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Leeann Froese

SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW RHÔNE?

By Leeann Froese

Do you know Rhône Valley wines?

It turns out, I know less than I thought.

Thankfully, at a trade event earlier in September at Vancouver’s Maenam restaurant, Michelle Bouffard, president of the local chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS), hosted and presented a discovery workshop and tasting, to help bring some Rhône knowledge back to the forefront.

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40 industry professionals: sommeliers, retailers, and media representatives alike, were joined by representatives of the Rhône Valley, Laure Vaissermann and Virginie Charlier, marketing and communication director of Inter-Rhône. Upon arrival to the event, each guest cracked open a fortune cookie, and inside was the name of one of five teams named after a few of the region’s famous varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Marsanne and Roussanne. Once randomly teamed up we tasted 12 wines from the Rhône Valley during a blind taste test. Our goal was to guess the appellations or varietals as part of an interactive challenge under the evocative theme “So you think you know Rhône?”

It turns out, I do not.

I was on Team Grenache, with notable trade #winelover -s including Noel Hollet, Rachel von Sturmer, Iain Philip, Ron Wilson, and Si Man Lee. I was impressed by the tasting ability and knowledge at my table, although the table discussion revealed that my team members, like me, were also not 100% confident.

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Created from a range of 21 different varietals, Rhône Valley Wine wines are renowned for their depth and distinctiveness. The reds range from round and fruit forward, to full bodied and structured; the whites are floral and fruity or full bodied and deep, and there are dry rose wines as well, that range from fresh and bright to spicy.

It’s all about the blend; and while there are many varietals, for example, most blended reds are a combination of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. The wines’ blends and flavour profiles depend on what area or village they are from and the related terroir, as well as the laws from each area as it relates to how much % of varietal is allowed in each blend.

Once we heard from Michelle about the regions, blends and laws, we blind tasted and were quizzed, with our answers submitted electronically and then displayed on a screen for all to see. I was not doing well at all, and my teammates were doing only slightly better.

I did OK on identifying the building blocks of the wines; identifying the acid, alcohol and tannin characteristics, but that is where my success ended…

Luckily the results were collected and posted by team, so no one saw that I only got a few of the questions right. I am sure that I brought my team’s score down, and here I publicly apologize to them!

Where I really fell down was aligning the wine characters to their origin. Related: I have a lot of dusting off of my WSET notes to do!

Even seasoned experts can still learn something new about Rhône Valley Wines,” said Michelle Bouffard.

I wasn’t alone; there seemed to be collective groans in the room each time an answer was revealed. The fact that so many of us got responses incorrect provided a great chance to discuss why – for example why Ventoux in the foothills offers wines so different from the full-bodied and round Gigondas wines from further south.

Some other teams did much better, voting as a group and doing very well. Congratulations to Team Marsanne on earning bragging rights!

Bouffard adds “The region’s diverse appellations, soil types and flagship varietals make it a key wine region. What really turns heads are the wines’ versatility, as they pair wonderfully with a wide range of dishes, such as Maenam’s Asian specialties.”

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After the tasting and quiz was done and the whole room seemed collectively deflated, our moods were revived by the chance to taste these wines again and openly discuss, this time knowing what we are reaching for, and also now accompanied by hand-passed bites from chef Angus An.

KEY STATISTICS ABOUT THE RHÔNE VALLEY WINES

  • Ranks 2nd among French AOC vineyards in terms of volume;
  • 388 million bottles sold in 2015;
  • Over 50% of total production is certified organic;
  • 1 bottle of Rhône Valley Wines AOC is enjoyed worldwide every 12 seconds;
  • Over 10 years, the volume of Rhône Valley Wines exports to Canada has increased by 41%;
  • In 2015, 11% (in volume) of French table wines in Canada is from Rhone Valley Wines. An overall 20% increase in BC sales of Rhone Valley Wines during 2015 to 2016.

Disclosure: As a member of CAPS BC, I was an invited guest at this event, and I thank Rhône Valley Wines for the chance to taste and learn. For more information on Rhône Valley Wines, visit www.vins-rhone.com

 

Coffee and Town Hall Brands

By Kathleen Beveridge Today is National Coffee Day or as Howard Schultz would say, "I can't imagine a day without coffee."

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That being said I am not a coffee drinker, my choice of hot beverage has always been tea BUT there is something to be said about the smell of coffee brewing, the sounds of a coffee shop and the time spent with a warm mug in hand with friends, family and co-workers.

What I've noticed since joining Town Hall Brands last year is that our team loves coffee and that coffee is integral to our creative process to ensure we provide the best work for our clients. Whether creative design or communications you can bet each team member has a cup of coffee on their desk bringing focus and creative stimulation.

Now there has been studies that say coffee does not increase creativity however, for the team here I'll respectfully disagree. Coffee keeps us fueled up and when we need those mental breaks the walk to the coffee shop usually clears the mind enough that productivity is when returning to our desks.

In case you were wondering here's how the each team member enjoys their coffee!

Leeann

I like my coffee with just a little bit of milk and I like it to be strong. When I have a latte I like four shots of espresso and soy milk. No sugar. I'm sweet enough.

Andrew

Depends on whether it’s good coffee or not. If it’s good coffee it’s black.

Felicia

Often. With lots of cream.

Sujinder

With two (almost) vegans and one with dairy allergies in the house, we rarely have regular (cow’s) milk in the fridge, even though that’s my personal preference. That, and half a teaspoon of brown sugar. Always brown. I rarely get a hot cup of coffee at the home office, but my Stanley mega-thermos keeps it hot enough for the commute to Town Hall HQ. Other than that, I have a Nespresso ‘pixie’ which has served me well for years. My favourite pod is the Arpeggio. It’s intensity is 9/10. Just like me. And for the record, being environmentally-conscious, we scoop the grinds in the compost and recycle the aluminum. Love you, mother nature!

Laurisha

COFFEE IS MY EVERYTHING. IT DESERVES ALL THE ALL CAPS. I need it to be piping hot, fresh ground, and something like Kickinghorse, Ethical Bean or Salt-Spring. I like cream and sugar in it (not too much of either).

Amy

Americano black.

Kathleen

Tea please! Any and all kinds. Or if I have to choose a coffee make it sickly sweet-Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Mocha's, Carmel Machiattos. I may love the smell but the taste not so much.

Grace

Office coffee with 2 creams every morning. Sometimes with sugar if I’m feeling lazy and go to a café.

Genevieve

I like plain Jane drip coffee with almond milk and HONEY.

Cheers to National Coffee Day! May your day be filled with your favourite brew.

WBC16: Connection & Engagement

By Sujinder Juneja We’ve said this many times before, including in a post directly following the 2015 event, but the Wine Bloggers Conference is more than just a conference, it’s a community. I’ll come back to this idea of “community” in a moment.

Leeann and I from Town Hall Brands attended the 2016 showcase in Lodi, California (August 11-14). This was my fourth conference in a row, and Leeann’s fifth. For the first time though, I was honoured to be asked by conference founder Allan Wright to moderate a panel discussion in front of an audience of 300 or so bloggers, journalists and other wine professionals. Gulp! Yes – I was thrilled to be asked and I was also nervous as heck. But more than that, I knew right away that I wanted to make it special, for both the audience and the panellists themselves.

Sujinder at WBC16

My panel was a dream. I got to moderate the Panel of Wine Blog Award Winners, featuring five winners of the 2016 Wine Blog Awards. The awards have been in place since 2007 (the year before the first Wine Bloggers Conference), honouring excellence in online wine writing. This year’s panellists included Sophie Thorpe from Berry Bros. & Rudd, Mary Cressler from Vindulge, Jill Barth from l’Occasion, Susan Manfull from Provence Wine Zine, and Jerry Clark who received Best Blog Post of the Year.

Within my job in communications, yes, I do get to talk about wine and winemaking all day long, helping to celebrate the stories behind the labels of our passionate winery clients. But any success we have with the media comes down to the relationships and connections we build with the writers, editors, and producers that help share our client achievements. Within this panel and within the audience itself, I wanted to make sure to build that same connection and engagement.

