Benson Adds Six New Clients, New Staff, in Q116

March 30, 2016, Napa, CA  –   Benson Marketing Group, a leading wine and spirits marketing agency with offices in Napa Valley, New York and Lyon, has added to its U.S. team and roster of clients in both the U.S. and France.  “We are seeing a strong uptick in marketing investment that reflects the global competitiveness of our industry,” said Jeremy Benson, president. “More clients want a sharply defined brand story, and consumer campaigns that drive both DTC and 3-tier sales.”

In the U.S., Benson is now working with Terlato Wines. Activities include brand messaging and PR support for two wineries: Chimney Rock Winery (www.chimneyrock.com), one of the elite Cabernet Sauvignon specialists in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley; and Sanford Winery (www.sanfordwinery.com), home to one of California’s most iconic vineyards, Sanford & Benedict, in the Santa Rita Hills AVA.

Last month, Benson began managing social media for the Napa Valley gem, Frank Family Vineyards, which just won its 7th consecutive annual “Bay Area A-List’s Best Napa Winery” award. www.frankfamilyvineyards.com  Also last month, Benson created a launch campaign for Barton & Guestier’s Passeport Bordeaux by Laurent Prada, an elegant and affordable classic Bordeaux ($12) from this venerable French wine house. www.bartonguestier.com  (Two additional new U.S. clients remain confidential.)

Additionally, Benson’s French office has begun working with Famille Fabre, a family-owned wine company dating back to 1605 which now includes four chateaux in Languedoc. Today, the new generation is proud to continue the story with a complete range of organic wines from AOP Corbières, AOP Corbières-Boutenac and IGP Pays. (www.famillefabre.com)

Finally, Benson added two new staff members in March: Megan Helphand and Alisa Langer in the agency’s Napa and New York offices, respectively.  Megan brings public relations and trade events experience from Francis Ford Coppola Winery.  Formerly with Ruder Finn PR in New York, Alisa’s experience includes L’Oreal Paris, McDonalds and Novartis.

From Portugal and Spain, to California and France, Benson Adds to its Team with $2 million in New Wine Marketing Campaigns

July 14, 2015, Napa, CA –
Benson Marketing Group, a leading wine and spirits marketing agency with offices in Napa, New York and Lyon, has added to its team with the addition of $2 million in new projects and clients.

“Our clients’ sales figures best demonstrate our ability to integrate marketing and sales functions into cohesive campaigns,” said Jeremy Benson, president. “We believe the industry is increasingly recognizing that integrated campaigns help them break through the clutter.”

New client and projects starting this spring include:

  • Gil Family Estates: One of Spain’s leading family-owned and operated wine companies hired Benson to promote its portfolio of nine bodegas ranging from their home base D.O. of Jumilla to Calatayud, Montsant, Rueda, Toro, and others. GFE’s strikingly modern packaging and amazing quality bode well for U.S. wine lovers.
  • Vinho Verde: Benson has begun work on a new, 3-year sales and marketing campaign that complements its current U.S. campaign. The U.S. is Vinho Verde’s top export market. “Now that we have established a strong foundation in the U.S., we are committed to supporting our producers in the marketplace and strengthening the relationship we’ve built with consumers,” said Carla Cunha, Marketing Director of the Commissão de Viticultura da Região Vinhos Verde.
  • Balletto Vineyards: A family-owned winery, and one of the few estate grown and bottled wines in Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyards tapped Benson to help promote its twin specialties: Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
  • Domaine Yves Leccia: Benson’s team in Lyon is creating brand messaging and conducting a PR program in France for this Corsican winery, a reference point for AOP Patrimonio.
  • Inter Beaujolais:Back in the U.S., Benson has begun an exciting sales education and trade activation campaign exclusively promoting AOP Beaujolais Villages.
  • Les Dauphins: Benson is introducing these Rhône Valley wines in the U.S. after their successful European launch in 2012. Les Dauphins draws inspiration from the joie de vivre mood of Paris in the roaring 1920s, when wines of the Dauphiné region in the Rhône Valley became popular.

In March, Aleta La Borie joined Benson’s New York office. A specialist in trade programming, Aleta’s experience includes sales activations and brand management with Remy Cointreau, Diageo and WJ Deutsch & Sons. Prior to that she launched Napa Valley luxe winery, Darioush, as its GM, and managed design projects at HKA in San Francisco. Adrienne Stillman joined Benson’s Napa office last winter to work on social and digital campaigns as well as content marketing programs. Prior to joining Benson, Adrienne co-founded Dipsology, a guide to great cocktail drinking in New York. The agency continues to seek more talent, particularly in its New York office.

Benson France tapped by Domaine Yves Leccia from Corsica

May 1, 2015, Lyon, France – Benson’s team in Lyon has been hired to create a brand messaging plan and to conduct PR in France for Corsica’s Domaine Yves Leccia. The winery, founded in 2004 by Yves and Sandrine Leccia, is a reference winery for AOP Patrimonio; it is the only winery producing from the extraordinary terroir of E Croce. Yves Leccia has been a winegrower in Corsica for the past 30 years, and the wines are imported into the U.S. by Kermit Lynch.

The Rhone Valley comes to the North of France

On April 20th, Benson’s Lyon team organized a professional tasting for members of Rhône Vignobles, a collective of winegrowers from France’s Rhône Valley, in the village of Touquet-Paris-Plage in the North of France. The winegrowers were there to present their current vintage to local trade.

