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missedTargetBasically inseparable, sales & marketing most often seem to completely misunderstand each other.  Marketing, loaded with creative talent, big thinkers and sometimes a budget to back that up, creates tools, information and events that can make or break a brand, a launch, a quarter.  Sales, always on the go, focused on low hanging fruit, relationships and quotas provide the revenue that can make or break the company.  So how can such a close pairing, like steak and cabernet sauvignon, so often be on completely separate, parallel, uncomplimentary tracks with each other?

SAME:

The product

The team/company

The Goal

DIFFERENT:

The job

The how, when, where, who…

The mindset

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Since I worked first in marketing then in sales in the wine industry, I’m currently fascinated with seamlessly tying the two halves together to function as a successful, profitable wine sales & marketing unit.  With input from colleagues and customers, I look forward to a thoughtful and provocative conversation that offers a basic and varied set of solutions here.  Digital marketing, social media and e-commerce have changed the way we shop, buy,  research and share. Internet opportunities, apps and experiments pop up and multiply quickly so I look forward to evaluating them for the wine industry here as well.

Your comments are essential.

Thanks for participating.

PS.   In the series to follow, data from the Forbes article that also referred to sales & marketing as Mars & Venus (an apt comparison) will be posted and referenced with valuable details about marketing lead generation and sales response time.

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WnVCover

A giant thank you to my esteemed colleagues, wine lover bloggers and interested spectators who have watched with interest, fanned up with passion or snickered with disbelief about the “Banned in ‘Bama” issue turned campaign that peaked as the summer was pedaling to its end.

President of Hahn Estates, Bill Leigon, also passes on his gratitude and respect for the online wine media, bloggers and social media he’s praised for years  in the latest Wines and Vines Guest Editorial. It is likely too small to read here…but I wanted you to know what you’re looking for in case you come across it in the industry magazine.

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Another example of social media’s power in action.

Cheers.

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2006 Pinot Noir face

This week while we discuss and discover new technologies in wine marketing  this weekend in Wine Country, California during the Wine Bloggers Conference 2009, in Alabama the Beverage Control Board has ordered all Cycles Gladiator Wines pulled from all markets in the state of Alabama as the label has been deemed “pornographic“.

In 2006, the Cycles Gladiator wine label went through complete label approval on both the federal and Alabama state level, but only now in 2009 is it being questioned:  According to an article released today, July 23, 2009 in Lagniappe online here:

Bill Leigon, president of Hahn Family Wines of Napa Valley, Cal., said the ABC did, in fact, approve the label when the wine came into the market in 2006, but suddenly changed its mind late last year. He said they were unaware of the new ruling until now when it was deemed pornographic. Leigon said this is a new phenomenon for the company, which has sold more than 600,000 cases of Cycles Gladiator across the United States and around the world since 2006. No one else has complained about the label art, he said.

  • For full disclosure, I still work for Hahn Family Wines, owner and winery for Cycles Gladiator Wines.
  • Cycles Gladiator has been a Top 10 Value Brand 2 years in Wine Business Monthly (2006-2008)
  • Cycles Gladiator Wines have been awarded years of Gold Medals throughout the U.S and beyond.
  • Cycles Gladiator Wines have received years of great wine reviews and blog posts: Here (Rick Bakas), Here (Dr.Xeno/WineLog) and Here (Cork’d) among many.
  • Cycles Wine Supports Cyclists in the Sea Otter Classic, Tour of California and LiveStrong among others.
  • The Cycles wine label won an award: The 2006 from the American Graphic Design Award (by GDUSA, which is funny since it is a vintage piece of art from 1895, France).

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It has been centuries that cultures have waged argument and discord over what is art and what is porn.  How bizarre after the musical Hair (40 years ago), the Piss Christ (20 years ago), Robert Mappelthorpe (30-40 years established) and Madonna’s Sex (17 years ago) among a broad cannon of erotic and provocative art that we can not agree to disagree…yet still maintain our democratic values.  But censorship will continue to threaten freedon when politics, morals and religion is in question.  Meanwhile, men and women all over the U.S. are celebrating the freedom of Cycles Gladiator, the bicycle, the human body and a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s raise a glass…Cheers.

CG Metromint shot

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3551197983_34e03c5214_bAn extraordinary Saturday in May in the Santa Lucia Highlands last weekend yielded one delicious afternoon.  With a dozen or so wine and food bloggers, Hahn Estates was the first winery to establish the Bloggers Block, a 1.5 acre plot of vines, planted in part by said bloggers, dedicated to the work, passion and appreciation of the complimentary relationship among these wine lovers.

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Andy Mitchell (Director Vineyard Operations) and Paul Clifton (adorable winemaker at Hahn Estates) and their vineyard team shepharded the noob farmers teaching them about this plot of land, the 720′ elevation in the Santa Lucia Highlands, the soil, the vines (828 Clone/Pinot Noir), the irrigation, the row orientation, etc.  All vines may be found on Google Earth where anyone can watch the growth of these baby pinot noir vines.  Check out the Google Earth flyover of the winery here.

