Check Out Carpe Vino’s New Web Site Design

After 10 years of service, we have retired Carpe Vino’s web site design and launched an entirely new format, one that is sleek and easily navigable that ties seamlessly to the look and feel of our online store. The new site had a soft launch on our 10th anniversary, August 15, and it will continue to be tweaked over the coming weeks.

“We’ve updated our original site many times,” said co-owner Drew Moffat, “But as our first decade ended, we decided to do a wholesale re-design to create a more contemporary look and feel.” Check out the new site at www.carpevinoauburn.com.

The first thing you will notice is a new, dramatic approach utilizing rotating banners with beautiful photography and graphics that seem to pop off the screen. On the left are two tiers of wine bottles representing our “Best Sellers” of the previous week and “New Arrivals” from the last seven days. On the right is a bold listing of “Breaking News and Events”. The “Hang Time” column now anchors the bottom of the page.

A navigation bar with pull-down menus at the top of the page makes it easy to do anything from make a reservation to inspect our current menu. You can also go directly to our new “Digital Wine List” that help earn Carpe Vino an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine.

And visitors always have instant access to our location, hours and OpenTable reservations through a pop-up tab that is always at the bottom of the page.

It is easy to purchase wine, too, but clicking on the “Buy Wine” button at the top of the page, which instantly transports visitors to our online store. The site is rich with ever-changing content and we hope you’ll stop by often to see what’s new.

The projected was conceived and managed by Drew; a huge thanks to our Webmaster Chris Tandoc and our long-distance web/database guru, Michael Matthew.

Gary presents Carpe Vino's Most Valuable Employee Award to Chef Eric Alexander

Anniversary Celebration Ends with Staff Party

Here's to the next ten years.

Wow, it’s finally over. . .10 days of wine deals, parties and non-stop action to celebrate Carpe Vino’s 10th anniversary in Old Town Auburn. I, for one, am gratified that it is over, but I have to say the highlight for me was our staff party on Saturday evening following our giant “Wine Thing” tasting and sale. We all rallied in the garden behind Carpe Vino and, for the first time in a long time, had the opportunity to simply relax as a group.

Of course our kitchen staff did not want to cook for a crowd of nearly 50 people—all employees and their families—so we invited Scott Thorson of Bella Familia Wood-Fired Pizza to park his mobile oven behind the shop and do the honors. His crew—which can be found most Saturdays at the Auburn Farmers’ Market—produced artisan pizza non-stop for at least two hours. What a glorious feast, when paired with giant bowls of Cesar salad, faro salad and smoked ribs prepared by our staff.

It was my pleasure to award Chef Eric Alexander with Most Valuable Employee honors, along with a token of our appreciation. Then, we awarded seven employees and one consultant with five-year pins designed, cast and fabricated by staff of Sierra Moon Goldsmiths, owned by John Lynch and Linda Pierce, our neighbors in Old Town. The sterling silver pins feature a stylized CV monogram with five tiny, inset rubies.

Recipients were Eric Alexander, Paul Roosen, Ada Campos-Suttclife, Beth White, Demetrio Arellano, Jana Kosmata, Linda Moffat and our webmaster, Chris Tandoc.

And then as a gift to Drew to recognize his 10 years of helping to build our business, I gave him a set of beautiful sterling silver cuff links, the same design as the five-year pins only larger with 10 tiny diamonds.

Oh, and I had a set made for me, too.

Our thanks to everyone—customers, staff and vendors—for helping make our celebration the greatest ever. Now, let’s just move on!

DAY 9: $50 Gift Card Déjà vu All Over Again

Here’s a real shocker: The most popular deal during our 10-day daily anniversary celebration was last Thursday when we offered our $50 gift card for $40, equivalent to a 20% discount on “purchasing” cash. So many people took advantage of this one-day-only deal that we actually ran out of gift card blanks.

Well, we’re no fools, so we’re going to run this promotion one more time, for Today and Today Only (August 16, 2012), you can purchase a $50 gift card for just $40. and with this deal, there is a strict limit of three cards per family.

Carpe Vino Gift Cards are exactly the same as cash, so use yours for any purchase . . .on wine or in the restaurant. There are no exclusions and these gift cards will never expire. They’re good till the sun burns out.

There is one rub. . .when you take advantage of this offer, we will bill your credit card and then mail your gift cards when our new supply arrives. We’re estimating they will be here in about two weeks.

Take advantage of this very sweet offer. Friday is too late. . .and if you miss this deal, well. . .sorry!

Anniversary Week Ends Saturday with “Wine Thing”

We’re packing in a ton of events to celebrate our 10th anniversary, but the big event—our “closing ceremony” of sorts—is rolling out “Wine Thing” on Saturday from noon until 3 p.m. Our goal this week has been to recognize the people and factors that have helped put Carpe Vino on the map, and Wine Thing is our signature wine tasting.

Jack Arns, flanked by Gary and Drew, was honored last Thursday evening as the first inductee into the Carpe Vino Hall of Fame. The wine bar was packed with friends who all agreed: no one was more deserving of the recognition than Jack Arns, whose name is now immortalized on a brass plaque affixed to a bar stool.