Around a colorful buffet prepared by chef Fabrice Gardin of Le Picardy restaurant, wine professionals and journalists from Nord-Pas-De-Calais, Belgium and the UK tasted wines from the 14 winegrowers. It was a unique opportunity to share the wines of the Rhône Valley with restauranteurs, sommeliers and retail shop owners who are not often able to travel to the region themselves.

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Spain’s Gil Family Estate Joins Benson Roster

April 15, 2015, Napa, CA – One of Spain’s leading family-owned and operated wine companies has tapped Benson for positioning strategy and PR for its growing portfolio of wines. GFE owns and manages nine bodegas ranging from their home base D.O. of Jumilla to Calatayud, Montsant, Rueda, Toro, and others. Perhaps best known for its Juan Gil Silver Label and the coveted El Nido wines, GFE’s strikingly modern packaging and amazing quality at the super premium to luxury price ranges bode well for U.S. wine lovers. The family is known for savvy investments in promising D.O.s and using indigenous varietals to raise the profile of these D.O.s.

Bye bye Paris, bonjour Lyon!

March 9, 2015, Napa, CA – Today we are moving our French office from Paris to France’s capital of gastronomy, Lyon. While Paris is less than 2 hours away by TGV, the move to Lyon brings us closer to our clients in Burgundy, Beaujolais, Rhône Valley and Languedoc.

Lyon is France’s third largest city and its second largest metropolitan area. It is a hub for economic innovation, especially in software and biotech. More importantly for Benson, it has a more edgy, vibrant wine, food and spirits scene. And as the capital of the Rhône-Alpes region, some are predicting it will be France’s top oenotourisme destination by 2025.

LaBorie Joins Benson New York Office

March 1, 2015, New York, NY – Aleta La Borie has joined Benson’s New York office to work on trade promotion strategy and sales activations for the agency’s client roster. A specialist in trade programming, Aleta managed sales activations at Remy Cointreau most recently. Prior to that, she has been a brand manager for WJ Deutsch & Sons and Diageo; launched Napa luxe winery, Darioush, as its GM; and managed clients at creative design agency HKA in San Francisco. Aleta will help manage the growing trade promotion practice area. She graduated from New York University.

Putting the Joie in Joie de Vivre

February 1, 2015, Napa, CA – Benson has begun an aggressive introduction campaign for Les Dauphins wines from France’s Rhône Valley. Les Dauphins was introduced in Europe in 2011 where it immediately became a runaway success, selling 200,000 cases last year. Now available in the U.S., Benson is supporting the campaign with in-store tastings, PR and social media. Les Dauphins draws its inspiration from the joie de vivre mood of Paris in the roaring 1920s, a time when the wines of the Dauphiné region became popular. Several of the winegrower partnerships that currently make up Les Dauphins Winery (Union des Vignerons des Côtes du Rhône) were also founded in the 1920s.

Stillman Joins Benson Napa Office

January 5, 2014, Napa, CA – Adrienne Stillman joined Benson to work on strategy and execution of digital campaigns and social media programs for the agency’s brand and regional clients. Adrienne is a certified sommelier and, prior to joining Benson, co-founded the Dipsology.com spirits blog in New York. A native New Yorker, Adrienne previously worked in the communications department of UBS Investment Bank in London and New York. She graduated from Bernard College at Columbia University.

What We Learned at LuxePack New York

What’s hot in cosmetics? Is “anti-packaging” the new definition of “luxury?”  How are retailer and consumer demographics trends shaping a spirits bottle?

LuxePack NYWe were grappling with these questions — along with thousands of designers, suppliers and marketers of every stripe who descended on New York’s Pier 92 for LuxePack NYC on May 14, 2015.

Jeremy Benson moderated the conference’s only wine and spirits panel, along with Umberto Luchini (CMO, Campari America); Elwyn Gladstone (founder of his new firm, Biggar & Leath, and former SVP of Proximo Spirits); and Jean-Charles Forster, director of sales and marketing for SGP Packaging by Verallia. Here are some key takeaways, in our opinion:

  • There is a rich world of creativity in the bottle shapes, treatments, colors and add-ons in cosmetics that are increasingly inspiring spirits packaging (“A-sort” glass, anyone? It’s the clearest glass often used in high-end cosmetics).
  • Sweeping definitions of “luxury” are invariably useless – one person’s authentic micro-brew package is another person’s Avery label on an overpriced $9 bottle of beer.
  • Wine packaging is boring as compared to many high-end consumer consumable products (but yes, we knew that).
  • For every trend in packaging, there is a counter-trend, so predictions are dangerous.
  • Where to find inspiration? For “place” products, the culture of the people, other categories like olive oil. For easy ideas, cruise eBay.
  • The bottom line for spirits packaging: brand differentiation needs to be crystal clear to consumers in about 3 seconds.
  • Ok, some predictions, from a variety of sources at the event.  “Low tech/hyper local” still has legs.  There is excess demand for craft spirits, but ubiquity will dilute the trend.  Hyper narrow consumer segmentation. Beer will soon have its own “Patron:” a high-price, high-style package. Wine packaging and secondary packaging is ripe for innovation, if it can work around legal and distribution obstacles and prejudices.