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The Week in Wine

Commentary on the headlines from the week in wine …

Suckling, a Worldwide Sensation?

It was a big week for the Suckling family.  James Suckling, dubbed by his PR representatives as, “The wine world’s most important voice” announced the launch of his post-Wine Spectator project on December 1st and yet the reach of his influential voice may soon be usurped by the other voice in his family, daughter Isabel.

As spotted at, Suckling’s 12-year old daughter has been in a whirlwind since being sleuthed out by talent scouts and signing a five record deal with Decca, the U.K.-based record label, in September of this year.

Young Suckling, a soprano choralist at York Minster, released her first album (called ‘The Choirgirl’) on November 29th to much international fanfare.

While not yet available on iTunes in the U.S., record executives are expecting a run up the U.K. charts this December with the single “You are Not Alone.”

In addition, Suckling’s rendition of John Lennon’s signature song, Imagine, is something special, giving an angelic, spiritual lift to a tune that’s ultimately about hope.

The album is available for download from Amazon’s U.K. site and viewable at a promotional YouTube channel.

The confluence of successful circumstance rarely happens in twos and both Dad and daughter deserve Godspeed and a rooting interest from the wine world.

Canucks figure it out for the U.S.

Color me interested when I read news this week that the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer services (VDACS) signed on with a Canadian company called Onlineorderdesk to facilitate their winery to trade transactions.

In 2007, as a part of Granholm vs. Heald leveling, the state of Virginia established their own distribution organization to represent transactions in between Virginia wineries and Virginia retailers and restaurants.

At the time, I was executing Paul Mabray’s very forward vision at the former Inertia Beverage Group (now just IBG), and implementing IBG’s Direct-to-trade (DTT) solution which is/was a legal, technology-centric way for small wineries to navigate the 3-tier system in various states to get their product to market and on the shelf.

Through the course of that work, I had a couple of meetings with the Virginia Dept. of Ag folks trying to sell them on the idea of using the Inertia system to do exactly what they’ve implemented three years later.

At the time, to the Virginia folks, I was an outsider with a Yankee accent representing a California company, and they looked at me like I had a third eye as I explained how they could technologically automate the process.  At the same time, my visit was something of a skunkworks project trying to drive revenue and Mabray wasn’t keen on doing a one-off implementation that would suck-up already finite resources in a venture capital-backed organization.  The opportunity died on the vine (no pun intended).

Simply, I’m glad that a technology solution, any technology solution, has been implemented.

Onlineorderdesk, for its part, is a winery centric, legally compliant three-tier ordering solution very similar to the groundbreaking Direct-to-Trade (DTT) program from Inertia.

With my former DTT cohorts from Inertia now scattered throughout the California wine business and elsewhere in the Bay area, I’ll be watching Onlineorderdesk from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia to see where their entry into the U.S. takes them.

Look for an interview and story shortly.


Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (1) |


On 01/07, cilt bakimi wrote:

Suckling’s 12-year old daughter has been in a whirlwind since being sleuthed out by talent scouts and signing a five record deal with Decca, the U.K.-based record label, in September of this year.


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