by Dawn Dolan
According to Karissa Kruse, president of Sonoma County Winegrowers, a shift has happened in the past few years. “Consumers now care about what goes on at a farm level,” she notes. Kruse mentioned that, not that many years ago, it was unique to put the vineyard name on the bottle, but now that is a fairly standard way to give an added marketing benefit to a bottle of wine.
“Vineyard designates are now common, so what are the unique things that happen in your vineyard, and how do you talk about them?”
Marketing your vineyard takes some savvy these days, and all the things you do may make a difference in marketing your product. Thinking of wine grapes as part of the value chain is what Kruse would like grape farmers to ponder. She points out: “When you are the farmer, your name is attached to that fruit.”
Kruse is the moderator for the Standing Out Among the Vines seminar at the North Coast Wine Industry Expo, and helping growers get their stories told is her goal for the session.
“For me, the goal is to empower growers and validate that they are critical, if not the most critical, partners.”
She feels the wineries should take a look at “…how can we be better partners with the growers? We want the consumer to feel interested, both on a county, and on an individual brand level.”
The North Coast Wine Industry Expo Started five years ago to provide North Bay wine grape growers and wineries with an educational opportunity closer to home. Wine Industry Network president George Christie realized that many growers and winery principals in the North Bay would be interested in popping in for a few hours, hit up some seminars on topics of interest, and head back to their work.
“Providing this type of option for them was one of the primary goals in starting the WIN Expo”, Christie said.
For this particular topic on marketing your vineyard, Christie commented: “We wanted to seek out the growers that are doing something different, something that stands out. When a winery needs to drop a grower, we want to know what factors are they weighing when they make a decision on whom to keep?”
He notes that upgraded worker’s amenities and community service programs seem to be components that attract attention.
Both Kruse and Christie hope that hearing what growers are doing that is special and exciting to the consumer will help other grape growers work out how they can stand out among the vines.
The WIN Expo, North Coast Wine Industry Expo, attracts over 90% of its attendees from the North Coast, which includes Contra Costa, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma counties, all coming to keep abreast of industry innovations and trends.
“Our goal is to make the WIN Expo better each year by focusing on topics the most relevant to our North Coast wine grape growers,” said Christie.
The WIN Expo will be held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on December 1, 2016.
WIN EXPO 2016: Standing Out Amongst the Vines: The New Normal in Vineyard Marketing