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Essentially it was a day that social media wrought where friends and associates came together to dig in the dirt and laugh together while learning about the beginning, middle and end of wine production.  Not bad for just a few hours. After planting our vines, bloggers enjoyed a picnic lunch and wines made from the vineyards where their vines were planted.  The pinot noir in the Hahn SLH, among others were featured as the conversation covered everything from vineyard experimentation to your favorite twitter app for the i-phone.

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It is still hard to put words to the perfection of the day.  It sounds cloying, overblown and off the mark when I reach for the grand adjectives and expressions to summarize this day of planting and connection.  One most apt description of all of us is to say that we were like kids in a candy store…and there was a kind of rapt adventure and play about the day’s activities.  And still there was learning, out-reach and …well, you probably understand anyway.  You seem like a wine lover to me, so I’ll share more photos of the day and leave it at that.  I hope you’ll come to the next Bloggers Tasting Forum or host your own.

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And who wouldn’t love a romp thru the vines in an open air Yamaha 4-wheeler?

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You KNOW the Brix Chicks did!

Links to fellow blogger posts and attendees to follow soon.

Photos courtesy of Philip Woodrow, Hahn Family Wines Director of Marketing and Communications.

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The VinTank report is certainly a chunk to sink your teeth into.  Still, my current mission is how to apply all these skills and passions for social media (we know it works) to the bottom line in sales…now that I’ve joined the sales team.  We’ve talked about them thus far ad nauseum here, on twitter and in person as we’ve laid the ground work for what this new thing, online connecting via web 2.0, is and how it applies to business.  

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So with a nod of appreciation for Dude’s work and a rush out the door on my California BevMo and Whole Foods Wine department tour, we’ll all be enjoying a round of conversation and response to the latest report on social media in wine throughout real and virtual portals.  My favorite point currently lost in the comments debate on Dude’s blog is about millenials: “…they don’t respond to the mindless, unidirectional marketing tactics that have been the staple of the “traditional” marketing machine.”  Furthermore, despite the incredible headway made by the VinTank study, most stat lovers will never be satisfied because the meduim of measuring stats for something like social media won’t even be completely embodied by a dollar sign, a case sold or a wine club member convert…alone.  Perhaps in old school speak, how would you measure and quantify the value of the Rotary Club?  For an individual or a community?  Sure, there would be numbers you could point to…but I guarantee that would not be the whole story.

This is more like a movement where participation is decentralized, diffused and more democratic.  The power and influence is spread out.  Anyone who doesn’t like that will certainly knock it down (and we’ve seen that a lot throughout the past years).  Meanwhile, let’s raise a glass, remember the wine and talk as much about the magic in the glass and sharing that bottle together.

wineTweetCheers!

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Because he can.
Because he does.

And because he has mad Web 2.0, Social Media and interpersonal skills:

Vote For the DirtySouthWine

DirtyGoode 

Looking forward to this wine meets social media in practice study…and how it turns out!

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IF you thought you knew what the Bloggers Tasting Forums were all about, you may be surprised by the next in a series of Blogger/Winery meet ups.   Next month Hahn Estates is dedicating approximately 1.6 acres as “The Bloggers Block”.  The prime vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation will be planted throughout May.  Bloggers attending the Tasting & Planting Forum in May will also plant their own vine in the Bloggers Block.  The opportunity to learn, explore and share wine experiences I believe not only adds to our wine-ophilia, but more than almost any product, wine brings people together to learn, share and explore more.

Some thoughts from Bill Leigon, President of Hahn Family Wines on creating the Bloggers Block (which I hope will aka “Writers Block”).    Here Mr. Leigon talks about how the Bloggers Block came about:

We had done a special incentive trip for our distributors a few years ago where the winners came to CA and got to plant their own PN vine with a plaque on it.  In addition there has long been a history of certain wineries allowing consumers (usually wine club members) to “own” a vine.  They join the club and buy a case of wine from their vine.  One day while talking to Andy he mentioned that we had 1.6 acres or so on the knolls in Smith Vineyard that we could plant.  In our interactions with the blogging community I learned that they are wine savvy and very interested in learning about wine.  Great wines start in the vineyard.  What better way to learn than to help plant a vine, take part in the process and follow the development of your vine over time.

This Bloggers Forum will be Hahn’s second such blogger event.  Other wineries (St. Supery) have followed suit hosting bloggers for information and education and sharing.  A few more thoughts from Bill Leigon:

p70400461Thus we are not selling anybody anything and I thought this would be a great way to enhance our outreach while providing a valuable educational experience.  I believe that the blogging community is a vital part of the future of the industry.  In the many debates of what is or isn’t ethical in regards to the winery/wine blogger relationship what seems clear to me is that the best, most ethical thing we as a winery can do is provide the blogging community with quality products, quality information and quality wine experiences regardless of race, sex, color, creed or brand of wine.  We are using our vineyards because that’s who we are.  I believe that the more the blogging community learns about wine, the better it is for all of us.

