Oaklandís Waterfront Takes Center Stage at PortFest 2003
Oleta Adams to Star at PortFest 2003
Grammy-Winning Oakland Interfaith Choir on PortFest 2003
Bay Crossings Journal
Bay Crossings Poetry
Freeway Service Patrol Logs 1 Million Assists
Wine Festival by the Bay
How Do Bus Drivers Feel About Golden Gateís Financial Problems?
Paving the Way for Buses Ė The Great GM Streetcar Conspiracy
Port of Call: Cayenne, French Guyana
Opening of Argonaut Hotel in San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Changing of the Guard at San Franciscoís Last Shipyard
The Port Of Oakland Needs Your Help!
Taste of Oakland
East Bay French-American School To Host Annual "La Place Du Marche"
What the AC Transit Bus Driver Knows
The Iraq war reader
Judge Orders Carnival Cruise Line to Stop Illegal Dumping
On the Oakland Waterfront, Seafarers Club Breaks New Ground
Year of the Salmon!
WTA: For Whom the Bridge Tolls
New Ferry Building Sunday Garden Market Opening May 4th
San Francisco Bay
Vermeer Chocolate Martini
Oakland Arts Focus
Music Calendar - May 2003
In appreciation: David Clark
Water Transit Authority  WTA


In some conversations, the price of a bottle of wine is the hot topic....


By Dianne Boate and Robert Meyer

First it was Los Angeles. Then New Orleans. Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco, and Boston followed. Every year I trailed along, being more interested in going to the city than the reason for going there: the annual Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) convention. I had a dim perception then of what it was all about, being dazzled by the big parties and unending array of hospitality rooms serving every kind of alcoholic beverage being produced, but I do know that networking opportunities with people from all over the world yielded us some very interesting wine and spirits adventures here in the United States, in Europe, Australia, South America, and South Africa.

The WSWA is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. " Attendance and hospitality is not what it used to be," Robert reports upon return from Orlando, where this yearís event took place. It is a bit of the same story in many industries: travel fears, current economy, the war. However, about 1,000 stalwart souls braved everything to attend seminars, meetings, and every sublime activity of schmoozing.

The program guide states: "The goals of the Convention are to provide a forum for business and to broaden communications networks, sharpen managerial skills and improve knowledge of issues, products, and trends affecting the beverage alcohol industry." Jan Wells, vice president of marketing with Cannon Wines Limited in San Francisco, translated this for me recently. He has been going to the WSWA for 11 years. He lauds the convention for listening to the needs of the younger generation coming up through the ranks of the business--holding shorter meetings, allowing more casual attire, choosing venues where the whole family can come and be entertained while the Man or the Woman of the house does business. He told me, " It is tough for new people to come in and catch the eye ( or taste) of a distributor with their products for business expansion. The companies who have been in the fold for years still come because you cannot discount the significant value of traditional relationships--a very important factor of continuing business in a financial climate that runs hot and cold."

I was thinking about why you would want to know about this.
Because what goes on here helps shape the experiences you will have in a restaurant, in buying a bottle of wine, in celebrating an occasion, perhaps deciding where to go on vacation, and even making a career change into the industry. Itís big, Baby. It makes the decisions of what brands to carry and of those, which ones are promoted. Like other commodities you buy, you want a product that really tastes good; you want it to be available to you; you want the price to be right for your pocketbook. The ever expanding universe does not stop in the sky. It invades every market place, flooding us all with more choices than we can handle, so the key is learning to make decisions that enhance your lifestyle.

This organization works to make this all happen. If you want some meat for dinner, you donít make a phone call and have a cow delivered to your door.