My displeasure with our winery’s website is nearly irrational. It probably is not mocking me by merely existing, but sometimes I feel as if it is.

I love clean design, with declarative text, and buttons that take you exactly where you want to go to do exactly what you came to the website to do. I love verbs; “buy our wine” is more powerful than “our wine,” and “join our wine club” is better than “wine club.”

I got the green light almost a month ago to take on changing our website as I willed, and I immediately arranged to spend time with the person who maintains our website to plan and execute those changes.

One feature I wanted to incorporate was a series of pictures with text overlaid, that would dissolve and be replaced by a different picture/word art panel. The pictures would feature our vineyards or tasting room with the words coming from complimentary quotes from wine writers about our wines.

Before the changes to our website could occur, the art panels and new text buttons needed to be created. I thought I had decent graphic skills, and created six decent panels, but they proved unusable because they were saved in an exotic file extension that the webmaster could not work with.

I was genuinely disappointed, not just because my work couldn’t be used, but because I found there was one more thing I could not do as well as I thought I could. Sadly, the list of things I don’t do as well as I would like continues to grow faster than the list of things I have mastery of.

Two days later, I realized I knew a graphic designer who might be able to help me with my art needs, Art Zadina. It is one thing to know in the abstract that Art has graphic art skills, but when I recently received these art panels, far better than I could have imagined let alone created, I was humbled by his skill. Art intuitively produced art panels better than what I asked for and gave me what I really needed.

Art will be creating text buttons for our website next, and then changes planned can occur. I am genuinely grateful for Art’s help, and wowed beyond expectation at his abilities. If you have a need for a highly skilled graphic designer, contacting Art at artzad@sbcglobal.net works well; he travels often for work and responds from the road when able.

Thanks Art.

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The 20th annual Fall Hopland Passport will be held Saturday, October 22, 2011 and Sunday, October 23, 2011, from 11:00am – 5:00 pm each day.

The theme for the event is “Aged to Perfection” and all 17 Hopland Passport wineries and tasting rooms will be putting their best foot forward with incredible wine specials and delicious food pairings, some wineries will feature tours or barrel tastings, while others host art installations or live music as well.

Tickets for both days are a steal at $45 each (Dry Creek Passport is well over $100), and the folks at Hopland Passport are giving away a pair of tickets free ($90 value) each week for the next six weeks to someone randomly selected from among the folks who “like” the Hopland Passport facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/HoplandPassport

There’s the link, you know what to do. good luck!