First step: Google “how to moderate a panel.”

Check. This gave me the structure I needed to follow.

Second step: Arrange for some one-on-one time with each of the panellists in advance so that we could get to know each other better and to flesh out ideas for discussion.

Check. This, to me, was the most valuable part of the panel, as it connected us in a way that the audience could see, and that we could feel onstage. In each of our private discussions, we shared ideas, laughs and stories that solidified our personal connections, making us part of that community I mentioned earlier.

I will share that I was personally impressed and inspired by each of the very deserving award-winners, and what I was able to learn from each of them was a gift. Here are some of the gems that I took away from each of them:

WBC Panel Selfie

Sophie Thorpe: Maybe it’s the Brit in me (my mom is from Reading, England) but I LOVE Sophie’s dry sense of humour, which you can see both on the BB&R blog and on her own, Raised on Champagne. She taught me the subtle excellence of opening the curtain to show the personality behind the writer, and how to let her readers know that they’re in on the joke, shared just between you and them.

Mary Cressler: Mary’s love of wine, photography, food and her family (not necessarily in that order) are infectious. The first time I saw Mary’s photos… the light, the texture, the delicious mouth water-inducing amazing-ness of her work, I knew that better was possible. It will take me some time to get even close to Mary’s talent, but she motivates me to try.

Jill Barth: Once you start reading her blog, L’Ocasion, you won’t stop until hours (maybe days) later. In fact, I whiled away about 45 minutes just prepping to write this little intro! Arguably, that is what made Jill a double award-winner this year: the ability to draw in her readers in such a way that they are sucked down this wine-filled rabbit hole of stories and adventures.

Susan Manfull: ‘P’ for Provence and ‘P’ for Passion. Susan has a heart of gold, which is easy to tell by speaking to her, or by reading her work. The tender care that she puts into each article is wonderful. Our first phone call could have gone on for hours, it was such a joy to speak to her.

Jerry Clark: One of my favourite pieces of wine writing, Jerry’s award-winning piece was evocative and emotional. He invited us into an intimate world, which all of us, including non-wine lovers, can relate to. His thrilling use of the written word remains incessantly inspiring.

Overall, the greatest thing I took away from these talented people is that a gifted wine writer, especially an award-winning wine blogger, is one that gives of themselves, that opens up in a personal way, revealing details not only about their subject - whether it be about a particular wine, an international travel adventure – but one who shares details about themselves. It is this, among many of the other things I learned above, that I hope to incorporate into my own blog when it launches this Fall.

See you in Sonoma at WBC17!

Disclosure: In exchange for a reduced rate to the Wine Bloggers Conference, attendees are required to write at least three blog posts about the conference either before, during or after.

Meet Row #38 at Okanagan Crush Pad #withTownHall

By Kathleen Beveridge It’s a new week to introduce you to one of the fabulous personalities in the world #withTownHall!

This does not mean they work as part of our team, are our client (although sometimes they are), or even are a person.

This week #withTownHall, is a little bit different as in celebration of Earth Day we introduce you to Row 38 at Okanagan Crush Pad's Switchback Vineyard-named after our own Leeann Froese.

This is Row 38, named after Town Hall's own Leeann Froese, at Switch Back Vineyard.

If you weren't aware, Switchback Vineyard was certified organic last August so we thought we'd take today to celebrate a piece of the vineyard-especially since it allows us to show you many many #row38selfies!

Leeann taking a typical selfie at her row while visiting the Crush Pad.

Leeann likes to document her visits to Okanagan Crush Pad by taking selfies with her row and has encouraged her network to do the same! It's a fun way to connect through photos and celebrate the vineyard.

I should say that Leeann isn't the only one with a row named after her but she encourages selfies be sent to her when visitors come upon or seek out row 38.

These are just a few of those who have risen to the challenge.

Capturing Okanagan Crush Pad owner Christine Coletta and Toques and Truffles, Katie Marks in the act of #row38selfie!

Editor-in Chief of Western Living, Anicak Quinn at Row 38.

Row 38 -not quite a selfie- with Derek Thompson

Say hello to professional cook Dixie May Kunicky in this #row38selfie

Christine Campbell, Girls Go Grape, looks great in her #row38selfie

Vancouver's 30 Day Adventurer Marc Smith with row 38's namesake.

Town Hall's graphic designer Felicia Fraser made sure she took a #row38selfie on her trip last summer.

Writer and business owner Jackie Kai Ellis at row 38.

 

It's only natural South Van Little League would make an appearance at row 38.

David Lancelot, a Kelowna tour operator, joins in on the fun.

Kieron Gallagher showing row 38 some love with a big hug.

Social media marketer Rebecca Coleman is all smiles with row 38.

Big hello for Marilyn working the vineyard angles at row 38.

Deborah Skreslet under the Okanagan sun at row 38.

Okanagan Crush Pad's own Rebeka gets in on the row 38 photography action.

Here's Kayla of UnCorkBC with pure #row38selfie skill shining through.

Leeann is excited wine journalist Treve Ring is hanging out at row 38.

Taryn Liv Parker's book makes an appearance at row 38.

Triple threat! Robin, Linda Horn and friend make this an epic #row38selfie

Will you help us say hello to Row 38 and celebrate Earth Day this week?

Leave a comment below – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter

Hot Photographer of Today Uses Wet Plate Collodion Technique of Yesterday

By Leeann Froese In today's digital age, it's easy to forget the roots of photography, when we can whip out our IPhones and take a photo with the tap of a screen in less than a couple seconds.

One renowned Vancouver photographer, Phillip Chin, is taking a step into the past and connecting with a pioneering method of photography called the Tintype Process, also known as Wet Plate Collodion Photography, which was introduced in the 1850s and thrived until the 1880s. Town Hall Brands' team had the privilege of getting their photos taken by him.

wpp029_Leeann_02wpp036_laurisha_02_LR wpp_amy wpp_andy_LR WPP_sujinderwet plate Kathleen Beveride, credit Phil Chin

The process is not quick. Chin brought with him a light-tight tent as his portable dark room. To begin the photo process, a chemical called Collodion is poured over a plate of glass or aluminium. After this, the plate goes into a Silver Nitrate bath for three minutes, which makes the plate sensitive to light. The plate is then taken (in a plate holder to protect it from light) to a wet plate camera. The shutter is kept open for 6-10 seconds while the person being photographed sits very still.

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Back in the 'darkroom', the plate is covered with developer. And then placed in a chemical (Chin used silver thiosulfate) which takes the negative image and turns it into an enchanting black and white photo.

Chin fell in love with photography all over again with the help of Wet Plate Collodion Photography because of the process and the hands-on nature of the craft. Unlike digital photography, a photo is taken every 15 minutes, and he remarks "you really have to put thought into each image to make it count. It also takes a great understanding your camera, chemistry and lighting," a challenge he was willing to immerse himself in.

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With the help of Wet Plate Photography, Chin hopes to "capture the true essence of each subject [he] photographs" and "help people appreciate what a great photo really is".

Phillip Chin is a commercial photographer who has been shooting campaigns and images for clients across Canada for more than 25 years. He specializes in capturing images of people, and has had the pleasure of working with families, corporations, chefs, athletes and musicians in action. He shoots on film, digital, and now wet plate formats.

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To learn more about Chin and his work, contact him in Vancouver (604) 874 2444, or by email at phillip2446@gmail.com

Getting Social with the Variety - the Children's Charity Show of Hearts

By Leeann Froese It is not every day that someone gets to celebrate their 50th anniversary!!!

The 50th annual Variety Show of Hearts Telethon takes place on Valentine’s weekend, airing on Global BC February 13th and 14th.

The Social Lounge team selfie from 2015: Marc Smith in foreground, and in the back from left: Leeann Froese (me), Scott Graham, Host Rebecca Bollwit, and John Beihler

 

Do you know? Sometimes BC families require medication, equipment, or accommodation while they are receiving treatment in hospitals outside of their own communities.

And sometimes, specialized therapy, medicine or tools to help children can make all the difference in young lives.

