Year in Review 2011

CANVAS now has three years under its belt!  

We’re always looking ahead, but for a moment we’d like to share with you all that we accomplished last year.  Of course none of this would be possible or even matter if it weren’t for you, our members. Thank you for all of your support and for your contribution to building such a strong Hospitality Community.

And for those of you who are receiving this who are not CANVAS Members, we look forward to getting to know you better in the coming year.

During 2011…

Our membership grew to over 800 – Hospitality businesses and individuals!

We expanded to two Advisory Councils, one in Napa and one in Sonoma, to guide CANVAS in responding to the needs and collaborations in each of the two Counties. Our Advisory Councils also help us shape the vision and execute the plans, often very hands-on. Our current Advisory Council Members are:

NAPA VALLEY           

  • ·       Dave Bryant, Director of Hospitality and National Sales, Anomaly Vineyards
  • ·       Kathy Cady, President, San Francisco Concierge Association
  • ·       Cindy Crater, Director of Business Development, NapaStyle
  • ·       Rick Enos, President, Compadres Rio Grille
  • ·       Pamela Grinnewald, Concierge, AVIA
  • ·       Margaret Meraz, Hospitality Director, Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards
  • ·       Katie Prevost, Marketing Manager, San Francisco Magazine
  • ·       Lisa Ross, Concierge, The Carneros Inn
  • ·       Scotti Stark, Fisher Vineyards     
  • ·       Tom Wark, Owner, Wark Communications


  • ·       Sondra Bernstein, Proprietor/CEO, Estate Restaurant
  • ·       Nancy Boerum, Concierge, MacArthur Place
  • ·       Sue Burnet, Concierge, Vintners Inn
  • ·       Michelle Hogan, Outreach Consultant, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery
  • ·       Ryan Moore, Director of Consumer Sales, Ridge Vineyards
  • ·       Don Rickard, President, Platypus Tours
  • ·       Sally Srok, Vice President, Francis Ford Coppola Winery


  • ·       Colby Smith - Executive Director, Co-Founder                                  
  • ·       Sharon Leighty - Sonoma County Membership Director
  • ·       Antoinette Freeman - Administrative Director, Event Coordinator

We now are alternating and blending Networking and Education events between Napa and Sonoma to great response from our members. So many of you are excited to expand your knowledge base and connections within your own region and reach out beyond in order to even better serve your guests.

Thank you (and CANVAS staff) for arranging

the Quick Connect last evening. I'm so

glad I had a chance to attend with Giselle.

We both felt it was well worth the drive to Sonoma County.

 ~ Cynthia Hurley, Hurley’s Restaurant


We conducted 12 Research Days in alternating regions expanding the awareness and relationships of Concierges from Napa, Sonoma and San Francisco with Wineries, Lodgings, Ballooning, Spa-ing and even Zip lining! All to the great excitement and enjoyment of those who attended. And to the benefit of those who participated in showing off their properties and activities.

Thanks for another lovely Research Day! I wanted

to inform you about how Research Day has

benefitted sponsors. As a result of the Ultra Day

in April, we have booked full day bookings with Flex

Wine Tours and OneSize Ride, the transportation

companies on that day. We have sent multiple guests

to Joseph Phelps and Barnett (from different

Research Days), and a few to Spring Mountain Winery.

Although Pride gained bookings from us too, in

fairness it was Pride that recruited us for

CANVAS, rather than vice versa.

 ~ Randy Warren, 90+ Point Wine Tour

It was so lovely to have your Research Day

group last Wednesday, July 27th and sit at

our long Jimtown table together. I'm grateful

for the opportunity to share my story and

connect in person - hurray for CANVAS!

Sharing a leisurely lunch is such a treat &

pleasure -- thanks for taking the time to

explore the Alexander Valley.

~ Carrie Brown, Jim Town Store

Thanks for including us in the CANVAS outreach visit.