Bill Leigon gets wine and he also really gets social media:

It is a vital connection; just like the winery/wine writer connection; the winery/wine buyer connection; and of course the winery/consumer connection.  It does us no good to create great wines if no one knows about it.  I just can’t drink that much.  The wine business is a relationship business.  We must create an emotional connection to our consumers.  We do that through many means and I believe Social Media is a major part of creating that connection.

hahn-n-glasses2When I was a young salesman starting out I received advice that I have never forgotten.  The VP of Dreyfus-Ashby said to me, “Bill, the wine business is a relationship business.  You sell one bottle of wine to one person, one at a time.”  I didn’t know what he meant then, but I learned over time.  The internet and Social Media allow you to do that only it accelerates the number of people you can reach to a degree that I can’t even comprehend.  It allows me to establish a relationship and an emotional connection to someone in Germany that I have never met face to face.  It allows me to create connections with multiple people in multiple countries simultaneously and in a very personal way.

Yep, pretty much.

Cheers.

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red-circle-slash-0

Yep, another beta tester:  The American Winery widget is working its way into California Wine Life.  While I talk more about the wine industry here and I don’t review wines, I certainly enjoy them with friends, family and co-workers…hey, it’s my job!  So I’m happy to share with you my favorite finds.  Put it this way:  I have access to a different set of people and information.  Yes, that impacts the wine I enjoy and if I can share the fruits of a great winery with you…along with some inside information, isn’t that cool?  AND, you can get the wine fast and easy…

So what do you think about the widget:  Its features, functionality and form?

Other blogger friends trying out the WineCliq: RickBakas.Com and 1WineDude.

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If you haven’t met Andy Mitchell, he is a tremendous human and amazing steward of the vineyards at Hahn Vineyards.  Officially, he is the Director of Vineyard Operations.  He is the reason the vineyards are SIP Certified.  Andy is also the photographer of these amazing photos.  You’ll see some of them on the new Hahn Family Wines web site when we go live in May.  Here’s a sneak peek:

The Malbec goes into our Meritage.  Sometime’s there is even a Wine Club Only 100% Malbec…it is delicious!

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You might recognize “Doctor’s Vineyard” from the Lucienne single vineyard pinot noir Hahn makes.

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The Salinas Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands is known for the fog and their cool climate grapes;  especially syrah, chardonnay and pinot noir.

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Another paradise, just 2 hours south of San Francisco.

And my personal favorite.

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Photos courtesy of Andy Mitchell.  You can see more on flickr.

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A cloud post:

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First class, Lesley Russell, St. Supery, Napa. Forward thinking, bloggers wine tasting II, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato…bacon.  Gathering names, Chris Parker, and guilty pleasures, Brittany Spears, Scissor Sisters, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Journey and Barry Manilow!?  Sunshine, old oaks, vineyards, bud break, Dollarhide, Cabernet Sauvignon, photos.  Soil, vines, rows, Josh Antsey, sleepy, fuzzy, friendly, fabulous, knowledgeable, funny.  Gracious, supportive, amazing leadership, Michaela Rodeno, Emma Swain, smiles and the Boos. GG.  Bloggers gather.  Hugs.  Tweets.  Twitpics.  Representing Napa, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Sonoma, Santa Clara, Alameda, food and wine.  Fig trees, fruit trees, farming, Fish Friendly, Green.

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Tasting Gallery, bottles, glasses.  “What is this?”  “That’s a spit cup, Shana.”  “What’s it for?”  “Never mind.”  Josh leading, bloggers tasting.  Semillion, 100%.  Sarah Jones, sweet.  Wine Club line up: Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot: rich, complex, friendly, Napa, more please.  GG. Reds.  Winery exclusive. 650 cases.  Photographs, laughter, sharing.  Limited editions.

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Chef Ron Barber, specialties, fallen goat cheese souffle.  Cherry tomatoes.  Out side, under the oak.  More tweets.  Lunch, Game Hen, Elu, red blends, more sun.  Cheers!.  Greens, fresh french bread, olive oil, red, Cabernet Sauvignon.   Cheeses, flowers, French, dessert, Chateauneuf du Pape.

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Nothing I could have written would have been anywhere near as eloquent, graceful and prefect as that day.

My fellow bloggers, however, will have collectively communicated through their posts.  Check them out listed below:

Janesta: Brix Chicks

Jim White: NapaMan

Liza: Brix Chicks

Russ Beebe: WitiCulture: Wine Hikers Blog

Shana Ray: Not Yet Out on VHS

Thea Dwelle: Luscious Lushes’

Trevor & Karen Jonas: UnCork 29

Ward Kadel: WineLog

Xandria: Brix Chicks

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