Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Digital Tasting Room Experiences

amuz will help you stand out in a sea of bottles on the shelf. When you can’t be with your guests amuz can help you tell your story. We leverage technology and immersive media to enhance your marketing and drive sales.

Point phone -> tell story with amuz QR.


Left Coast Estate Wine Club insert example:



Billions of smartphone cameras now have automatic, built in QR code readers.



Origin Story





Vineyard Profile





Vineyard Profile Video Share


amuz Digital Tasting room uses:

  • Wine Club
  • newsletters (links)
  • Social
  • Pairings & Virtual Sommelier
  • Experiences / Events
  • Distributors/Sales Channels
  • Retail
  • Winemaker
  • Terrior
  • Sales Training
  • Tastings
  • Packaging (box, labels and neck tags)

Our current physically distanced era requires digital experiences and methods to create new, meaningful connections.

amuz visual stories: French Ambition Comes to Fruition on Oregon's 45th A Family Legacy on Oregon's 45th

Let amuz tell your story because you are more than a pretty label. amuz tells your story with beautiful scenes, immersive media and your voice.

amuz is a cost effective way to make a lasting impression. Rives-Blanques has a great story to share [amuz podcast]. We'd like to help you tell the world.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Viroqua: Don’t Panic it’s Organic!

Viroqua is the center of a farming region in Vernon County that traditionally produced wheat, dairy and tobacco. Farming still dominates the scene but there has been a marked transition to organic. Vernon County now has the largest number of certified organic farms in the state of Wisconsin at over 200. Viroqua is home to Organic Valley, the largest farmer owned organic co-op in the country. A Madison friend who grew up there refers to Viroqua as her “hippie home town”. There is truth to that as urban refugees came to Viroqua in the 1970s and the organic movement reflected their values. The creation of the Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School forty years ago aimed to foster an environment where children were the central focus of a school for those who desired “a life in harmony with nature’s rhythms”.

Situated in the Kickapoo River valley, Viroqua is beautiful. The rural scenery includes dramatic cliffs, winding rivers, and fertile acreage. The Amish peacefully reside in the valley and enhance the experience as a reminder to simply slow down and take in the beauty. One can find Amish goods at the Viroqua farmers’ market. On a recent visit there was a separate market with fruits, vegetables, furniture, quilts and woven baskets. The goods are hand made of course and reflect a craftsmanship honed by generations of repetition. Each good is marked with the maker’s identity and address. If you drive the back roads you will see simple hand-lettered signs that announce a family’s speciality.

For a small town there are businesses and amenities you would likely find in a bigger city. The Viroqua Food Co+op is well stocked with staples and epicurean delights. The impressive farmers market, charming Main Street shopping district, the historic Temple Theatre and Wonderstate Coffee stand out as community assets.

The Driftless Cafe is the culinary star of the area. Luke Zahm is the chef owner and a native of nearby Lafarge. He had a solid and impressive career in Madison before returning to his roots. Founded with his wife Ruthie in 2013, the Driftless Cafe has an impeccable reputation for farm to table cuisine. Luke now has a side gig as the host of WPR’s Wisconsin Foodie. Zahm was recognized with a James Beard award nomination for “Best Chef in the Midwest” in 2017. The nomination was a coup for a small town restaurant as previously the Beard nominations had never gone to a chef between Minneapolis and Madison. There is such a hospitable, collaborative atmosphere at the Driftless that Ruthie personally suggested restaurants around the country that were her favorites. The reverence for the farms that supply cafe ingredients is reflected by the prominent display of the farmers’ names as part of the decor. You can’t go wrong with the menu options as all are fresh and respectful of the seasons in which they were grown.



















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Thursday, October 8, 2020

Turning Back Time in Westby

The Big Old Red Shed bills itself as a flea market. The site was formerly a lumber yard. It’s on East State Street in Westby so it is a convenient stop while in the Driftless area. The place is jammed to the rafters. There is a framed photo of Frank Fitz of the reality show “American Pickers” near the entrance. A sign warns that transactions are “cash only”.

There is a visible layer of dust on most surfaces that I find oddly encouraging. This place is a sort of time capsule. In the parlance of American Pickers the offering here is the “history of America, one piece at a time.” More than 40 people sell stuff for the location.

I went with my 20 something daughters who are in a life phase of acquiring items for their homes. I have tried really hard in recent years to adopt the Marie Kondo approach of only acquiring or keeping items that spark joy. I felt happiness as I wandered the stuffed rooms with my girls but only regretted a few items left behind. There were so many memories of forgotten items from childhood and time spent in the kitchen with my grandmothers and mother. I delighted in showing my girls rotary egg beaters, ancient metal flour sifters, potato ricers, cast iron pans and collectibles. It was the decor items that we found most alluring. How could someone have crafted a queen size hand stitched quilt that was now on offer for $35? The Jadeite, Jadite or Jade-ite bowls (yes I saw all three spellings) so lovely with their green milky color particularly appealed to a new generation.

