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Sauvignon Blanc: Through the Eyes of Winemakers

Sauvignon Blanc is having a moment.

In July 2020, Nielsen reported it was the fastest growing wine type with a 38 percent increase in sales. Even before the pandemic, volume was up 8.9 percent in 2019. This can be attributed to a variety of factors like how the grape grows very well in multiple regions, its accessibility around the world, and its range of price points for buyers.

Benson’s press webinar takes place April 22, 2021. To review some materials, view this Dropbox link.

Take it from these winemakers who have mastered the grape’s potential and consistently create standout bottles.

Anthony Beckman, Balletto Vineyards 

Working with 850 acres of estate vineyards at Balletto Vineyards, Anthony Beckman is able to create unique wines specific to the Russian River Valley area. Working there since 2007, he has contributed to much of the vineyard’s success and continues to do so with his approach to winemaking. His philosophy is to let the vineyards authentically speak through the wines to make the statement, “this wine can only be grown and made here.”  

Let the vineyard speak to you through this Sauvignon Blanc: Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County, California – SRP $20 

Elunda Basson

Elunda Basson, Steenberg Vineyards 

An accomplished winemaker and respected specialist in South Africa with more than 20 years of experience, Elunda Basson took her talent to Steenberg Vineyards as Cellarmaster in 2019. The vineyard produces some of the best Sauvignon Blanc wines in the country due to its location in the Constantia area near the ocean and its storied winemaking history dating back to 1682. Under Elunda’s expertise, the wines exhibit freshness, elegance, and finesse.  

Enjoy this unique twist on Sauvignon Blanc: Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, Constantia, South Africa  SRP $18 

Juan Jo VerdinaJuan Jo Verdina, Hahn Family Wines 

Joining Hahn Family Wines in 2002 as part of the cellar team and working toward becoming Winemaker, Juan Jo Verdina knows the wine production of the estate inside and out. He heads the Hahn and Boneshaker brands with Hahn’s portfolio including six varietals and Boneshakers focusing on a robust Lodi Zinfandel from 40-year-old vines. The Hahn Winery Selection Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from a vineyard in Monterey County that experienced a mild vintage resulting in a naturally balanced acidity.  

Taste the Hahn experience with its Sauvignon BancHahn Winery Selection Sauvignon Blanc, Monterey, California​​ – SRP $32 

Rob Takigawa, Tangent Wines  

With 20 years of experience working with Tangent, Rob Takigawa worked his way up starting as a Tank Room Managerthen Assistant winemaker, Winemaker and now, Director of Winemaking. He has grown further knowledge with each passing vintage, learning how to capture Edna Valley’s uniqueness to the rest of California’s growing regions. The Sauvignon Blanc is harvested at different levels to achieve the ideal finish and sourced from a vineyard with Sustainability in Practice Vineyard Certification. 

Try a uniquely Edna Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Tangent Sauvignon Blanc, Edna Valley, California – SRP $17 

 

Linda Trotta, North Coast Winemaker, WX Brands

With 30+ years in the industry, Linda has worked harvests around the world including Italy, South Africa and Chile. One thing she is most proud of in her career is that in her leadership role(s), she mentored and developed talent who have gone on to make their own marks of excellence in winemaking and viticulture. Her Bread & Butter Sauvignon Blanc shines with bright aromas of lemon zest and a hint of tropical fruit. The Silver Spur Lake County Sauvignon Blanc is made from sustainably grown Sauvignon Musque Clone, known for its intensity and array of aromas and notes associated with expressive and fine Sauvignon Blanc.

Silver Spur Lake County Sauvignon Blanc 2019, SRP $18 Wine.com

Bread & Butter Sauvignon Blanc 2019, SRP $16.99 Online shop

 

Celebrating the Women Behind Wine

With each glass selected, we have the opportunity to champion women and the other underrepresented winemakers in our communities.

To celebrate Women’s History Month,  today we spotlighted four spirited women from coveted regions across the U.S. as well as South Africa in a virtual tasting for press. (For some additional background, these stories in Uproxx and News-Press feature women in wine including our clients described below.)