Variety the Children's Charity steps in to help make sure that families get the help that they need. They make a big difference in families and help children across the province.

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With this in mind I am super proud to participate for a second year in the Miss 604 Show of Hearts Social Lounge.

Respected and widely followed blogger Rebecca Bollwitt, a.k.a Miss 604, has proudly come on board once again as a sponsor of the Social Lounge, to lead the way with live and interactive social media updates.

The hashtag is #SOH50 and we hope you'll join the conversation by including @Miss604 and @Variety BC in your tweets.

There will be other bloggers and local social media personalities included in the social lounge such as photographer and foodie Scott Graham from What’s for Lunch BC, tech blogger and one of the world’s top 3D printing authorities John Biehler, travel blogger Marc Smith of 30 Day Adventures, blogger Ariane Colenbrander of Vancouverscape; and Christina @thevalleycharm will be tweeting too.

We’ll all be monitoring the #SOH50 tag, replying, interacting, and leading a few fun campaigns throughout the weekend.

And I will be there on Saturday and Sunday #withTownHall, phone charged up, posting and tweeting on behalf of both @TownHallBrands and my own handle @leeannwine

Tune in on Valentine’s weekend to see how your donations make a difference and follow @VarietyBC on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

I hope that you will join the conversation, and I hope you will make a generous donation!

 

Compare and contrast: Finger Lakes Wine and BC Wine

by Sujinder Juneja #TownHallOnTour

#FLXWine vs #BCWine

We have been lucky enough to attend the 8th annual Wine Bloggers Conference, a gathering of bloggers (naturally), industry professionals and wine lovers. This year, the event was held in Corning, New York with a focus on the great wines, producers and the people of the Finger Lakes AVA.

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A diverse, progressive and passionate industry, the Finger Lakes wine region shares many similarities with that of British Columbia, where we are happy to call home. Here are a few of our observations on the connections between the two regions, for your reading pleasure:

Cool Climate Viticulture

The Finger Lakes and British Columbia are both described as ‘cool climate’ wine regions and on average, share a similar amount of degree growing days. However the Finger Lakes region experiences a highly variable climate, with cold winters, cool to warm summers and a short growing season. While there is diversity of climate within the five main BC wine regions (Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands), the climate is less extreme overall and degree days are higher on average.

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Planting Grapes To Site

The most established wine regions in the world plant grape varietals that are best suited to that particular site or climate. The most planted grapes in the Finger Lakes are Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc along with a selection of lesser known Vitis vinifera (Blaufränkisch, Saperavi, Sereksiya Charni), native Vitis labrusca (Catawba, Niagara) and French-American hybrids (Traminette, Vidal, Seyval Blanc, Valvin Muscat) that suit the climate and produce balanced and delicious wines. By contrast, the top white grape varietals in BC are Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon for the reds. Other crosses and hybrids such as Ortega, Marechal Foch and select Blattner Hybrids are also planted to produce successful wines. The Finger Lakes and BC wine industries began with native and hybrid varietals with the belief that they would better suit the climate, but consumer preferences in the Fingers Lakes and British Columbia are favouring the more popular vinifera varietals.

Bottled sunshine within the Ventosa Pinot Noir.

What’s Wrong With Hybrids Anyway?

Nothing. If a hybrid grape is grown on a site which allows it to mature to full ripeness, and in the hands of a talented winemaker, they can produce wines that are both balanced and delicious. It’s worth noting that hybrids sell for significantly less by the ton, compared to vinifera varietals, which can affect a winery’s bottom line. Add to that the fact that hybrids are generally less well-known and often hard to pronounce, and therefore market to consumers. One of the most vocal debates during Friday’s Introduction to Finger Lakes Wine Country panel discussion swirled around the contentious use of crosses and hybrids in the region. Consider this: if a hybrid varietal, developed specifically for a particular climate, can produce tasty wines, should they not be celebrated, granting uniqueness to the wine region as a whole? Not all winemakers are convinced. But if you ask someone like Art Hunt at Hunt Country Vineyards, he’ll tell you that his varietally-labelled Seyval Blanc and Valvin Muscat are among their most popular wines. “Millennials want to try new things,” he says. “You can taste 100 Rieslings from the Finger Lakes, but wine drinkers want experience something unique.”

Judy Wiltberger at Keuka Spring Vineyards is proud to show off her Vignoles, a French-American hybrid that sells out every year. In her experience, the key is to market regionally, get people into the tasting room where people can try the wines in person. 70-75% of her sales are through her cellar door and challenging her guests with distinct varietals is a way to excite their palates with something new.

A view towards Seneca Lake.

A Sense of Community

Unlike other more competitive regions in the global wine world, the Finger Lakes and British Columbia both enjoy a strong sense of community and partnership. I know firsthand that winery owners and winemakers in BC regularly collaborate and share information and ideas that make the region stronger as a whole. The same is absolutely true for the wineries of the Finger Lakes. If you had the chance, for example, to taste the Tierce Riesling, made by Fox Run, Anthony Road and Red Newt, you’ll know that the wine – and the wine region – is greater than the sum of its parts.

A Window to the World

The Finger Lakes and British Columbia wineries both face the double-edged sword that most of their wine is consumed in their local areas. The challenge offered by the locavore movement in North America means that major cities such as New York and Vancouver consume most of the wine produced in each respective region. Add to that the high tourism rate that each region enjoys means that most wine is sold via the cellar door, limiting the chance for export and global distribution. What this means is that fewer consumers internationally have the chance to taste the wines and understand what the region is all about. At this point, allocation to outside markets becomes a critical path to increasing the prestige and recognition of the regions as a whole.

Fox Run  Vineyards owner Scott Osborn & Town Hall's Sujinder Juneja.

With Open Arms

At the end of the day and at the end of this conference, the greatest impression left on us about the Finger Lakes wasn’t the wine. It was the people. It wasn’t just the wineries and winemakers that opened their arms to welcome us, but also the restaurants, shops, hotels and the community at large. From our first day in Keuka Lake, throughout the expertly-organized pre-conference excursion and to the last day of the conference itself, there was an excitement and overall warmth that was impossible to ignore, and wonderful to be a part of. When the wine bloggers visited Penticton, British Columbia for #WBC13 it was a similar experience as well. Community, a sense of place, and the celebration of diversity were as much a part of the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference as they are in 2015.

See you in 2016 in Lodi, California.

Bob Halifax, April Yap-Hennig, Leeann Froese, Jeff Kralik at James Melendez at Wine Bloggers Conference 2015.

It's OK to have opinions - and 4 other things I have learned in business

By Leeann Froese

5 Things I have learned on our 2nd Anniversary

I am not sure how that happened so fast, but our little agency is two years old this month.

Andrew and I want to thank our amazing team and our clients for allowing us to us create brands and get the word out on things that celebrate living well: wine, food, hospitality, financial planning, film, and sport.

Clockwise, from left: me, Laurisha Bardal, Andrew von Rosen, Felicia Fraser, Ali Harris, Sujinder Juneja, Kathleen Beveridge, Amy Chen and Carole Morton

I have been learning new lessons everyday, and wanted to share a few things that rank at the top of my mind as we celebrate the start of year three #withTownHall.

I'd love to know, if you own a business, what are you learning? Maybe we can learn from each other? Listed as a countdown, but not in strict order:

5. It's OK to have opinions - even if they are unpopular

For much of my career I only cared about being a people pleaser. I still possess this trait, and our team also shares this trait, but not at the expense of giving bad advice or being untruthful.

My mentor, Christine Coletta, instilled in me the saying 'we're not here for a haircut', meaning that people don't look to my expertise so I can blow smoke, or not make things happen. As such, people can count on our team for good content and to get things done.

I have also realized since opening Town Hall that after almost 20 years in the industry I have knowledge to share and I should provide not only expertise, but also the truth and my own opinions, especially if they defend clients, and even if these opinions or truths are unpopular or are not what people had hoped to hear.

So now, I give my complete opinion when asked, or call out situations when I need to. An example of this is my recent post about those who ask for wine donations. Sorry, everyone who wants free wine.