We normally host a single Wine Thing each year, always at the end of January or early February. We invite our best distributors and brokers to pour a variety of wines, in terms of varietals, wine regions and price points.

Typically, we open more than 75 bottles, serve palate refreshers and offer discounts ranging up to 24% when you purchase at least two cases, mix & match. This formula has worked brilliantly over the years, introducing new wines into the shop and offering up big savings for customers.

Free Admission When You Join the Wine Club

If you are not a Wine Club member, now is the best time to join. Admission to Wine Thing is $25 per person, but if you join now, you and a guest get in for a free, a savings of $50. Also, wine club members can enter the building at noon; all other guests are invited to join us at 1 p.m.

It does not cost anything to join, and you can cancel at any time. There are many club options in wine selections and cost; just click here for details.

We’ve got some fabulous wines being poured Saturday, so come out and enjoy our final event of the week!

Note: the restaurant will be closed Saturday night. Immediately following the tasting, we’ll be setting up for a staff-only party, so we will not be open for dinner service.

Join us for Champagne & Cupcakes on Wednesday

Carpe Vino opened its doors for the first time on August 15, 2002, so that makes this Wednesday the actual date of our 10th anniversary. We’re popping the corks on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. to celebrate this milestone, and everyone is invited. If you are in the building. . .in the restaurant or the bar. . .we’ll be serving complimentary glasses of sparkling wine and artisan cupcakes.

So come and join us so Drew and I can thank you personally for all of your support and encouragement over the past decade. It’s been a real education for us, but the most important thing we have learned is our success is based on making sure that everything we do revolves around making our customers happy. It’s all about you!

We’re Now Open Sundays and Tuesdays for Dinner

Our new business hours are now in full operation. The wine shop is now open Sundays from noon until 5 p.m. Stop by and pick up your wine club shipments or a bottle for dinner. You can also join us for a glass of wine at the bar and a limited selection of appetizers will be available for purchase.

And now we’re open for dinner five nights each week, Tuesday through Saturday. Full menu is available each evening starting at 5 p.m. Now you can getcha some Carpe just about anytime you want!

Reminder: We’re Closed for a Private Party on Friday, 8/17, Closing for the Day at 4 p.m.

If You Just Can’t Make it to the Famers’ Market. . .

. . .then visit Carpe Vino all this week when Placer farmers are in da house.

Dan Macon of Flying Mule Farms helps a customer at a recent Farmers Market event. He'll be in da house this week at Carpe Vino.

As many readers are aware, Chef Alexander sources as much produce and meat products locally as he is able. We take great pride in participating in the sustainable food chain of Placer County, and that means the Chef visits the market virtually every week. And he’d better, because our former co-chef, Courtney McDonald, manages the Auburn market every Saturday.

A different farmer will be joining us for dinner each night, Tuesday through Thursday, and everyone will be delighted to chat with their fellow diners about their farms and what is currently in season. So, don’t be bashful!

Here’s the schedule:

Tuesday: Lisa and Steve Pilz of Pilz Produce. . .featuring watermelon on our menu.

Wednesday: Dan Macon of Flying Mule Farm. . .featuring Argentinian sausage.

Thursday: Eric Hansen of Pine Hill Orchard. . .featuring peaches and pluots

We Have a 10-Year Bromance with Mt. Vernon Winery

Back in the early days when we were just getting our business off the ground, we were among the earliest pioneers in developing a wine industry in Placer County. At that time, people were starting to see the potential for winemaking in the region, and a few were already in business, with more planting vineyards and others refining their skills as home winemakers.

Long-time friends of Carpe Vino, Mt. Vernon Winery's Ryan and Jim Taylor, will be pouring at Carpe Vino on Thursday night starting at 6 p.m.

But it was Mt. Vernon Winery, owned by Jim, Lynda and Ryan Taylor, that took the plunge by opening the first winery with a tasting room in Placer County. . .since before Prohibition, if any actually even existed then. The tasting room opened just outside of Auburn on Mt. Vernon Rd. in July 2002, a month before Care Vino.

I formed a quick friendship with Jim as we both tried to get our respective businesses off the ground. We cooperated closely, and there is no question that of all the wineries in the Sierra foothills, we’ve sold more Mt. Vernon wine than any other label.

Our businesses had much in common other than just wine. Both were bootstrapped, family operations . . .Jim’s son Ryan, now the winemaker for Mt. Vernon, was instrumental in helping build the infrastructure, as was my son, Drew, who now runs our business. We had to figure out how to sell wine, attract customers, deal with government regulations and cash-flow issues. Basically, we had to figure out how to survive until we got traction.

In the early days we spent a lot of time together, especially on Thursdays for lunch at the winery with other gear heads. Everyone would bring a bottle of wine and we have lunch and kibitz for an hour or so and then get back to work. It was great therapy, even though we didn’t accomplish much during the post-lunch afternoons.

It was a pretty cool match-up of two fathers and sons working together, learning together and, romancing wine together. Though because our businesses have changed so much over the intervening years, we don’t see as much of Jim and Ryan as we used to, nothing can diminish a true bromance.