Sharon Fenchak

Sharon Fenchak, Winemaker for Biltmore Wines

Sharon joined the team at Biltmore Wines (you’ll recognize that name from the Biltmore® Estate in Asheville, NC) in 1999 and is Head Winemaker as of 2018. She oversees wine production not only from Biltmore’s estate vineyards in North Carolina, but also with fruit sourced from key growers and partners in prime wine appellations on the west coast as well. In this way, she is crafting a storied wine portfolio for Biltmore to continue the legacy of hospitality set by George Vanderbilt himself. Share in some of this storied Vanderbilt hospitality by enjoying a Biltmore wine with your friends and family! Two wines to try:

Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina 2018, SRP $24

Biltmore Estate American Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, SRP $22

Megan McCullough

Megan McCollough, Winemaker for Smith & Hook, of Hahn Family Wines

Megan McCollough, Winemaker for Smith & Hook, leads Hahn Family Wines’ Central Coast red wines that pay homage to the Hahn family’s first Monterey County properties, known today as the Smith Vineyard and Hook Vineyard. With nearly a decade of winemaking experiences under her belt, McCollough is setting an example for other young women winemakers in California. Try some of her latest reds:

Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, SRP $25

Smith & Hook Proprietary Red Blend 2017, SRP $25

Smith & Hook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, SRP $45

 

Linda Trotta, North Coast Winemaker, WX Brands

Linda Trotta —  With 30+ years in the industry, Linda has worked harvests around the world including Italy, South Africa and Chile. One thing she is most proud of in her career is that in her leadership role(s), she mentored and developed talent who have gone on to make their own marks of excellence in winemaking and viticulture.  In her role with WX Brands, she she has received numerous accolades for her wines, including a Wine Spectator Top 100 selection for her 2018 Reata Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. We recommend:

Reata Sonoma County Chardonnay and Three County Pinot Noir ($25)

Silver Spur Lake County Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ($18)

Silver Spur Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($28)

Elunda Basson

Elunda Basson, Winemaker for Steenberg Vineyards

Steenberg Cellarmaster Elunda Basson is an accomplished winemaker and respected specialist of her craft. She joined South Africa’s Steenberg Vineyards in June 2019 at the pinnacle of an illustrious career spanning more than two decades making still and sparkling wines for leaders in the industry. Located in South Africa’s storied Constantia wine region, Steenberg Vineyards can also boast of being the oldest registered farm in the country, dating to 1682. Today the property thrives under Elunda’s expertise, producing some of the best Sauvignon Blanc wines in the country. Steenberg’s distinctive terroir results in wines exhibiting freshness, elegance and finesse. Alongside Sauvignon Blanc, the vineyards are home to Bordeaux varietals and one of the few investments in Nebbiolo in the Cape area.

Check out this truly unique take on Sauvignon Blanc — traditional method sparkling twist on everyone’s favorite varietal!

NV Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc ($18)

Contact Alex Parker, parker@bensonmarketing.com, to connect with these women and their wines.

Among many other outlets, FirstLeaf (not a client of Benson) featured a blog post in March on women re-imagining the industry.

Positive on Paso: Why you should be looking at Paso Robles for Cabernet Sauvignon

Positive on Paso: Why You Should Look to Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Cab is still ‘king’ in the U.S. wine market, but 2020 has shown it’s time to start looking at the areas these wines come from differently. According to Sovos ShipCompliant data, Cabernet is still the most ordered varietal, but the price per bottle is dropping.

And why is that?

COVID-19 lockdowns drove many people to buy online, and many of those buyers were in the Gen X and Millennial generations, an important demographic for the present and future of the wine industry. Looking for good value in the bottle, they migrated towards Cabernet’s NOT from pricey areas like Napa Valley.

Enter Paso Robles.

This region has long been known as a region that delivers all of the fruit and structure wanted in a Cab for more approachable prices. These are wines to enjoyed with family and friends at any time and not stored away for special occasions. But don’t take our word for it. Explore these Paso Robles clients, their winemakers and wines.

Clockwise from top left: Kip Lorenzetti, Anthony Riboli, Roy Takigawa, Megan McCollough

Megan McCollough, Smith & Hook, Hahn Family Wines
Megan McCollough, Smith & Hook Winemaker, leads Hahn Family Wines’ Central Coast red wines that pay homage to the Hahn family’s first Monterey County properties. With nearly a decade of winemaking experiences under her belt, McCollough is setting an example for other young winemakers in California. Try one of her latest wines from Paso Robles: Smith & Hook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $45

Kip Lorenzetti, Chronic Cellars
Kip Lorenzetti’s winemaking career has taken him around the world, but he has called Paso Robles home for more than five years. Prior to Chronic Cellars, he was the winemaker at Wild Horse Winery & Vineyard, a pioneer in the Paso Robles area. It is the mission of Chronic Cellars to bring the nuances of the 11 different sub-AVAs in Paso into its wines. Good wine is in the winery’s bones.
Check out something noble with Chronic Cellars Sir Real Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $15