4. The right team is everything

Clockwise, from left: me,  Felicia Fraser,  Andrew von Rosen,  Carole Morton, Laurisha Bardal, Sujinder Juneja, Amy Chen & Kathleen Beveridge

There is no way that Andrew and I could deliver strong programming to our clients without the contributions of a strong design and communication team. I'm so proud of the work that our team does to create identities and raise profiles.

It has taken the full two years, with some personalities coming and going (and this may continue as the business evolves) but when the fit is right, as it currently is, the culture and work output can be magic.

Thank you Sujinder, Felicia, Amy, Laurisha, Ali, Lindsey, Kathleen, Lindsey, our newest member, Carole, and our consultants Alana and Irene, for being so key in the team's success. We would be nowhere without you all!

3. A home office can only hold so much

We are seeking a new space, and ideally, by our 3rd birthday we will be in a different office. We are working with a realtor but the Vancouver market is hot. Wish us luck!

2. We need to tell people what else we do

Many people don't realize we are a full service agency and think that we only offer publicity services, or that I am singularly a PR person.

So can you please help it be known: we offer packaging, media relations, social media outreach, logo and graphic design, advertising campaigns, events and marketing strategy.

Also, we are not the popular Joseph Richards Group owned Townhall Public House.

We named our company “Town Hall” based on collaboration, which we feel is so important, especially in this era of crowd-sourced information and real-time customer feedback.

It is our constant goal to be a lifestyle destination, and deliver projects that inspire and celebrate the good life.

1. We are just getting started

In the scheme of a growing business we are really just getting started. The learning curve for sure is super steep.

I was looking after a lot of the agency work at Coletta and Associates before we closed the doors there, but there's nothing quite like being the one who's the air traffic controller and holding the bag and making sure that everybody's rent gets paid.

We are super thankful to our clients who believe in what we're doing at our little agency. We truly love you!

Life is too short to work with people you don't like and products you don't fall in love with.

Andrew and I thank you

We thank everybody for coming along for our ride #withTownHall

We are very social with what we do - so converse with us on your favourite social network @townhallbrands.

Keep up with what we do and talk to us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

We look forward to what the next year brings!

The year that was 2014 With Town Hall - Part 2

By Leeann Froese Picking up from last week's Wine Wednesday, today I finish a recap of what we did in 2014.

I repeat how grateful we are for the support we receive from our clients, colleagues and the trade. You all bring the awesome, and I can't wait to see what 2015 unfolds for us all.

Here we pick up the last half of the year...

August

Road Trip #withTownHall

As our team grew throughout 2014 two new people with no previous wine experience joined us (Laurisha Bardal and Amy Chen) so a tour & learn was in order. We visited Okanagan Valley clients SpierHead winerySummerhill Pyramid WineryMt. Boucherie Family Estate WineryOkanagan Crush Pad and Serendipity winery.

Each winery client welcomed our team with open arms and in addition to learning a lot, we had a lovely time!

Laurisha makes her selections in the cozy and welcoming Mt. Boucherie wine shop

Of course a #selfie with Laurisha, Summerhill's Ezra Cipes and Amy

...and a #selfie with barman extraordinaire Gerry Jobe and Globe and Mail columnist Alexandra Gill. Alexandra was on assignment to cover the winery's truly innovative cocktail menu being led by Gerry (using ingredients grown and foraged on site, as well as Tibetan singing bowls)

It is so relaxing at the cute outdoor area at Spierhead winery in Kelowna

We arrived at Okanagan Crush Pad just in time to have the girls star in a video with winery owner Christine Coletta and 30 day Adventures travel blogger Marc Smith

Okanagan Crush Pad's Garnet Valley Ranch

Serendipity's Judy Kingston showed us the ultimate in hospitality. Not only did we get a great tasting, she had the three of us as guests in her home. The next morning, she made us an incredible breakfast before we hit the road.

September

BBQ OFF the Bypass

Our client, the amazing Angie Quaale, hosted the 9th annual BBQ On The Bypass (it became OFF the bypass after Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store moved to a new location). The free public event offered music, unique displays, tasty vendors and delicious BBQ samples.

15 teams gathered and the winner was House of Q, who then went on to win for the World’s Best Ribs from the World Food Championships in Las Vegas!

House of Q

A free family event, the BBQ OFF the Bypass offers everyone's fave: bacon!

A few thousand BBQ lovers gathered on a beautiful day in Langley for the BBQ OFF the Bypass 2014

 

Celebrity Dim Sum

Raising funds for Aids Vancouver was the annual Celebrity Dim Sum. What fun it was to have politicians, media, and other personalities from Vancouver serving up yummy dim sum to an enthusiastic crowd.

Haywire was the official wine sponsor and sneak previewed its next release of the Lunar New Year wines.

Celebrity Dim Sum

 

Jurgen Gothe Celebration

Our team was proud to help organize the event to celebrate the 70th birthday and achievements of Jurgen Gothe’s lifetime. Many in the industry came together with wine, food, and stories. Our team was thrilled to be part of the planning, event execution and friendship for a memorable afternoon with an unforgettable man and those close to him.

Jurgen 70th birthday

 

Fall Colours

The British Columbia Wine Institute held its annual fall tasting event Colours. A few of our lovely BC winery clients were in town to showcase their newest releases to an enthusiastic crowd of trade and media.

Summerhill Pyramid Winery CEO Ezra Cipes shows off his latest releases to the trade

Amy Hollenbach and Alison Scholefield offer tastes of Haywire wines

October

Let's hear it for the Girls!

In time for breast cancer awareness month was the promotion of The Girls wine - a rosé and a red - with 100% sales proceeds of to charity. Note these wines are available year-round and make a wonderful choice for gifting or entertaining, knowing that all proceeds go to a great cause. The red would could be a nice Valentine wine.

Let's hear it for The Girls Wine - 100% proceeds to charity

The Girls Wine founder Bill Lui and CTV's Lynda Steele

 

November

Meet Monte Creek Ranch

We were pleased to announce that the wines are now available from Canada's next wine region and the newest winery in Kamloops, Monte Creek Ranch. Stay tuned for summer 2015 when this winery opens its doors.

With a hat tip to the area history, Monte Creek Ranch will open in 2015 in Canada's newest wine region: Kamloops

 

Monte Creek Ranch

 

Samanatha Syrah

Each year Vancouver’s sommelier of the year is invited to make 100 cases of wine through Okanagan Crush Pad’s Okanagan Wine Campus program. From this $5,000 is donated annually to the BC Hospitality Foundation to support wine education scholarships. 2013 Sommelier of the year Samantha Rahn of Araxi in Whistler created a delicious Syrah. Our team was proud to do the packaging and the publicity.

Samantha Rahn

Samantha Rahn launches her Okanagan Crush Pad wine at CinCin

SamanthaBottle We are thankful to the media for the great press for sommelier Samantha Rahn's wine project. This has been the most publicity we have received to date for one of the Okanagan Crush Pad Wine Campus wines. Girls rule!

Previous Wine Campus releases include Kurtis Semillon 2011 (Kurtis Kolt), Owen Cabernet Franc 2011 (Owen Knowlton) and TNT Chardonnay 2012 (Terry Threlfall). In progress and up next is Mike Bernardo (2014).

 

Skills n Spills

The second Skills N Spills competition benefiting the BC Hospitality Foundation took place. Hospitality trade teams competed for bragging rights and more. Our team's role was media communication and coordinating the amazing media judges.

Skills N Spills 2014 Judges

Skills N Spills 2014

A New Look for an Older Wine

We were proud to bring to life the new packaging for Cipes Ariel 1998 premier cuvée.

This critically lauded wine now looks as beautiful as it tastes. The artwork and calligraphy were done by Helen Menyes, who also hand painted each of the original Cipes Gabriel 1991 bottles. The layout and design were led by our Andrew von Rosen, and inspiration for the design also came from the winery's winemaker Eric von Krosigk. The artwork depicts the archangel Ariel (lion of god), descending down the cone shaped bottle. On the back, two ethereal lions are nose to nose, creating the impression of angel's wings.

