Amber Burke

Amber Burke is the founder of Napa Food and Vine, a blog that writes about wine, food and travel.

J.L. Sousa, Register

Writer, photographer and blogger Amber Burke launched her business, napafoodandvine.com, almost two years ago.

The former special events and hospitality planner said that the best part of her job is the people she meets.

“People in wine, food and travel are so kind and gracious to one another,” said Burke.

“They are willing to share. I really like that.”

While Burke does write about other wine areas, 90 percent of her business is focused on the Napa County wine industry, she said.

1. How did you get into this business/industry?

Wine, food and events have been my career. When I retired from a major special events company, my husband and I started collecting wine and focusing ourselves on the beautiful wines and food all around us. It seemed a natural thing to start writing about our experiences.

2. You said napafoodandvine.com gets about 15,000 readers per week. What’s the secret to your success?

You have to work hard with it. You have to sit down and be disciplined—and try and be as honest and as genuine as possible. Not all of (the places we) review are perfect. You have to be authentic. If you’re not authentic, it’s just a paid commercial.

3. What’s a common misconception you get about your work?

That it’s something that is easy to do. You have to be on Instagram, Twitter… People don’t realize how much the social media aspect takes over your life. It’s 24/7.

It’s not a lazy person’s job. It’s so much more work than I ever expected.

4. What’s your least favorite part of your job?

When people try and be pretentious, I don’t like that. Wine should be simple and fun. There is nothing to be pretentious about.

5. What is the biggest challenge your business/industry has faced?

I don’t think that businesses always see bloggers as real press.

I think many of them see social media as a waste of time and energy and will respond to us in a negative way. We are lumped in with all of the selfie-taking poseurs that fill up Instagram.

They don’t see the potential to use bloggers as the social media influencers they really are. It is difficult to gauge R.O.I. (return on investment) and equate those ‘likes’, views, and shares across social media into sales.

It’s all about getting the brand name out there and social media is a cheap, efficient way to do that.

6. Who do you most admire in the business world?

I would have to say Richard Branson of Virgin. He runs his business with amazing ethics and treats his employees and customers with respect.

I follow him on LinkedIn and never cease to be impressed by his philosophy and grace.

7. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

Have our articles published in a newspaper or magazine.

8. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?

In the food world, I’d love to have dinner with Adam Ross from 1313 Main because his food is not only creative and interesting, but he can make a simple pancake or waffle taste amazing.

In the wine world, I’d love to have dinner with Dario Sattui, because he has to be such an interesting and passionate guy to have created Castello di Amorosa.

I think the last one would be Oprah Winfrey as she has had a very interesting life and loves both wine and food.

9. What job would you like to try/not try?

Try: Winemaker.

Not try: Vineyard picker.

10. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

I got my first camera in my life in 2010. I didn’t ever even have a point and shoot before then.

For more info visit napafoodandvine.com.

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Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.