Rob Takigawa, True Myth
Rob has been making wine in SLO County for over 20 years. Each vintage has furthered his knowledge of growing and making excellent wine in Paso Robles. A native of the Central Coast, Rob is a graduate of Cal Poly with a Soil Science Degree. After first understanding the science side of wine, Rob was inspired to get his hands dirty and ventured into the in winemaking side in 1997. From there he has never looked back. Taste his experience in Paso through the latest vintage of True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $24

Anthony Riboli, Highlands 41, Riboli Estates Group
Fourth generation family winemaker Anthony Riboli received his M.S. in Viticulture from the University of California, Davis. Since apprenticing under Michael Weis at Groth in Napa Valley, he has lead winemaking and grape growing for the California portfolio at Riboli Family Wines. Anthony’s foremost goal has been a meticulous focus in the vineyards as well as winemaking at Riboli Family’s state-of-the-art facility in Paso Robles. Start your Paso Robles adventure here: Highlands 41 Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $15

Contact Thea Schlendorf at schlendorf@bensonmarketing.com to connect with these winemakers and their wines.

Chronic Cellars

Chronic Cellars: New Look, Same Attitude

January 26, 2021—Paso Robles, CA—No wallflowers here. Chronic Cellars, the Paso Robles winery known for making seriously good wine for people looking for a dose of adventure, is getting a fresh look for 2021. Inspired by the same disruptive approach to traditional wine culture on which Chronic Cellars was founded, the new package communicates a fresh and imaginative take on what it means to make ‘wines with character.’

Reimagined from the bottle to the capsule, the new look for Chronic Cellars starts with a distinct label on embossed, high quality textured paper that gives the artistic, colorful Chronic Cellars characters their rightful stage below a refined logo. The bottle also gets an attractive upgrade fit for Chronic Cellars’ highly acclaimed wine. An elegant new gray capsule and an updated signature skull icon tops the updated package.

“More than 15 years ago, Chronic Cellars shook up the traditional wine world with bold labels and witty names, while never compromising on wine quality or style,” says Chronic Cellars Winemaker Kip Lorenzetti. “Our new look communicates a continued commitment to that promise we made to our fans all those years ago. Great wine is in our bones.”

The legend of Chronic Cellars dates back to 2004 when founders, Josh and Jake Beckett, combined their winemaking skills with their wit and passion for fun to turn an idea into reality. The brand’s high personality wines garnered both critical acclaim as well as an extremely loyal fan base in the process. In 2020, founding Winemaker Josh Beckett handpicked Winemaker Kip Lorenzetti to carry on the Chronic Cellars mission of creating wines with character that showcase Paso Robles’ unique terroir and infinite possibilities. Today, Kip has completed his first vintage as Chronic Cellars head winemaker working alongside his friend Josh.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled with how the new line up looks,” added Lorenzetti. “It vividly brings to life the outstanding wines we are making and beautifully shares our vision for the uninitiated.”

Chronic Cellars Wines at a Glance: Six Chronic Cellars wines are available nationally at retailers and restaurants across the country and select countries outside the U.S., including the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan.

  • Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise Red Blend: Catch a lucky break with this Zinfandel-dominated blend that bursts with juicy blackberry, dark cherry and enchanting whispers of mocha.
  • Chronic Cellars Sir Real Cabernet Sauvignon: Noble to the core, this Cabernet Sauvignon delivers layers of black fruit, plum, and bright cassis for a balanced mouthfeel.
  • Chronic Cellars Suite Petite Petite Sirah: Impossible to forget, this seductive stunner brings bodacious flavors of bursting blackberries, blueberries, anise and a subtle hint of cacao.
  • Chronic Cellars Sofa King Bueno Red Blend: With wit and confidence for days, this savory blend weaves together a zing of black pepper, luscious black and blue fruits and cool, earthy flavors.
  • NV Spritz & Giggles Sparkling: Spritz your senses with refreshing aromas of citrus blossom and a hint of apple. Then, giggle as crisp effervescence meets notes of ripe peaches and hints of pear.
  • Chronic Cellars Pink Pedals Rosé: Sit back and enjoy the ride with aromas of watermelon and rose petal. Then coast on to flavors of strawberries and a splash of citrus.

Chronic Cellars wines retail from $16.99 to $25.99 and are available at wine retailers nationwide or online at www.chroniccellars.com. Follow Chronic Cellars on Instagram and Facebook.