Andrew and I had a bottle of this wine on New Year's Eve (thank you team for the gift!) and it was absolutely delicious. No other way to put it. A truly special BC wine.

Cipes Ariel

 

December

One Faith Vineyards

Our team announced the newest project in British Columbia wine: One Faith Vineyards, and not without controversy, so with this project we will expand...

In the past I have been lucky enough to do media work in Canada with Penfolds Grange and Mondavi's To Kalon Vineyard, and I was proud to be the publicist to launch Osoyoos Larose. These wine labels are all bold, high end, aspirational projects. Those in the Canadian wine media might recall that when Osoyoos Larose was launched it was met with skepticism before it earned fanfare. Critics said it showed promise but were slow to get 100% behind the project. In the case of One Faith Vineyards I am suggesting the case is the same. However today, the conversation is more rapid, as in 2001 there was no online platforms for social dialogue. And a tempest in a decanter is taking place because Bill Lui dreams for One Faith Vineyards, an expensive wine, to become a first growth wine for Canada.

Sujinder Juneja from our team, a French Wine Scholar, assembled this text:

"Let’s first talk about what First Growth actually means. Translated as “Premier Cru” in France, the First Growths were established in 1855 when Napoleon III classified the best wines of Bordeaux for the Exposition Universelle de Paris, based at the time on selling price and overall reputation. The top-ranked wines, named the Grand Crus Classés (Great Classified Growths) were placed in one of five categories from first to fifth, each of which carried a high mark of prestige and suggested a higher quality product.

The fact that these classified growths were now perpetually allowed to charge more per bottle than their close neighbours meant that greater financial resources could be potentially allocated to produce the best possible wine, year after year, even in challenging vintages.

Even inside France, the term First Growth is not a regulated term, but remains a title that lends distinction and perceived quality to the associated wine. Premier Cru is now also used in other appellations in France, including Burgudy, Alsace and Champagne, for example. More often than not, the term merely means the top wine (price and quality) of a particular estate.

Outside of France, the term has been used by other wineries who hope to establish a connection to old world traditions or perhaps build a higher reputation for quality in their home country.

In Canada, there is not yet a legal or binding definition for First Growth but it is the vision and the goal of One Faith Vineyards to produce a First Growth-level wine in the Okanagan Valley, an exceptional wine of unparalleled quality. Everything to do with the wine, from vineyard to winery, from grapes to bottle, must be only the very best.

To be fair, Bill Lui, the proprietor of One Faith Vineyards has never said that his wines are Canada’s First Growth. It is only his goal. His ambition. And only time will tell if that honour is given to One Faith in a formal way. And to be sure, Bill Lui has never once suggested that One Faith Vineyards is above the other great vineyards or wineries of the South Okanagan, but rather that the wine represents the fully-realized potential of excellent quality Bordeaux grape varietals, which have been growing in that site for more than 20 years."

Interestingly, many people talking about this wine and Bill Lui have an opinion when they have not met Bill, (a generous, humble, husband and father), or tasted the wine. Bill has invested his retirement resources to the project. Despite this, whatever does not make the final blend of only 144 cases is used in the 100% charitable The Girls Wine project.

How does the 2012 wine show? People might expect a big, extracted, tannic and masculine wine, as it is made from Bordeaux varietals, but the inaugural release of the wine is a delicate, fruit forward blend that expresses the south Okanagan terroir beautifully. With the meticulous care, attention, hand crafting and detail that go into production and the resulting limited quantity made, the wine retails in a custom made bamboo box of three for $495. At the time of this post the wines had been selling steadily, but a few cases remained.

One Faith Vineyards founder and aspirational vintner, Bill Lui

 

Wild Sweets

Also in December we were proud to welcome Wild Sweets by DC Duby as a client. I worked with them when I was at Coletta & Associates back in… let's just say it was more than a decade ago. It's fun to reconnect with these two passionate chocolatiers and pastry artists. I encourage you to take a look at their website as their chocolate creations are truly remarkable.

At the Atelier in Richmond, DC Duby's pop up retail space, Cindy and Dominique Duby (in the white coats) are joined by Michael, Rebecca Coleman, and Regina Chen

Dominique and Cindy make an appearance on Global TV to make creme brulée with Jay Durant and Lynn Colliar

 

#30 Days of Kindness

Our last project of 2014 was a team one: we took part in #30DaysofKindness

Our team met 30 Day Adventures chief adventurer Marc Smith at the Skytrain station to take part in 30 Days Of Kindness by surprising 20 lucky strangers with the gift of a smile, a positive note and a free ride on Translink. (Just so you know no transit laws were broken in the committing of this act of kindness as we had full approval from Translink.)

This is our 2nd year in a row participating in 30 Days Of Kindness. I am so proud of my hard working and generous-spirited team. Check out our little video and the post with detail on Marc's site

Sujinder, Amy, Laurisha, me, Ritika, Andrew

Act of Kindness 04

 

Wrapping Up

Whew!

It was so nice to end the year on a kind note, making people smile, and spreading good will.

Let me know how YOU enjoyed 2014. Did you attend any of these highlighted events? What were the highlights of your year?

2015 already promises some projects and exciting events to emerge so stay posted. Things are already getting busy in the industry with tastings and events.

If you do not already follow us on social media, we'd love for you to join us. Or sign up to receive updates to see what we are getting up to with our clients. You can do this at the top of the website.

We can't wait to share what else our clients are going to be up to, keep all dialogue going, and I hope we see you in person very soon!

Happy New Year - and on behalf of myself, Andrew, Sujinder, Amy, Laurisha, Felicia, Lindsey, Ali and Ritika, let’s all #gogetit!

Meet Ezra Cipes With Town Hall

By Leeann Froese It’s Saturday – that means it’s time to introduce you to a new personality #withTownHall.  This does not mean they work as part of our team, or are our client (although sometimes they are).

We just interact with so many amazing people that we want to expand networks and introduce them to you, and you to them.

This week #withTownHall please meet the CEO of Kelowna's Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Ezra Cipes.

If you like this post please feel free to share it so others can meet him too!

Here I am in paradise at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna on a summery sunshiney day with the amazing Ezra Cipes #withTownHall

In addition to running Canada's most visited winery as its CEO, Ezra has a thriving talent as a musician, and that's what he was doing before he returned to the family business to oversee operations at the family run winery.

Earlier in his adult life, Ezra worked as a touring and session musician and became a published songwriter, but despite his love for music, he felt the call back to the vineyard. Home on the family farm, Ezra initiated a half acre permaculture garden, selling vegetables and herbs to Summerhill's onsite Sunset Bistro. After reconnecting with the winery and the land, Ezra knew he needed to assume a greater role at the winery.

Now, Ezra is responsible for day to day operations, marketing, and leadership. He has completed courses in vineyard management and in permaculture design.

And despite all of this, Ezra still creates music and performs occasional gigs on the side.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share something really cool that we saw last week: this is a music video of a song that Ezra and his brother Ari Cipes did that was created by their friend Elsie Kay (also a talented musician herself!) and I think you should just sit back and enjoy this before you take a moment and say hello to Ezra.

Can you please say hello to Ezra with a comment – or go give this post a like or share on Facebook or Twitter so more people can meet him too!

 

The year that was 2014 With Town Hall - Part 1

Starting the New Year with a look at the year that was… 2014 in review - part one of two long posts... By Leeann Froese

It is remarkable that it is already the first Wine Wednesday of 2015!

2014 had been quite the amazing year for our team at Town Hall. The saying that ‘it takes a village’ is certainly true, especially as you apply it to what we're doing here. It takes a committed team and also a supporting cast of characters to really make all that we accomplish on behalf of our clients possible.

We feel blessed to have a cohesive team that really enjoys each other's company both while at and outside the office, and we love our clients, because as well as quality offerings, they carry so much passion and personality.

Also in the village we rely heavily on social thought leaders, bloggers and journalists to support our efforts to help spread the word on behalf of our clients, and we can't thank everyone enough for their ongoing support and enthusiasm for everything that we're doing here.

There is too much to detail, so to follow are a few highlights from what was an incredible year.

