Sonoma County Wines Gets a Face Lift
You wouldn’t think that the organization representing Sonoma County’s winemakers would need a face lift or a revamping. The vineyards, wines and wineries that live in this region are among the most famous in the world.
Yet, that’s what’s happening. Formerly known as the Sonoma County Wineries Association, the promotional organization charged with raising the profile of the County’s wines is changing its name, updating the website, debuting a new logo and embarking on a promotional push. The organization will now be known as "Sonoma County Vintners". Under the direction of president Christine Hanna, owner of Alexander Valley’s Hanna Winery and one of the sharpest vintners in the County, the organization will begin to raise its and its members profile
This is an odd venture, if you ask me. The idea of promoting the wines of "Sonoma County" can’t mean talking about wines that carry the "Sonoma County" appellation. Such as wine would have little connection to any terroir associated with such a HUGE area. Furthermore, to promote wines that carry the "Sonoma County" name on the label would disregard the vintners (the majority of the quality oriented vintners) who choose instead to put a more detailed Sonoma County appellation on their label such as "Russian River Valley", "Sonoma Valley", "Green Valley" or "Dry Creek Valley," just to name a few.
For reasons having more to do with misunderstanding than understanding, "Sonoma County" is better known among consumers than are the appellations within the county. While it will be nice for appellation oriented wineries to get promotional help from the County Vintner organization I suspect that the individual appellation organizations such as "Sonoma Valley Vintners Alliance" and "Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley" can do a better job of promoting the quality and character of their wines.
The new "Sonoma County Vintners" organization would be better off promoting tourism to the County’s wineries and wine regions. This is where this organization could really shine and really pay dividends to its members.
But I don’t think that will happen. There is a great deal invested in the County-wide organization that dates back many years and represents the views of many long time members.
Still, they should consider this route. It’s the best way to go in this era where appellations mean "smaller is better".