We've already received a few emails from the

participants thanking us for the time and sharing

our wines.  We even had a Wine Club sign-up

from one of the attendees!  Looking forward to

building relationships with everyone that joined,

helping and us their guests get the most out of

their Sonoma County wine experience.

~ Sarah Kelley 
Dutton-Goldfield Winery

We held another CANVAS Gatekeepers of Wine Country panel in Sonoma at the Charles Schultz Museum. The panel of Concierges, Tour Guide, and Destination Management Company representatives gave an updated review of what they are currently experiencing in traffic and interests from guests and included a spirited exchange from the attendees. The panel was followed by social networking in the lovely Schultz garden area for more conversation.

I had a great time at the Gatekeepers event.

So many of my clients and friends are part

of CANVAS that is a delight to get out and

socialize with them at such wonderful venues

and on top of it be informed on new ideas

and better education of our local concierge needs.

I appreciate you allowing ATLcontributer to the event.

 ~ Sylvia Parkinson, General Manager, ATL Events. Inc

Thank you for putting together the Gatekeepers event. 

It was a wonderful event that was extremely helpful.

Really enjoying our membership.

~ Nick Benz, Landmark Vineyards

Because of the diverseness in the appellations of Sonoma we initiated an education program – Sonoma County Appellation Series. We held the first two in 2011, the first at Lambert Bridge to showcase the Dry Creek, Appellation and the second, at Lancaster Estate showcasing the Alexander Valley Appellation. The series will be ongoing with five more Appellations scheduled in 2012. This educational event consists of a panel made up of a Vineyard Manager to talk about the local terroir, a winemaker to discuss varietals, a chef, to discuss farm to table, and an expert on the various activities available in the region. And of course, the panel is followed by CANVAS members serving the Appellation’s wines, and great food while socializing.

I think your Appellation educational series is

one of the best ideas I’ve heard of recently.

I am fascinated by the requirements of identifying

each area and am really looking forward to the

series.  Thank you for all the great ideas and

opportunities you provide your members. 

~ Drinda Petroni, Petroni Vineyards


The CANVAS Connect monthly networking event has resonated very well with members. Focusing on attendance of Hospitality Professionals only (members and non-members) and limiting the size of the event to only 250 to 300 attendees has facilitated much more effective networking.

2011 CANVAS Connect events were held at:

  • ·       Francis Ford Coppola Winery
  • ·       Soda Rock (Launch of their new winery)
  • ·       Benziger Winery
  • ·       Chalk Hill Winery
  • ·       Sonoma Cutrer Winery
  • ·       CornerStone Sonoma
  • ·       Trentadue Winery
  • ·       Gabrielle Collection
  • ·       Reata Winery (Holiday Party)

All I can say is thank you, thank you and thank you

for such an amazing opportunity to showcase

our wines, event space, vendors, and network with

 a wonderful group of attendees.  The event was a

huge success and I greatly appreciate all you did for us. 

The Trentadue Family said it was the best event they’ve

ever had!  You women were lovely to work with and I

can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of your support

during the planning process.  I hope to work with

each of you again in the very near future.

~ Jennifer West, Trentadue Winery

Chef Chris really enjoyed the event and thought

it was an excellent match for our marketing efforts.

~ Amy Davis Ludwick, Grapevine Catering

We held three Quick Connect events in 2011. They have become so popular they are now an ongoing part of our Networking program occurring every other month.  They are a fun and comfortable way for Members to expand their connection base and form even stronger relationships with fellow CANVAS Members to better serve their guests.  Our invitations describe the event:

 To start our Quick Connect events, we will have 'Meet & Greet' hour to enjoy some delicious food and wines while socializing with your fellow CANVAS Members. This will be followed by the 'Speed Networking' portion of the evening. You will be seated with another Member for a short meeting. Once you hear the bell after 5 minutes, it is time to move to the next table!

In one hour you will have ten short, 5 minute, individual meetings with other CANVAS Members - Concierges, Tour Guides, Restaurants & Wineries, and more!

