing, Burning River Pale Ale. It commemorates the time the Cuyahoga River caught fire and burned to the ground. 

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Alienation, Movies, Facepalms, and Business

Set facepalm to 'stunned'

Facepalm: the physical gesture of placing one's hand flat across one's face or lowering one's face into one's hand or hands. The gesture is found in many cultures as a display of frustration, embarrassment, shock, or surprise.

Last night I went out to see a movie with my wife. She enjoys loud, shout-y, explode-y action-adventure flicks, and while I prefer a well-nuanced dramatic movie about human feelings and emotional growth, but I'm willing to indulge her any time she'll go on a date with me. However, I have a lot of trouble with the movie experience, partly because of theatres themselves: if I want to cram myself into a confined space with bad seats, no legroom, stinky and inconsiderate strangers and horrifyingly dirty bathrooms, I'll book an airline ticket.

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Cinco de Mayo

In their finery!

Happy El Día de la Batalla de Puebla!

Typical of a gringo, I used to assume that Cinco de Mayo was either Mexican independence day, or a holiday invented by the makers of Corona beer. I got curious a few years ago and looked it up. The real idea behind the celebration is much more interesting. Wikipedia covers it nicely, but in a nutshell, the whole thing is fascinating. It is a celebration of the Mexican army over the French at the battle of Puebla, in 1862. The two significant points are the fact that the French were considered the finest fighting force of their time (French military prowess jokes aside) and the Mexicans crushed them like bugs. 

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Happy Star Wars Day!

Cinco de Mayo is lovely, but for my money there's no better day of celebration than the one created especially for Science Fiction loving geeks. To all my friends and like-minded individuals out there:

He doesn't look a day over 700

Hmm. I wonder what kind of wine they drink in the Empire?

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