January

Wine for the Year of the Horse

Haywire Lunar wine launched… and sold out in days. This was an unprecedented program to create a wine for the local market specifically crafted to pair with Asian cuisine, and this wine symbolized the Year of the Horse. Our team did the packaging and PR. The program was a huge success and will be repeated for this year, the Year of the Sheep.

Haywire was the 1st BC winery to release a wine specific for the Lunar New Year

 

Wines of France educational seminar

On behalf of Sopexa Canada our team coordinated three days of training for the senior managers and product consultants of the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch, highlighting Alsace, Beaujolais, Bourgogne, Languedoc-Roussillon and Rhône Valley wines. On the heels of this, it was so exciting having Wines of France be the theme region for the Vancouver International Wine Festival in 2014.

French Wines Event

 

Dawn Chubai goes Under the Covers

14 years after her award-winning début album, vocalist turned TV personality Dawn Chubai releases Under the Covers. Our design team was proud to do the layout on her album cover.

Under the Covers by Dawn Chubai

 

February

Pure Chablis

An exclusive dinner format never done before in Vancouver: three up-and-coming sommeliers (Brooke Delves, Jason Yamasaki and Roger Maniwa) competed to pair wines from Chablis to a menu created by chef Jefferson Alvarez of Secret Location. Invited guests to #PureChablisYVR voted by private individual electronic ballot, and the winner was Roger Maniwa.

Roger Maniwa of Hawksworth is the winner of the Chablis wine pairing competition

Christophe Cardona and Françoise Roure of Chablis congratulate winner Roger Maniwa

 

The International Wine Festival

The 2014 International Wine Festival featured 178 wineries from all over the world, and the theme country was France. Mike Bernardo of Vij's was named the Sommelier of the Year. The wine world gathers to taste and connect. Selfies were taken.

The darling trio from Summerhill Pyramid Winery at their booth: winemaker Eric von Krosigk, founder Stephen Cipes and CEO Ezra Cipes

Star-studded sommelier lineup includes (back row) Mark Taylor, Neil Ingram, Brent Hayman, Jason Yamasaki, Terry Threlfall, Mike Bernardo and Emily Walker (front row) Barb Philip, Mark Davidson, Kurtis Kolt and Tom Doughty

Ellen's has nothing on this sommelier-#selfie!

2012 Sommelier of the Year Terry Threlfall (left) and 2014 Sommelier of the Year Mike Bernardo (third from left) stop by the Okanagan Crush Pad table to say hello to Christine Coletta, David Scholefield, and Alison Scholefield

My #selfie with the Okanagan Crush Pad team: Matt Dumayne, Alison Scholefield, Julian Scholefield, Mike West and Whitney Law

March

Kosher Wine from BC

Canada's first uncooked Kosher wine was created by Summerhill Pyramid Winery with the release of Tiferet (loosely translated, means beauty).

Tiferet

wax sealing

 

Eight unique curries compete

In another first, the inaugural Curry Cup took place on behalf of the Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia; eight chef teams competed and the winner was chef Taryn Wa of Savoury Chef.

Taryn Wa of Savoury Chef  is the inaugural Curry Cup Winner

 

April

Vancouver Dining gets Social with Serendipity

Serendipity Winery is the exclusive wine partner for the second annual #DinnerpartyYVR. Hobby chefs prepared meals in their homes with all proceeds to charity.

Annika Reinhardt and Crystal Henrickson of #dinnerpartyyvr

 

May

Dish n Dazzle

The BC Hospitality Foundation and Wines of New Zealand presented Dish N Dazzle with proceeds to support those in the hospitality industry in dire financial need. The event featured New Zealand Wines, a spirits competition and food from top Vancouver restaurants.

Dish N Dazzle offfered great food options  from top chefs and suppliers, all for a good cause

 

Lauren Mote, Sophie Lui and Natalie Langston enjoy Dish N Dazzle

Spotlight on Portuguese Wines

For the first time in 20 years (maybe more) vintners from Portugal arrived en masse - 27 in all - to Vancouver, many displaying wines that were not available in Canada yet. We were proud to implement this program, which was a guided tasting led by Treve Ring, followed by a walk-around tasting. We were delighted to see how engaging the vintners are, how well the wines showed and how much the trade appreciated these wines.

Portuguese wines are on the rise globally, and we can see why.

Treve Ring leads an entertaining and educational tasting of Portuguese wines to the delight of  Michaela Morris, Judith Lane, Park Heffelfinger and Tim Pawsey

 

27 vintners from Portugal wowed the Vancouver trade

 

Spot Prawn Festival

Presented by the Chefs’ Table Society of BC, the 8th annual Spot Prawn Festival took place at Fisherman's Wharf. The Spot Prawn Festival celebrates the start of spot prawn season in BC's coastal waters. The event involves many local chefs, and more than 2000 people attend this celebration of sustainable seafood.

Chefs Chris Whittaker of Forage and Robert Clark of the Fish Counter lead the charge in sustainable seafood.

Chefs Table Society member chef Vikram Vij of Vij's serves Spot Prawns

 

Wine In the Garden

The Bottleneck Drive Winery Association from Summerland held their first event in Vancouver: Wine in the Garden, at the beautiful VanDusen Gardens.

 

Bottleneck Drive wineries in Vandusen Gardens

 

June

Provence Rosé

We were delighted to present a program on behalf of Wines of Provence, celebrating the wonderful wines and flavours from the south of France. the program included media appearances by Provence's François Millo and Viktorija Todorovska and a tasting for retailers.

François Millo and Viktorija Todorovska

IMG_2669

 

Preparing BC wineries for Fame

I was joined by DJ Kearney and Kathy Michaels to present a media training session to the BC Wine Institute member wineries.

Media training BC wineries

 

Finding the Best Canadian Wines

The Wine Align National Wine Awards of Canada judging took place in Penticton, BC. It was a thrill to see the judges, many of whom I have worked with for more than 15 years (!) but never get to see, and help host them at Okanagan Crush Pad.

Christine Coletta and Styeve Lornie, Okanagan Crush pad Winery owners, welcome the Wine Align judges

#selfie time with Okanagan Crush Pad winemaker Matt Dumayne and Brad Royale, wine director for Rocky Mountain resorts, and Wine Align judge

A huge highlight for me as well was meeting Jamie Goode, a visiting wine author from the UK. He is a marathon runner and kindly slowed down enough for me to join him for a run in paradise.

Run #seflie with Jamie Goode #gogetit

 

Welcome Calvin

Our Felicia had a baby! Welcome Calvin! 9lb 2 oz and 100% cute!

Our team welcomes Calvin

July

#WBC14

The Wine Bloggers Conference took place in Santa Barbara California, following a pre-excursion to Paso Robles. While there we presented a handful of BC wines in a hotel suite, exposing the wines to leading bloggers. We also got to see parts of California wine country and taste some incredible wines from the region, not to mention meet amazing people we now remain in touch with throughout the year.

I get a #selfie with Sujinder at the top of the world in Paso Robles

Tasting BC Wines with the bloggeratti

 

Golfing to help the industry

The British Columbia Hospitality Foundation’s annual golf tournament took place in Vancouver. Amazing support was shown from the industry.

darryl Weinbren Anthony Gismondi, and BCHF chair Richard Carras

 

Joining Us

In July we were also pleased to welcome the Blue Grouse Vineyards and Winery team as well as financial consultant Judy Poole of Raymond James into our roster of clients. Wonderful people with lots to share.

 

Cristina, Paula and Paul Brunner, owners of Blue Grouse Estate Winery

A #selfie with the smart and lovely Judy Poole of Raymond James

 

Next week I will finish off from August onward, this post is lengthy enough!

Did you attend any of these highlighted events? What were the highlights of your year?

2015 already promises some projects and exciting events to emerge so stay posted.

We can't wait to tell you what else our clients are going to be up to and I look forward to seeing you very soon!

 

Happy New Year - let’s all #gogetit!

Celebrating Our Women In Business #WithTownHall

  By Amy Chen

Happy Business Women's Day! 