2011 Quick Connects were held at:

  • ·       Landmark Winery
  • ·       Flamingo Resort
  • ·       Flora Springs Winery

The Quick Connect was a great event for

real connection, I was able to receive, and

hopefully give, encouragement as well as

information to everyone I met. The time was

valuable, and the information priceless...

thank you for all you do.

~ Cat Olsen, White Pillow Concierge

Thank you for hosting such a great event! I really

see so much value in this Quick Connect event,

and look forward to attending it again in the future! 

~ Lily Peterson, Saintsbury

Quick Connect… GREAT event – great idea! I will

definitely plan on being a part of these in 2012. We

would love to host one, so please let me know

if you have any open dates.

~ Teresa Morgan, Benziger Family Winery & Imagery Estate Winery


We published 52 Newsletters in 2011.  Each Weekly Newsletter was sent to our entire Membership.  The Newsletters contain a wealth of information for Members.  They have:

  • ·       A message from Colby
  • ·       Quick links to our website
  • ·       CANVAS Announcements
  • ·       Members’ Wine Country Announcements
  • ·       A monthly interview with a CANVAS Members
  • ·       Membership assistance for FAQ’s we receive
  • ·       Our premier Members are featured
  • ·       Upcoming CANVAS events with registration links
  • ·       Listing of Member events occurring in Wine Country for the next two weeks
  • ·       A monthly ‘Specials’ Issue where Members can share their business’ specials available to other CANVAS Members

I wanted to thank you for your recent newsletter.

I was reading the list of new members and noticed

a name I didn’t recognize. I emailed My Napa Valley,

Driver, Chris Pratt, to introduce myself. He called me

and we had a great conversation. Now he’s bringing

guests to visit us the day after tomorrow.

All this in a matter of minutes. Thank you for your

continuous hard work and commitment to making the

guest experience the best it can be. You’ve given

us all tremendous tools with CANVAS.

~ Candice Pannetier, Chappellet Vineyard & Winery

Thanks so much for your Member Newsletter CANVAS!

You were the first to let me know that one of my

favorite musicians, Jim Brickman, is coming to

the Napa Valley Opera House! I've got my tickets

and now I'm just counting down the days!

~ Lindsay Faith Weinhold, Parallel Wines

CANVAS Media Exposure to support our Members:

We are very proud of the Feature article written about CANVAS that appeared in North Bay Business Magazine. It appeared in their Harvest Issue giving it a great deal of exposure. The article’s title was ‘WINE COUNTRY WELCOME’ and it was written by Alexandra Russell and printed in the October, 2011 Issue.

7x7 & CANVAS Promotions

  • ·       Seven CANVAS Members received visibility as part of the Food Spotting Contest Gift basket including exposure in 7x7 magazine (viewed by over 50,000 bay area locals) on the 7x7 website (over 10,000 reads on a site that gets over 300,000 unique visits/mo) as well as features in 7x7 newsletters (27,000 subscribers) on foodspotting.com and blogs, and Facebook mentions.  All and all, exposure to hundreds of thousands of hip and savvy food-loving locals!

  • ·       CANVAS was thrilled to collaborate with 7x7 Magazine on the CANVAS sponsored 7x7 Holiday Wine Buyers Guide in November. We were able to showcase 13 wineries, 7 hotels and 6 restaurants. The response was so positive we ended up with 11 pages in their Holiday issue.

We were very pleased CANVAS created the

opportunity for members to participate in the 7X7

 2011 Holiday Wine Buyers Guide. Thank you CANVAS

for creating platforms that increase visibility for your

member businesses both inside and outside wine country.

~ Ann Marie Conover, Meadowood Napa Valley

  • ·       CANVAS Members also participated in 7x7’s Napa Pocket Guide benefiting from yet another wonderful arrangement with the publishers.
  • ·       And they just completed the Sonoma Pocket guide for this year 13 of which are members receiving a special CANVAS ad rate.

