Winegrape Commission Partners on ‘Summertime in a Glass’ Marketing Campaign to Raise Awareness of Sauvignon Blanc Varietal

Susan Stout • Contributing Writer

Kelseyville, CA – While chilly temperatures are a reminder that summer is still a few months away, a new wine-oriented promotion invites adults to experience “Summertime in a Glass.” The Lake County Winegrape Commission is working closely with Bryan Dias, a marketing consultant with Dias Associates Consulting, to launch the marketing campaign focusing on the Sauvignon Blanc varietal.

“Summertime in a Glass” recently was awarded a grant from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to help fund activities of the newly formed advocacy organization. The group was founded with the idea of a campaign to raise awareness for California’s Sauvignon Blanc winegrapes, Dias said.

“Increased competition from foreign producers, such as Chile and New Zealand, coupled with a competitive price point from these areas, has caused strain on California Sauvignon Blanc,” Dias wrote in the grant proposal. “It’s a misunderstood varietal by consumers, often perceived as a ‘food-only’ wine and not a ‘porch’ or ‘cocktail’ wine. Similarly, outside of a few local regions, it is not seen as popular or economically competitive or desirable by wineries. This project seeks to address these issues through education and awareness for California Sauvignon Blanc.”

Lake County has served as a pilot region for the “Summertime in a Glass” campaign, and the Winegrape Commission is committing in-kind support to the promotional effort.

“We are excited to be involved in this project,” said Lake County Winegrape Commission President Debra Sommerfield. “It promises to be beneficial to our Sauvignon Blanc winegrape growers as well as the wine industry as a whole. We are optimistic about the economic benefits to our region and to other California winegrape regions.”

Dias stated, “Though much of our initial focus will be centered on California and Lake County, in particular, it is hoped that the organization and campaign will grow to encompass, support and appeal to a broader world of Sauvignon Blanc.”

“Summertime in a Glass” appeals to both the industry and consumer sides of the product, he said. “We are looking to re-brand the varietal, to get it out there with events, social media, the Internet.”

The three- to five-year plan will use cost-effective marketing, education and outreach programs including electronic media, targeted events and a media campaign, Dias said.

“We will seek to educate consumers about the wine through interesting and useful content, such as wine reviews, food pairing tips and wine enthusiast tailored information about the varietal and its diversity,” Dias wrote in the grant application. “For the wine industry, we will educate wineries on promoting the varietal, differences in style and approach in winemaking and market/industry trends that can be used in business development, planning and strategy. We will also, eventually, seek to raise awareness in non-California wineries about the varietal in order to promote out-of-state sales of Sauvignon Blanc.”

To implement the plan, an advisory board will be formed. Since Lake County is a primary partner in the project, potential board members are sought from the area, said Dias. “We want to work with people who share the vision,” he said. In addition, Dias seeks an intern to assist with the campaign’s promotional activities. A job description is available via the “Summertime in a Glass” web site.

For more information about the campaign, visit the web site, www.SummertimeInAGlass.org.

For additional information about the Lake County Winegrape Commission, visit the agency’s web site at www.lakecountywinegrape.org or call the Commission office, 707-279-2633.

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