TH Business Women Flashback 65 years today, the American Business Women’s Association was founded by Hilary A. Bufton Junior with a mission to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to support each other personally and professionally. Thirty years later in the 1980s, president Ronald Reagan officially declared September 22nd as a national holiday to recognize gender equality and the contribution that women make in the business world.

Now, why is this important to Town Hall (and maybe you, too)?

According to Canadian Statistics:

  • Number of Canadian women in business is drastically growing
  • Self-employed women grew by 6.4%, accounting for one third of all self-employed persons
  • On average, women in business do not make as much money as men
  • Women perceive more barriers doing business than men
  • Love is what drives majority of women entrepreneurs in their business

With a number of our clients and team members being women, we want to celebrate Business Women’s Day by highlighting the leadership and dedication of our Town Hall women in business. Most of all, we invite you to help us celebrate and recognize these incredible women for their hard work and achievements. They inspire us and allow us to take great pride in the work that we do for them. Thank you ladies for everything that you do! Here’s what ten of our empowering Town Hall Women in Business shared when we asked them their greatest challenge and reward as women in the industry:

 

Angie Quaale Angie Quaale, owner, Well Seasoned Gourmet Food Store

Challenges: “I don't think I face specific challenges because I'm a woman. I know plenty of male and female entrepreneurs. Their challenges are unique to the business, and not their gender.”

Rewards: “Meeting food producers that raise or grow food. The passion involved in that process is completely inspiring to me.“  

 

Christine Coletta Christine Coletta, owner, Okanagan Crush Pad

Challenges: “I didn’t really face many as the wine industry is made up of family business with many dynamic women taking lead roles. It was not a male dominated environment and neither was the restaurant industry, which was my previous career. Frankly, the biggest challenge was the confusion over my name, which is when I officially started using “Christine” to avoid receiving calls and mail addressed to Mr. Coletta. The assumption was that I was a male… I quickly set that straight.”

Rewards: “Watching the growth and knowing that I played a vital role in changing the direction of the BC wine industry along with the many people that became my friends. It was hard work, but we shared some wonderful experiences and have great war stories to tell.”

 

Darnelle MooreDarnelle Moore, owner, Eastside Fitness

Challenges: “One of the biggest challenges is to let people know that a female operated fitness business does not mean we are for women only. To let people know that women can and do lift some pretty heavy weights (and they don't "bulk up" when they do so) and that men don't have to lift heavy weights all the time to improve their health/fitness. They could benefit from movement pattern corrections, which might involve some pretty basic "unloaded" body weight exercises. One of my pet peeves in the industry, regardless of the fact that I'm a woman, is that the fitness industry is categorized under "Recreation and Entertainment". To me, that implies fitness is not taken seriously as a preventative health measure! I would love to work towards changing this officially!”

Rewards: “I think seeing people move beyond their original fitness goals, beyond the obvious ones like losing weight or running a 5km to where they realize the real benefits of a full, balanced exercise regime.  Seeing people become stronger (physically and mentally) and in a place where they enjoy working out. I especially love when I see a client make a self-correction in a movement pattern we have been working on. It's a sign to me that they are aware of how their body is connected.”

 

Jenny Garlini Jenny Garlini, office manager, Blue Grouse Winery

Challenges: “My biggest challenge right now is splitting my time between my kids and my work. I have two kids that are four and six years old, and I want to be involved with school/preschool as much as I can. The other big challenge working for a small business is that you have to wear many hats. It has been a big challenge to not only manage a tasting room, but also make sure bills are paid, schedules are done, edit a website, put out a newsletter, start a wine club, make sure the lawns are cut, and the list goes on and on.”

Rewards: “Seeing the whole picture. I love being a part of each aspect of the winery that I listed and more! I get to see and make decisions on things that will make Blue Grouse grow and be successful. I love seeing the sales grow, new wine club members signing up and knowing that we have made a new customer that will love our place in the Cowichan Valley as much as I do.”  

 

Judy Kingston Judy Kingston, owner, Serendipity Winery

Challenges: “Getting the farm started is my biggest challenge as a woman in the winery industry. As most would know, the farm is a really male dominated industry. So, when I first moved from Toronto to start Serendipity, there were a lot of non-believers. I was a Torontonian, a lawyer, and a woman that had no idea how to drive a tractor nor did I know anything about farming.”

Rewards: “Since Serendipity started, my biggest reward is proving everyone wrong. I succeeding at farming and transformed from the Toronto, lawyer woman that everyone doubted to the farmer and owner of Serendipity, 2013 Winery of the Year from New York International Wine Competition.”  

 

Judy Poole Judy Poole, branch manager, Poole and Associates Wealth Management

Challenges: “The biggest challenge working in this industry has been balancing the expectations of the various firms that I worked for, especially in a male dominated industry and with the unique way that I, as a woman, work with clients. My philosophy puts building trust and truly understanding client’s needs first, but the corporations put sales results first. Fortunately, I have found an independent home at Raymond James where my philosophies fit.”

Rewards: “Without question, the biggest reward has been watching my clients’ lives evolve, helping them to navigate the rough waters of life! Children have been born, grown up, educated, marriages, divorces, and widowhood. I've been at this a LONG time!”  

 

Marina Knutson Marina Knutson, owner, SpierHead Winery

Challenges: “I co-own a winery with my husband so my challenges are no different than his. The ongoing challenge I see is balancing roles as husband and wife while owning a small business and continuing to be parents of four children.”

Rewards: “It’s always a success to see my wines do well and win awards. Also, I’m pleased to see more women wine makers as equal partners. This means I have more opportunities to meet new groups of women in the hospitality and wine industry. Prior to the wine industry, I was an occupational therapist, so another reward is being able to learn more than I ever thought.”

 

Pinki Gidda Pinki Gidda, wine shop manager & marketing, Mt. Boucherie Family Estate Winery

Challenges: “As a family-run business, we have to do everything ourselves and wear many hats. While it’s a great learning experience that I am able to get my hands in everything, it is slightly challenging at times because I often wish I have more time to spend with my customers, rather than working behind the scenes.”

Rewards: “One of my biggest reward is meeting people from all over the world and seeing our business grow with everyone’s support.”  

 

Tarrah MacPherson Tarrah MacPherson, vice president of operations, Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Challenges: “I don’t really feel any significant challenge as a women in the industry. The support I have received coming on board here at Summerhill has been tremendous. My environment has been collaborative and inclusive right from the start. And this is the mantra we are passing on to our teams to be successful.”

Rewards: “Well, to start, I love my job. I feel really good about the achievements we are making as a team and as a company. As an organic winery contributing to the sustainability of our planet, we feel we are pioneers among our peers. As the worldwide wine industry continues to trend upwards, we feel we are well positioned to continue as a leader in our industry. A really great place to be.”

 

Leeann Froese We will end with our own Leeann Froese, owner, Town Hall Brands

Challenges: “The biggest challenge is living up to my own pressures – trying to oversee the business, family, volunteer obligations and carve out time for myself. It’s a challenge for me to be a leader in these varying aspects while still trying to look ahead and grow.”

Rewards: “My biggest rewards come when I hear from clients saying what a difference we have made for them, how we are vital to their teams, or from press saying that some of our best practices are their favourites. And I get huge satisfaction from the smiling faces of my team. I push them, hard; to work to output their best and learn and grow, and hope that they are happy with their role and work.”

Do you know any of these women or know a woman in business you would like to recognize? Let us know or give them a big high five and thank you.

Town Hall takes the #ALSIceBucketChallenge

We were nominated by Robert Stelmachuk and his team at Cibo Trattoria to take the #alsicebucketchallenge and we accepted! Here we have our Town Hall team: Sujinder Juneja, Amy Chen, Leeann Froese, Laurisha Bardall and Andrew von Rosen and we are at Scotiabank Field.

We have made a $100 donation on behalf of our team, and we pass the ALS Ice Bucket challenge along to Darnelle Moore at Eastside Fitness, Eric von Krosigk of Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Megan Moyle of Constellation Brands.