San Francisco Brides Magazine also invited CANVAS to collaborate on a Wine Country Wedding issue. We had a section where CANVAS Members received discounted advertising rates, and editorial to give readers tips about how to orchestrate a wedding in Wine Country.

I just met with Korri about advertisement with their

Bride magazine today. Great opportunities ahead

for editorial and ad placement. Thank you for

 the connection and preferred pricing through

CANVAS, it always helps.

 ~ Isabelle Adams, CWP, Soda Rock Winery

KRON TV has invited Colby to appear on Henry Tennenbaum’s program twice to talk about Wine Country, first Holiday activities in Wine Country, and another in February on Romantic Getaways in Wine Country. This looks to be an ongoing opportunity.

Wine Biz Radio has had Colby on their show. And she was on the Sonoma Sun Radio FM 91.3 station with Ken Brown. All sharing information about Wine Country activities.


We conducted a survey about CANVAS managed by an independent agency, Bennett Valley Group, receiving an exceptionally high percentage response. This gave us very helpful feedback on how we can enhance CANVAS services to our members. Thank you to all of you who responded.

The PAS Program was launched in our continuing steps to support Members in gaining a better understanding of their colleagues’ offerings. CANVAS currently has 24 PAS Members – Wineries that “P” – have an average wine price of $65 or greater, “A” – whose Access is by Appointment Only, and “S” – are small production of 7,000 cases per year or less. There is a special web page for these members in addition to their regular profile so when the appropriate guest requests this type of winery they can easily be found. We will be initiating other groups to help you all find what your guests are looking for most easily.

I really appreciate the work you are doing to

create a supportive cohesive group within small lot

wineries with the PAS program.  I believe the

 Jarvis event was very successful!

                        ~ Julie Webster, Crocker & Starr

I just wanted to personally thank you for putting

on such a wonderful event for the PAS Program.

There was such a great turnout all around and

everything was perfect. I look forward to the events

in the near future.

~ Will Agee, Meadowood Napa Valley

What a pleasure it was to attend the event at Jarvis. I think

it will be truly invaluable to have such a wonderful

networking community, and it felt as though everyone

there wanted to learn about and support one another.

We at Kamen look forward to all the exciting new

opportunities PAS will bring!

~ Taylor Williams, Kamen Wines

CANVAS was very proud to be invited by the iconic Auction Napa Valley to contribute Concierge Services to the Barrel Auction Day. Twenty CANVAS representatives helped guide attendees to the activities at the CIA, answered questions, and shared history with those curious.

Our social media presence has expanded greatly!  Our Facebook page posts great information, and is followed by over 1,000 fans.  We post event photos on the page for attendees to view and share.  We also post Members’ events, articles, and specials.  Our Twitter account is very active, and we get some great mentions.

Colby served on the jury for the “Best of” selection for Napa Valley for Great Wine Capitals International.

CANVAS was represented at Trade Shows and showcases for Vineyard & Winery Management, Hospitality Showcase at Genentech, Spring Mountain Appellation.

We initiated a program of Member Interviews, one per month, viewed on the CANVAS Website and featured in the Weekly Newsletter. Interviewed so far: Michael Mondavi, Michael Mondavi Family Estate; Ryan MacDonnell, Round Pond Winery; Jim Treadway, Bardessono; Jennifer Buffo, Pure Luxury Transportation

AND… we continued working on our barrels of CANVAS Wine. It is a fun, experiential learning experience for our members. Participating in crush in 2010, then some punch downs in 2011, and soon tasting then bottling!! We’ll have just 30 cases of wine to share (not sell).