Press Contact:
Alex Parker
Benson Marketing Group
parker@bensonmarketing.com
707.266.8917

Bread & Butter Wines: Uncomplicating the Category

Bread & Butter Wines Says “Don’t Overthink It”  

In an increasingly complicated world, new 360-degree campaign gives wine lovers the freedom to simply enjoy 

Novato, CA – October 20, 2020 – Life has gotten much more complicated in 2020, and Bread & Butter Wines wants to make it much easier. In a new 360-degree marketing campaign, Bread & Butter has one piece of advice – “Don’t Overthink It.”

Rolling out now, the new campaign juxtaposes complicated life decisions and overworked wine tropes with the simple, reassuring choice of picking up a bottle of Bread & Butter wine.

“It’s time to uncomplicate the category,” said Jeff Ngo, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Bread & Butter Wines. “Bread & Butter’s no-nonsense, stylish package and high-quality wine in the bottle make the portfolio a simple and delicious choice for easygoing enjoyment. No matter the situation, ‘don’t overthink it.’”

Today, Bread & Butter is the fastest growing wine brand in the $12-$15 category*.

“The media plan meets our target audience where they are throughout their day,” added Ngo. “As Bread & Butter rapidly gains in popularity across the country, we created a campaign that speaks to our times as well as a long overdue need to cut through the complicated nature of wine.”

Since its introduction, Bread & Butter Wines, with its elegantly straightforward black and white label and memorably easy name, has developed a loyal consumer following who return to the brand again and again because of its high quality, classically styled California wine. The Bread & Butter portfolio includes wine for all occasions – a juicy Pinot Noir, rich Chardonnay, robust Cabernet Sauvignon, vibrant Sauvignon Blanc, and refreshing Rosé. Bread & Butter is sold at wine retailers across the country and online at www.breadandbutterwines.com.

* (Nielsen Total U.S. Food: latest 26 weeks ending 9.5.20).

Wine Marketing Interview Title Slide

Pivoting and Re-imagining Wine Marketing: Digital, DTC and PR Winery Marketing During COVID-19

Back in spring we published a blog on how winery marketing can pivot to adapt to changes wrought by COVID-19. Like you, we wondered which adaptations in DTC and 3-tier sales, trade education, PR and social media marketing would stick after COVID influences lessen.

But rather than pivoting, shouldn’t we also be re-imagining these strategies? Rather than “only” moving some marketing actions online, shouldn’t we also re-think end results and then back into new ways of achieving our goals?

Changing your point-of-view opens vast new possibilities.

For some perspective we asked Jeff Ngo, Senior Vice President Marketing at WX Brands to weigh in on this topic. During this mid-August 2020 interview, Jeff identifies areas that WX Brands and others are pivoting to and re-imagining for a post-COVID world — what will stay, and what will go?

 

Jeff Ngo, Senior Vice President, Marketing, WX Brands

Jeff Ngo, SVP Marketing, WX Brands

 

Here are some shifts we’re making at Benson:

More Comprehensive Story Pitches: Take the full story to them. With myriad restrictions on travel, we’re providing our network of journalist contacts with a much richer set of resources than pre-COVID. Zoom calls are fine for some occasions, but we’re also building more robust, multi-media ‘packages’ of stories, anchored with prerecorded and live winemaker Q&As and tastings. Our colleague, Sarah Jones Gillihan, covered this topic in an interview conducted by Stacey Briscoe for the Wine Industry Network.

Broadening DTC Wine Symposium’s Benefits: Rather than just porting the Symposium’s program online, the Steering Committee and Benson team are re-imagining how to broaden the conference’s educational scope, part of its mission. Previously, many DTC managers didn’t have the budget or time for a 2-day conference. But a virtual conference can certainly achieve our twin goals of providing a robust, practical educational conference while raising funds for Free the Grapes!

Stay tuned for more exciting news this fall. www.dtcwinesymposium.com.

Advertising that Drives Retail Sales: We’re expanding social platform advertising to drive more consumer sales at our client’s retail partners, not just winery DTC sales. More consumers now are enjoying the convenience of receiving wines directly from retailers, and digital ads are a cost-effective way to reach them.  And yes, we need to cite multiple retailers to stay within tied-house laws.

