Why is Yelp having a party in the caves at Gloria Ferrer today? To celebrate TEN years of Yelp. For those of you unfamiliar, Gloria is a winery in Sonoma, CA specializing in sparkling wines, Pinot noir, and Chardonnay wines. The appellation is Carneros, one of my favorites in either (between) Napa or Sonoma Valleys. Gloria was the first sparkling wine producer in Sonoma Carneros.
Yelp, for those of you who do not know or use it, let me just say this. Yelp began as an email service for business, then moved to social networking. Today, it functions as an online urban guide and business review site. Google failed to buy Yelp in 2009, shortly before Yelp received $130 million in venture capital funding. Yelp began trading publicly in 2012.
Many critics find Yelp’s rating system and tools for filtering reviews to be controversial, to say the least. A recent study by a Harvard professor found that 20% of reviews on Yelp were fake, fake, fake! Yelp was formed by two former PayPal employees, Jeremy Stoppelman, and Russel Simmons. They claim to have founded their company when they could not find online reviews as they searched for a personal physician.
Long story short, Yelp is now a mainstay on the web, with 45% of searches done on a mobile device. It has 132 million visitors each month, and 57 million reviews. Yelp’s revenue comes from selling ads to small businesses. A Harvard study showed that each star in Yelp’s rating system amounted to 5 to 9% change in company sales. Two Berkeley economists found that an increase from 3.5 to 4 stars resulted in a 19% greater chance of the restaurant being booked during peak hours!
We are not here today to discuss the relative merits of Yelp. We are here for a celebration or ten year celebration of Yelp. The visit to Gloria Ferrer is but one of several celebrations that are scheduled for July 31 to August 3. Besides the Gloria Ferrer party, there are sunset cruises, other wine tasting parties, gourmet food tour, brewery tour, miniature golf, kayaking, yoga, and other food and drink events.
So, we are going to meet the Yelpers at Gloria, as we see no valid reason for taking their bus from SF to Gloria and back. We will explore some of Napa and Sonoma’s bike trails to build up a thirst and appetite for today’s festivities. All I know is that all sparkling and snacks are complimentary.
I do have one little question: Who is Gloria Ferrer? Founders and owners, Jose and Gloria Ferrer, 1982, own Freixenet, one of Spain’s primary Cava producers. The winery was named for Jose Ferrer’s wife, Gloria. Production began in 1986, and continues under their direction to this day. So for now, Bonzai!!!!