 

 

 

ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed. Kind of like how it feels to be doused in ice water? Every day two or three Canadians die of the disease.

Why is it called Lou Gehrig's Disease?

Lou Gehrig was an American baseball first baseman who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. He set several major league records during his career, including the most career grand slams (23) (until this record was broken in 2013) Gehrig's streak ended in 1939 after he was stricken with ALS, a disorder now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease in North America, which forced him to retire at age 36 and claimed his life two years later.

Thank you to Rob Fai for editing this video for us and to our own Felicia Fraser for filming us.

Freshly iced Sujinder, Amy, Leeann, Laurisha and Andrew

Please share this, and remember to make a donation. Learn more here on the ALS Canada site.

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Happy New Year! Wishing you the best for 2014 and hope to see you #withTownHall

Happy New Year from Town Hall By Leeann Froese

At this time on behalf of our entire team I want to wish everybody the best of the holiday season as we turn the corner into 2014.

An epic #selfie of the Town Hall team2013 has been a pretty challenging, yet amazing year. The easiest way to say it, is that it has just been incredible, full of change, positivity, amazing people, and hope for what lies ahead.

After spending 16 years with an agency that we did a vast body of work with, and that taught us so much, to go out on our own was a bigger move than I anticipated. It is our blessing that our clients have come with us, and new ones have joined us too, and we have a team of 7 professionals that step up to do their best every time they are on the job, yet, can celebrate life and have fun on the flipside.

As I write this all I can say is that I am filled with gratitude. I'm so thankful to everyone around me: my family, friends, coworkers, clients and the media who support us. Plus, everyone has just spread so much goodwill and been supportive over this year - this year that has been so big and so full of change as we launched Town Hall.

I would love to personally reach out and say to every single person how meaningful my relationship with you is, but I'm going to do this in a mass way right here on this blog and say very best of the season to you all.

I wish you a Happy New Year as we welcome 2014, and I can't wait to see you in person, talk to you on the phone, or swap an email with you and strengthen our relationship as time unfolds.

And so I don't leave you with a totally mushy ending - here is a fun how-to that we did just in time for the holiday season.

Cheers!

If you are on mobile and cannot see the You Tube embedded - here is the click through.

Create your kit - presented to YVR bloggers - what to include in your media kit

  By Leeann Froese

Are you a blogger? Do you have a media kit?

YVR Bloggers is a group curated by Daddy Blogger Ricky Shetty, and the objective of the group is to hold monthly networking events to educate and inspire bloggers in Vancouver.

santa with Town Hall

The group, which I was invited to join on account of this little #withTownHall blog, is an awesome place to network with bloggers across different industries both offline and online.

At a recent meetup the topic was Marketing Your Blog using Social Media and SEO

Held at the luxurious Waterfall Building near Granville Island the event featured a panel of SEO experts who shared their insights and tips on how your blog can be found on search engines:

Bosco Anthony from Bosco Anthony, Emily Chow from Chow Communications, Christian Thomson from Marwick Marketing, Cijaye DePradine from Web Cash Coach, Keith Kidwell from Netsurf Marketing, Christine Nielsen from Ms Pixel, Chuck Anderson from Blissful Parenting, and Bonnie Sainsbury from Social Media Smarter.

Social media marketing educator Matt Astefan of Web Friendly gave a terrific and super useful keynote: "Facebook Hacking: How to Get Free (or Cheap) Reach with Facebook".

For fun, Victoria Clements sang a Christmas song to get us into the holiday mood, and the Salvation Army was also on hand to raise awareness for the work they do and collect donations. There was also music, and sponsors and so much more happening at this event - including a visit from Santa Claus! To learn more, do check out the YVR Bloggers website and social feeds.

I am proud to share that I also had a small role in the evening. I was invited to share some of my blogger relations expertise, so I shared a top line look at what to include when a blogger builds a media kit (can also be known as a rate sheet) - an essential if you are a blogger wanting to work with marketing and PR companies and sponsored posts and advertisers.

So click on through to see 5 things you need to include, and how to use the content.

[slideshare id=29134222&doc=yvrbloggermediakitslides-131212005336-phpapp01]

 

Want to talk bout how our team can build a kit for you?

Need more? Sign up to receive updates like this, and other interesting stuff. Or email leeann@townhallbrands.com

Do Good Work: Town Hall does 30 Days of Kindness with 30 Day Adventures

  Do Good Work - Town Hall does a kind act for 30 Days of Kindness.

by Leeann Froese

Those that know me, know that each day I ask myself and my world: “have you been as kind as you can be today?

RecordPhoto

So when blogger, friend, and client Marc Smith of 30 Day Adventures called for people to get involved in his latest blog series called 30 Days of Kindness, I leaped at the chance.

Presented by CHIMP and Provence, the second annual 30 Days of Kindness series sees Marc work with people and companies to spread 30+ acts of kindness.

For our act of kindness I asked my Town Hall team what they wanted to do; I said I wanted help those who are constantly helping others.

Honour House

It was Andrew & Felicia from our design team that suggested we visit and recognize those who volunteer at Honour House.

So we went to Honour House. See the 30 Day Adventures blog post by Marc Smith on our act of kindness here.

It just so happened that Marc posted our kind act on World Kindness Day! How fitting. CTV spoke to Marc about his series, World Kindness Day and Honour House. If you want to watch the CTV coverage go here and check it out!

Honour House is a home away from home that offers temporary housing for Canadian Forces and Emergency Services personnel whose families or loved ones are receiving medical treatment in Greater Vancouver. This special refuge is almost 100% volunteer driven, and seemed like the perfect place to visit and show some kindness to the volunteers.

Honour House Tree of Honour

The house opened in 2010 and is a completely renovated heritage home in New Westminster that has 20 guest rooms, peaceful, brightly lit common areas and a shared kitchen. Craig Longstaff is the general manager, and Patti Graham, who looks after finances, are the only two paid staff members. Maintenance, upkeep and fundraising events are all managed by a group of dedicated volunteers. Craig gave our team a tour and we learned a lot about this unique facility.

A lot of care and love goes into Honour House on a regular basis; for example a group of quilt makers has sent over enough quilts for the entire house, as well as many child-sized quilts, which young guests of Honour House can take home with them when they return home.

Hand made quilts are supplied in each room at Honour House

cookies

 

Town Hall’s act of kindness was to take the volunteers some kind of a treat and help with some of their regular duties. Sally Koldenhof, owner of Custom Cookies by Sally, heard what we were planning, and made amazing maple leaf sugar cookies to fit Honour House’s theme. We then gave these to the volunteers and staff upon arrival.

As we learned more during our visit to Honour House we realized that this special facility needs more volunteers. Like any accommodation or B&B, when guests leave, things need to be cleaned and organized for the next set of people who will be staying.

With a number of VIPs set to visit Honour House on Remembrance Day for the parade and event to follow after in New Westminster, our timing could not have been better. The Town Hall team, along with Marc, spent a few hours working at Honour House on Friday November 8th.

Townhallteam

I, Andrew, Felicia, Sujinder, Ali, Ben, and Marc raked leaves, made beds, vacuumed & mopped the floors over the course of an hour and a half alongside their volunteers and we were able to get the house cleaned from bottom to top.

After that was done the group posed for a photo and enjoyed the custom-made maple leaf Cookies by Sally. The volunteers, staff and the Town Hall team were super happy with the cookies.

During our time at Honour House we realized that the Honour House volunteers are amazing. No job was too big or too small, and they did everything with a smile. The ladies whom I helped were laughing and having fun pretty much the whole time. Their passion for Honour House is clear and they do whatever it takes to make sure the house is comfortable and clean when new guests arrive.

Craig was impressed with how much our team accomplished. He noted that they need five or six people to help them on a regular basis, to bolster their existing group of volunteers.

So, if your company, or you and a group of friends want to help those who regularly help others, check out the Honour House website at www.honourhouse.ca They would be very grateful for your help and so would the Canadian Forces and Emergency Services personnel, who stay there.

I especially send this note out to other companies - as a small business owner, if I and my team can find the time to do an afternoon of good work: I challenge you to do the same.