Finding The Winery’s Story…Sometimes It’s Simple
When a wine publicist looks over a prospective new client two questions immediately come to mind and need answering: 1) Can I help this winery sell more wine and 2) Does this winery have a compelling story to tell?
Today I’ll be meeting with the owner of a winery that possesses a vineyard that was founded in 1885. That’s right 120 year ago. So, my second question is answered straight away. Both I and the vintner will be looking into the answer of the first question.
It is particularly important for the smallest wineries to have something compelling to say about their business, their wine, their goals. Consider there are nearly 1000 wineries in California alone. The battle to stand out from the crowd, to communicate your uniqueness, your value to the consumer is an ongoing one. Consider further that at small wineries it’s usually the same person who does the winemaking, the marketing and the accounting. You’re lucky if you have a staff of one or two. Often times things like marketing, PR and even sales get lost in the shuffle. That’s where consultants come in.
We specialize in communicating a winery’s story to the various constituencies that need to hear it. You’ve got the retailers, the restaurants, the wholesalers, the media and of course the consumer. Though the winery’s message, it’s story, it’s uniqueness will be pretty much the same no matter who you are communicating it to, the way the message is communicates is largely different….if the communicating is done well.
The very idea of a 120 year old vineyard stops any of these groups in their tracks. This is a property that was begun before the many Civil War Veterans had passed, before the West had been completely tamed…at a time when California viticulture and winemaking was little more than something the missionaries had engaged in. Yea…there’s a story here.
Impressive, yes, but only by California standards. Your post called to mind the lead of a story I wrote in late September 2001 for the Dayton Daily News and which I sneakily recycled on “Uncorked” on Oct. 2 of this year, to wit:
“In California, the current epicenter of American winemaking, a winery with a `long’ history has been making wine since, oh, maybe the 1960s. The really `historical’ wineries date all the way to the 1800s.
Compare that to the Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi winery in Italy, one of the country’s largest wine producers. Its owners trace their family wine history back 700 years, give or take a century. The family archives contain contracts for the purchase of wines signed by King Henry VIII of England. (The fat dude reneged on a loan, too, the archives suggest, but that’s another story. . . .) Frescobaldi today is run by the 30th and 31st generation of the family.
Throughout Italy and France, the story is much the same. You can feel tradition oozing from the 1,000-year-old stone walls of Frescobaldi’s Nipozzano castle in the Tuscan hillsides outside of Florence. You can sense it in the knowing glance between an aging father who has passed his winemaking skills – and duties – on to his son at Chateau Pibarnon in the Bandol region of southern France. You can see it on the historic hillside in Crozes-Hermitage, where a centuries-old, one-person chapel overlooks some of the Rhone’s steepest and most scenic mountain vineyards.”
120 years, huh? (Yawn.) What else ya got?
Off-topic FYI – your XML hasn’t been updated for a while. Still shows Robert Parker as your last post.
Context!! Everything is Context. But…I’ll give you the 700 years thing.
Tom: Okay, I’ll grant you context.
And heck, it DOES make for a great story. And I’m a sucker for one of those — whether it’s 700 years, 120 years or the first darn crop.
Would that Napa winery be V Sattui by any chance?