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2009-06-10

GREAT WINE, GREAT GRAPES, GREAT TASTING!

Great wine, Great grapes, Great tasting!
Jun 12th, 2009 | By Richard Beaudin | Category: Wine Tasting

Last evening I was fortunate to attend a tasting of Paso Robles wines from Four Vines and J. Dusi Wines in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Bill Grant of Four Vines and Janelle Dusi (wine makers) presented their wines, provided some history and anecdotes about their wines and wineries, and generally interacted very well with an appreciative crowd (over 100 fans).
Four Vines / J Dusi Tasting

Four Vines / J Dusi Tasting

First to the wines. A total of 10 wines were tasted during the event including 9 from Four Vines and 1 from Dusi Wines (see list below). Much of the grapes were sourced from the vineyard itself and the surrounding area in Paso Robles, and the rest from other prime grape growing AVAs in California such as Dry Creek Valley and Russian River.

I can’t say this for every tasting I have been to, but for this one all of the wines tasted (with the exception of the Naked Chardonnay) were full bodied, complex, a virtual (no pun intended) pleasure. This is not to suggest the chardonnay was not well made. Rather, the chardonnay is one of Four Vine’s entry level offerings. It is a very good every day quaffer, but simply did not have the same kind of complexity as the other offerings.

My personal favorites included the Sophisticate, Anarchy, and a very different style but nonetheless very well made, abeit more femine style Zinfandel from J. Dusi Wines. The 2005 FV Zin Port was also really nice with a great balance of sweetness and alcohol, and a mouthfeel and finish that went on and on. Wiht that said, I can say that all of the wines are highly recommended!
Bill Grant & Janelle Dusi

Bill Grant & Janelle Dusi

Besides the tasting itself, both Bill and Janelle got the crowd going with anecdotes about making wines, winery costs, quality, wine storage, and tidbits about the different varietals including of course Zinfandel, but also Syrah, Mourvedre, Petit Syrah, Tempranillo,
Malbec, and Petit Verdot (really enjoyed the Monachy as well, which is a blend of the last three and normally only available at the winery).

However, being a long time marketer I also wanted to take note of the great teamwork that went on to make this event a success. Keeping in mind the current recession, competition continues to be very keen for wineries around the world. There are neary 6,000 bonded wineries alone in the US all competing for shrinking dollars.
Bill Grant (left) & John Hannum

Bill Grant (left) & John Hannum

In order to standout in the crowd, wineries need to provide access to their wines so that avid wine consumers have a chance to try their wines and become loyal fans. That said, having worked in marketing for many years, I was very pleased to see such great cooperation between the wineries (Four Vines and J. Dusi Wines), the distributor (M.S. Walker), and the retailer (Yankee Spirits).

The adage of the evening was “if you can’t get the people to the tasting room, get the tasting room to the people”. In this case, Yankee Spirits advertised the event to their mailing list, which consists of customers of their Sturbridge, Swansea and Attleboro locations. These locations are spread apart, about 2 hours between Swansea and Sturbridge and 1.5 hours from Attleboro to Sturbridge.

This distance would most likely have discouraged some of the participants from attending. However, Yankee Spirits tried something new last night: they offered to bus their customers free of charge from the other locations to Sturbridge. This was a win win for everyone – for the wineries, retailer and distributor it no doubt translated into incremental sales, and for the customers an evening to try some new wines and learn more about the industry.

Bravo to all those involved.

Now .. for the Pièce de résistance !

There is a great deal of buzz today about social media and how wineries can take advantage of it to increase their visability, grow brand recognition, and increase sales. Here is an example of marrying smart traditional marketing and social media: the wineries, distributor and retailer setup and sponsored the event, and now I am taking that event and splashing it through my blog, Twitter, etc.

Social media and net working are not to be feared .. it is simply another set of tools to help connect with your current and prospective customers.

All in all …. Great wine, Great grapes … and a Great tasting!

For more information, visit Four Vines and J. Dusi Wines.

List of wines tasted at event:

2008 Four Vines Naded Chardonnay
2007 Four Vines “Biker”
2007 Four vines “Sophisticate”
2006 Four Vines “Maverick”
2007 Four Vines “Anarchy”
2006 Four Vines “Loco
2007 Four Vines “Peasant”
2006 Four Vines “Monarchy”
2007 J. Dusi Zinfandel
2005 Four Vines Zin Port

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