 

Related Posts:

Wine Digital Marketing Post-Covid: https://bensonmarketing.com/wine-digital-marketing-post-covid/

Rethinking Marketing Budgeting, Part 2: https://bensonmarketing.com/rethinking-marketing-budgeting-part-2/

NEW RELEASE: Bread & Butter Wines Introduces Sauvignon Blanc

Novato, CA — June 29, 2020 – Bread & Butter Wines, one of the fastest growing brands in the super premium wine segment in the US, announces the addition of Bread & Butter Sauvignon Blanc to its lineup of much loved, award-winning wines. Featuring the striking black and white label, the new Bread & Butter Sauvignon Blanc delivers the same quality and approachable wine style as the rest of the Bread & Butter portfolio. This Sauvignon Blanc joins Bread & Butter Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Rosé.

Bread & Butter Sauvignon Blanc at a Glance

This refreshing and lively Sauvignon Blanc showcases aromatics of citrus with hints of peach and honeysuckle. The bright profile enters your palate with crisp flavors of lime, lemongrass and melon. Perfect for summer, Bread & Butter Sauvignon Blanc is topped with an easy to open screwcap closure.
• Appellation: North Coast AVA
• Debut Vintage: 2019
• ABV: 13%
• SRP: $14.99
• Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc

Since their introduction, Bread & Butter wines have developed a loyal consumer following. Today, Bread & Butter is the 4th fastest growing brand in the top 100 at +45% in dollar volume in the latest 26 weeks. In the $12-14.99 category, Bread & Butter Pinot Noir ranks #1 and continues to grow at +45%. Also in the $12-$14.99 category, Bread & Butter Chardonnay ranks #4 and growing at +25%, and Cabernet Sauvignon ranks #8 in the category and growing at +74%. Source: Nielsen, TTL US Food, Drug, Liquor, Latest 26 weeks, W/E 5.16.20.

Bread & Butter wines can be found at wine retailers across the country or purchased online from the company’s newly revamped website. www.breadandbutterwines.com

About Bread & Butter Wines

Bread & Butter Wines are trusted California wines crafted to be easy-going and approachable, able to complement everyday occasions all year long, pairing well with the moments you love. Bread & Butter Wines includes a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Rosé. Bread & Butter wines are priced at $12- $15.99 and are available wine retailers across the country and online at www.breadandbutterwines.com.

Bread & Butter Wines are part of the WX Brands portfolio of nationally-available wine brands which also includes the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards portfolio (Double Lariat, Reata, Silver Spur, Whiplash, and Light Horse), Baileyana portfolio (Baileyana, True Myth, Tangent, and Zocker), Chronic Cellars, Jelly Jar, Our Daily Wines, and Reckless Love Wines. Established in 1999, WX Brands is currently a top 15 wine company (Source: Wine Business, Feb 2020). www.wxbrands.com

Baileyana Portfolio Joins Benson

Benson’s PR engagement with WX Brands, a top 20 U.S. wine company, has expanded to include the 100,000+ case portfolio of wines from the Niven family, widely considered as the pioneers of the Edna Valley AVA. In January, WX Brands announced the purchase of the portfolio, including True Myth, Tangent, Baileyana, and Zocker.

These additional wineries join Benson’s national PR campaign for current client, WX Brands: Bread & Butter Wines, the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards portfolio (Double Lariat, Reata, Silver Spur, Whiplash and Light Horse), Chronic Cellars, Our Daily Wines, Jelly Jar, and Reckless Love Wines.

From the Acquisition Press Release

“The Niven family has farmed in Edna Valley for more than 40 years. Their understanding and love of the region is reflected in the wines they produce,” said WX Brands President and CEO Peter Byck. “With their quality, regional focus, and price segments, this collection of consumer and trade favorites fits perfectly into our existing portfolio of nationally distributed wines. WX Brands is proud to carry on the Niven legacy.”

The Niven family developed a diverse portfolio of wine that focused on exploring the endless potential of Edna Valley and the Central Coast and in the process established the region as a credible and highly-sought-after source for cool-climate grape varieties.

  • Baileyana was founded more than 30 years ago to reflect the best of cool climate varietals. Refined, rich, and balanced, Baileyana wines exhibit the best of Edna Valley’s unique climates. (Price range: $25-50)
  • True Myth takes advantage of the rich and fertile soils of California’s Central Coast. The wines embrace the best of San Luis Obispo County – Chardonnay from the cool ocean influenced Edna Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon from the rugged terrain of Paso Robles. (Price range: $18-55)
  • Tangent wines explore cool climate, alternative white wines from Edna Valley, the coolest AVA in California. The focus is on fresh, easy-drinking white wines that are extremely food friendly. (Price range: $17-32)
  • Zocker means ‘gambler’ in German. The Niven family took a gamble that Edna Valley could produce Grüner Veltliner and the result is a food-friendly wine worthy of a gamble. (Price: $20)