Fostered continuing and new strategic working alliances with:

  • ·       Napa Valley Vintners
  • ·       Napa Valley Destination Council
  • ·       Napa Valley Film Festival
  • ·       St. Helena Chamber/Visitors Bureau
  • ·       Napa Chamber of Commerce
  • ·       San Francisco Concierge Association
  • ·       Sonoma County Visitors Bureau
  • ·       Sonoma Valley Tourism Bureau
  • ·       Russian River Valley Winegrowers
  • ·       Heart of Sonoma Valley
  • ·       Les Concierge, San Francisco (and beyond)
  • ·       WHERE Publishing
  • ·       7x7 SF Magazine
  • ·       San Francisco Magazine
  • ·       San Francisco Bride Magazine
  • ·       North Bay Biz Magazine
  • ·       Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • ·       Wine Country.com

Conducted outreach in support of some of our favorite Not For Profit and other organizations:

  • ·       Napa Valley Arts Council
  • ·       Festival del Solé
  • ·       di Rosa Art Preserve
  • ·       Napa Valley Opera House
  • ·       Napa Valley Land Trust
  • ·       Vine Trail
  • ·       North American Wine Tourism Conference
  • ·       Wine Women and Shoes

Anticipating 2012:

Entering our fourth year CANVAS will be expanding the types of programs we will be offering. More opportunities for connecting with targeted outreach, and more education programs are on the horizon.

  • ·       We will continue and expand our 2011 successful programs.
  • ·       The Sonoma Appellation Series is continuing.
  • ·       We are initiating a Wine Country Professional Development series, co-authored by Holly Stiel. Professionals know that ongoing education supports their expertise.
  • o   Our Concierge programs are receiving great interest.
  • o   As well as more comprehensive Lodging programs for all Customer Service staff.
  • ·       And July 17th will be the first CANVAS Wine Country Hospitality Trade Show!
  • ·       We will be updating our Website presentation, expanding resource information, and expanding collaborative content.
  • ·       We will continue to expand visibility for our Members. We always have our eyes open for opportunities for you.

It is very exciting to continue to grow CANVAS! I have no doubt that we will cross the 1,000 mark in Membership in 2012. This will inspire us to invent new programs to insure that our members will be well served. CANVAS’ offerings will continue to be the result of YOUR suggestions and what we seek out to support the Hospitality Community. 

Don’t ever forget that you, the Hospitality Community in Wine Country, are influencers. You have a powerful affect on the experience of those who visit this extraordinary destination. And you can take pride in the fact that you have a great impact on our local economy. I congratulate you all, and am grateful for the opportunity to serve you.

Let’s see what we can co-create in 2012!

Warm regards,

Colby Smith           

Executive Director, Founder

Thank you for all the wonderful events you

produce to educate, entertain and unite

the Hospitality industry in Napa, Sonoma

, SF and the Bay Area. We love all that

membership brings us and are thrilled

to be a part of such a dynamic organization.

~ Pamela Grinnewald, Juliette Christensen, Shawn Diller, AVIA Hotel

Congrats on the tremendous success you

are having. We are all benefiting from it.

~ Sarah Buxton, St Helena Winery

I do want to thank you from the bottom

of my heart for all of the great work you do

with CANVAS.  It is SO valuable AND

so appreciated.

~ Tina Delaney, TLCD Concierge, Inc. San Francisco

You’ve done an outstanding job in creating a

networking/socializing venue to help broaden

our knowledge to benefit our guests.  Thank you.

~  Sue Burnett, Vintners Inn Manager

To me, the true value of my CANVAS membership lies in the personal relationships I am able to make and nurture with the help of this (awesome) organization. These relationships are the lifeblood of my company, from both the “acquiring new clients” standpoint and the “providing more compelling experiences for our guests” standpoint.

And it’s very time-efficient for me to interact with these contacts at the CANVAS events. To get in front of all these people without these events would require many hours of calling to make appointments and driving all over two counties, plus San Francisco to meet with them. At a CANVAS event, I can have 3-5 minute conversations with a myriad of potentially valuable contacts and then follow up later with just those are the most compelling for my business. It’s hard to over-state the value of the time this saves me.

My membership with CANVAS is probably the best return I get for the money spent. I would recommend it emphatically for any hospitality-oriented business that recognizes the power of personal connections in this market.

~Don Rickard, Platypus Tours Limited

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