Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Murder and mayhem on the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail

Three months ago, Rick and I published a travel guide for the iPhone, called Rehoboth in My Pocket.

It took many, many hours and has yielded teeny tiny bits of money.

“Let’s do another!” we said.

So we settled on Virginia Wine in My Pocket as the second travel app for our In My Pocket Guides label. (Impressive, huh? We hear the editors at Frommer's Guides are trembling...).

In April, we launched a web site, so you could follow our wacky antics and zany exploits. And so you’d be standing breathlessly in line (virtually) when the app queued up for launch in early summer.

And then May rolled by, followed closely by June, and no app. “What’s the deal?” we asked ourselves. “Where’s the Virginia Wine in My Pocket app? Why the hold up?” (No one else was standing in the virtual queue yet, so we queried ourselves.)

Life, as you’ve probably guessed, intruded. People got married, people had birthdays. And, surprisingly, Rehoboth in My Pocket did not shoot to the top of the iTunes charts overnight, and needed some cuddling and encouragement.

I fretted; my rule-bound approach to marketing required that we first publish the app, and then hit the road to promote it. Ergo, we could not begin visiting wineries until we’d published the app. Meanwhile, the summer skipped by.

Rick, not being the marketing strategist that I am, suggested a different approach: “How about if we put the rules aside and just have fun with this?”

Nervous, I was. That was just crazy talk. We’d be digging ourselves into a deeper behindedness if we spent precious weekends running off to wineries instead of bent over our computers. But it was July already, and our backs were against the wall.

So we scrapped our strategic plan. “Let’s just drive,” we said. Like when we were dating, a decade ago. Back then, we just wandered, visiting tasting rooms, feigning interest in residual sugar and harvesting schedules when we really just wanted some free wine and a seat in the Adirondack chairs, looking out toward the Blue Ridge.

Now, of course, it’s our business. Or, at least, we want to make this our business and cut loose the 9-5 yoke. Traveling around, meeting eccentric wine makers and brave winery owners. Taking pictures that land on magazine covers, and getting patted and pinged by readers. A life with a new mission statement: “How about if we put the rules aside and just have fun with this?”

So there we were last weekend, whizzing along the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail on Virginia’s Northern Neck, approaching winery number 30 on our “150 Wineries in 150 Days Tour: Virginia.” It must have been butterfly season on the Neck, because swallowtails were everywhere and, sadly, we nailed one.

Rick said, “You know the last thing that goes through a bug’s mind when it gets hit by a car?”

“No, what?” I asked.

“Its ass,” he said.

Rick is completely heartless, of course, and a babe in the woods marketing-wise. But he’s got a great sense of direction, and I like where he’s taking us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now that was funny.