The “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra and desire for quality guides my daughters. They both have lived in big urban areas and repeatedly commented how they could envision many of the items with big prices in Oakland or Boston. Kate scored a cool mid-century brass lamp for $25. The second floor is worth the effort to meander there.

I look to Pyrex colorware as a barometer for store prices. In Westby one could purchase a complete set of four primary color ware nesting bowls for $58. As a comparison, a shop in Walla Walla Washington had the same set on offer for $87.50. There is no wine region adjacent to Westby so I think their prices are affordable. eBay and Etsy prices are often around $150 pre shipping. Pyrex is collectible no doubt because of sentimentality, great design and durability. Baby boomers are apparently shedding their collections so it seems to be in abundant supply.

I had acquired a set years ago from a Madison store that benefitted a charity. I have fond memories of my mother using the largest bowl, the yellow one, to serve her potato salad or rest a loaf of rising bread dough. Mom had received her bowl set as a bride to be in 1957. I shared my excitement in acquiring the set with the shopkeeper who cooly said “we are all just trying to buy our childhoods”. No matter, four glass bowls for less than $60 in better than a big box store.

I learned a little personal history the day we visited. There was a bookcase display of vintage beer cans. Many of the breweries such as Schmidt and Schlitz harken back to a time before micro breweries. I had never heard the detailed story my husband told us that day of his experience as a middle school aged beer can collector. He would scavenge for cans at county fairs and concerts taking home the empty discards left on the grounds. He also would visit his Great Uncle Elmer’s farm and sort through his burn pile in the woods for salvageable cans. Schmidt cans were particularly collectible because the label art would change seasonally. Who knew my husband who has little patience for shopping was a “picker”? Most savvy of all, and an indication of his entrepreneurial prowess, he sold his collection for $300 circa 1977. Today’s prices are often less than $2 a can so he did well back in the day!

The shed has adopted good Covid precautions. Masks are required and physical distancing is encouraged. Check for modified store hours on their website. In the era of home confinement there is now a Hi-Bid auction site and a virtual shed element on their Facebook page.

-- Nancy Zellmer







Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Aerial Agriculture Beauty

A few scenes above Redlin Farms

Photos








Aerial Panoramas



View 1

View 2

View 3

View 4

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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

How Do You Like Them Apples?

There is a historical marker on a ridge above Gays Mills which overlooks the Kickapoo River Valley. The marker commemorates a historic first place prize won by area apple farmers in 1905 at a national apple competition in New York City. Emboldened by that success, the Wisconsin State Horticulture Society embarked on a plan to plant five acres on High Ridge with five recommended apple varieties. Less than a decade later in 1911, Gay Mills had a vigorous, established orchard industry. Presently over a thousand acres here produce apples that are exceptional for their flavor and color. Not unlike a local vine ripened tomato in August, these apples are worth and wait. It makes one rue the piles of supermarket apples with a waxy polish that do not begin to approach the fresh, tart yet sweet flavor profile found in Gays Mills.

A Viroqua cafe owner affectionately described Sunrise Orchards as “the Costco of Apple Orchards.” Sunrise has the depth and breadth which explains that description. They should also be commended for the professional efficiency of the operation. They have a system and even in Covid times they keep check outs moving safely and promptly.

The apples steal the show but there are lots of temptations. We highly recommend the Golden Supreme and Honeycrisp U.S. Extra Fancy as eating apples. There are many varieties for baking and stewing. It is a marvel to see industrious shoppers loading 20 lb boxes into their carts. For those whom baking is chore can find freezer cases stocked with mammoth pies to take home. There are also pumpkin cake rolls, Amish butter, local cheese and jams. There is an extensive gift section should you be inspired to begin holiday shopping.

Not to be missed are the Sunrise apple cider doughnuts. They are worth the drive out in the country. Baked fresh on the premises, eat them while they are warm. Find a spot on one of the outdoor benches overlooking the seasonal splendor of orchard and savor every bite.

--- Nancy Zellmer













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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Architecture in amuz



Danish Museum of Art and Design Copenhagen







Hagia Sophia Istanbul





Cattedrale di Monreale Sicily







La Sebastiana Museo de Pablo Neruda Valparaiso, Chile





Milwaukee Art Museum





The Bund Shanghai





Benesse Art Site Naoshima Japan





Taliesin Spring Green, WI USA





SC Johnson Corporate Headquarters Racine, WI USA





World Trade Center New York, NY



Explore interesting architecture around the world with a few taps, in amuz.

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