To celebrate our friendship, we’re hosting Mt. Vernon Winery for a tasting at Carpe Vino on Thursday evening starting at 6:30 p.m. Jim and Ryan will be pouring a selection of their current vintages. Cost is $10 per person; free for wine club members.

We Could be First with Kindle-Powered Wine List

What makes a digitized wine list possible for Carpe Vino is the launch of the Kindle Fire, the smaller of the two tablets shown here. The iPad pricing is as large as its surface area, more than double a Kindle Fire.

What makes a digitized wine list possible for Carpe Vino is the launch of the Kindle Fire, the smaller of the two tablets shown here. The iPad pricing is as large as its surface area, more than double a Kindle Fire.

A wine shop and restaurant of our size just shouldn’t be on the bleeding edge of technology. . .but we are. Case in point is our latest advance: starting March 1, we will present our Restaurant Wine List on a Kindle Fire-powered platform. The list consists of more than 250 selections and represents about half of our total offerings in the store.

A bit of background:

Our ability to present our wine list on a Kindle Fire is a complex endeavor that dates back seven years to our very first investment in technology when we installed a computerized Point of Sales system, essentially a database of our entire inventory with a companion database of all of our clients. With this system we can, in real time, manage and market our business through a concise knowledge of what we have in stock and who is purchasing our products.

The next step in our evolution was launching an online store when Drew spearheaded the project to link our new shopping cart to our POS system. We effectively display selected inventory on the cart, complete with price, tasting notes and bottle shot.

The final challenge was to present our wine list on a Kindle Fire, and we accomplished this by mirroring content from our online store. Data is dumped into a new format created for the list and it is updated automatically four times each day so that as we sell out or add wines, these changes are reflected on the Wine List.

Drew has worked for more than a year with a Texas-based consultant (thanks for hooking us up, Ron Hart!) and our webmaster, Chris Tandoc, to put together all of the pieces of this very complex project—part database, part Internet, part design and all old-fashioned hard work.

Here's a screen shot of the new digitized Carpe Vino Wine List. Delivered via Kindle Fire tablet, the new list will be available in the restaurant starting March 1 (we hope!).

We expect to meet our deadline and have four Kindle-Fire tablets available for use in the shop to start. The Wine List features a navigation bar on the left broken down by varietal and region. Customers can also simply scroll through the entire list. Each entry features the name of the wine, vintage, appellation and price. If there is a six-bottle deal available, this is noted, along with any scores awarded by The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator or the Wine Enthusiast.

Since the entire list is linked to the Internet and locked to our web site, users can get more information by clicking on individual wines to obtain tasting notes and a bottle shot. The only issue we’re concerned about is that once people get a Kindle Fire in their hands, they’re not going to want to give it up.

One huge residual benefit is that we decided to apply to become a Wine Spectator Restaurant Award recipient, a designation granted to fewer than 4,000 restaurants worldwide whose lists meet exacting standards. We have not applied in the past because other than our by-the-glass wine list, we have not had a formal presentation of what we have to offer. Our new Kindle approach changes everything.

What really made this new advance possible for Carpe Vino was the launch of the Internet-based Kindle Fire, which retails for $199. When the Apple iPad was introduced several years ago, we fantasized about using one of the new vendors creating programs for the tablet, but the cost was prohibitive. Basic iPads cost $500 each, plus programming and database management. With our system, we’re getting into the game at a fraction of the cost of going with iPads.

The very cool thing is, however, anyone with an iPad or a computer will be able to access the list, so our customers can peruse the wine list at home before they come for dinner. The list will not be password protected. . .we want everyone to be able to take a look at what we have to offer.

Get the Party Started: 10 Days of Deals & Fun

One skill we’ve perfected over the past 10 years is how to party. . .and our personal celebration has something for everyone. . .from daily deals to $10 wine and apps to special events over 10 days, from August 9 to 18. Click here for a complete, day-by-day schedule.

Here are some of the highlights: On August 9th we’ll induct one of our most loyal customers into the Carpe Vino Hall of Fame; we’ll reveal that person’s name next week. We’ll also be honoring one of our own as Most Valuable Employee on August 10th.

Join us on August 15th, the actual date of our anniversary, for some bubbly and cupcakes. Everyone in the building at 7 p.m. will receive a glass of sparkling wine and an artisan cupcake. Then on August 18th, we’ll be running a special edition of “Wine Thing,” from noon until 3 p.m.

Every day during the celebration, Chef Alexander will prepare anniversary-week appetizers for just $10 each, and Drew will select a premium red and white available for $10 per glass.

We hope everyone has the opportunity to join us!

More information
Carpe Vino (Find Us) 1568 Lincoln Way Auburn, CA 95603
Phone Number: 530-823-0320
Get Directions to Carpe Vino
Retail/Wine Bar Hours Tuesday - Saturday
Noon - 10:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Dining Hours Tuesday - Saturday
5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Make A Reservation Guests must be 21 years of age or older.
Reservations are suggested for preferred seating, especially on weekends.