There are so many aspects of the wine business to enjoy:

  • Growing
  • Producing
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • PR
  • Writing
  • Educating
  • Social Media

The list seems to go on, if just I sit here and conjure up more aspects.

I personally prefer the creative end of writing and photographing. I keep out of the vineyards and the labs, because it’s not my forte. I can’t go into either place and tell anyone what she or he should be doing. I leave those jobs to the experts… That’s why they have those jobs, right?

If you’ve read my blog with any regularity, you’ve surmised that I love to photograph. I’ve been paid for my images since the 1980s.  I know, however, that there are those who run circles around me, because my natural talent comes in communicating. I’ve studied writing, I’ve only experientially learned about photography, having read my manuals cover to cover, since I was 10 and got my first camera. But, I’ve not taken the time to sit through classes. I know I’d enjoy that; I just haven’t slowed down long enough. I’ve found my natural groove, for now.

Who knows, I could grow up some day to be a photographer, but not right now…

When I can’t do justice to what I need photographed, I know I can turn to my friend Lenny Siegel.

I met Lenny when I was working at Belvedere Winery in 1993. He was introduced to me by my neighbor (at the time) Pat Powers. Pat has his own creative design firm, Powers Creative.

Living in wine country, you soon find out that most people are connected to the process in some way, with most links taking us all back to the vines, where it all begins.

I’ve brought many aspects of this business to my wine blog, but I’ve not thought about photographers with any regularity. Just getting an email from Lenny reminded me how important photographers are in any marketing department.

He told me that this year is definitely a game changer for him, and that he’s trying to be more creative. I find that hard to believe, because he’s one of the most creative guys I know. This will be a fun one to watch, because his images are more gorgeous than most.

So… Here’s my Lenny.

His creative approach in visualization is phenomenal. He’s about to celebrate 32 years as a commercial photographer in the wine industry. As one who works closely with the Wine Road (stock images, cookbook shots, etc.), he’s been in the front lines of marketing in the wine industry for a good amount of time. With so many years under his belt as a creative type, he intimately knows how this business has changed immensely over the years, and he’s changed with it.

For a still photographer, he’s watched it mostly converting to web sites and web images for point of sale material, where high resolution isn’t what’s needed. The images shot, however, still need to be shot in high res perfection. If not done this way,  a web site or POS is still going to look like (and be) simplistic material, ruining anyone’s great image.

Lenny also knows how important it is to keep websites fresh. I know of one Website that I can go to right now, and it says, “Summer 2009.” (Oops! This is February 2010.)

It’s vitally important to keep up one’s Website.

Think of it this way… If you walked down 5th Avenue in New York City right now, and the window still had Christmas decorations in it, what would you think about that company?

Websites need to be fresh and new; otherwise, what’s the point of anyone returning? While a vintner may think that we go to his or her site to only buy wine, the reality is that it’s mostly for the public to learn about the winery, wine, and personalities behind the brand… Not necessarily to buy from them with every visit; otherwise, the winery would most likely be sold out.

One of the ways to keep any website fresh and vibrant is to continuously change out images, along with “news” content. Lenny just reminded me that another way to keep your site fresh is to frequently change banners on a homepage.

He gave me a few samples of what he’s done in the past for other clients. In addition, showing bottle samples, instead of just labels on a page, makes for a much more appealing look.

You can check out his website at or his Face Book page at Siegel Photographic, for more samples images.

I haven’t taken time to advocate for too many wine industry photographers. George Rose is another of my favorites, as is Andy Katz. I’m remiss about that. Their images of wine country keep the romance alive, and Lenny’s an amazing resource and friend.

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