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Archive for July, 2009

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).

wine shots 001

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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Giant strides are very exciting.  In our industry, a slow, seasonally affected, growing, pressing and aging pace sometimes takes over and causes our progress to lag a bit behind faster moving industries (tech, TV, advertising…to name a few).  So when the wine industry makes a leap, it generates a wave impossible to ignore, exciting to watch, and exhilirating to participate in whenever you can.  This summer in particular, Social Media in Wine Marketing has taken that giant stride, nay leap forward opening up imagination, possibility and interactive wine marketing experiences new in the wine world.

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Contributing to the leaps forward upto and including the summer of 2009, credit must go to the Wine Bloggers Conference, Twitter Taste Live, The Open Wine Consortium, the Bloggers Tasting and Planting Forums to name a few; accessible, frequent, groundbreaking online interaction between wine lovers, wine bloggers and the wine industry building a critical mass, connecting technology with everyone and anyone with a passion or passing interest in wine.  Then there is the Murphy-Goode, Really Goode Job campaign.  Regardless of what you think about the job (temporary, contractually a quagmire, and possibly vague in its mission) or the campaign (missing some basic social media fundamentals, mysterious in its process, depersonalized), the gimick of the search has splash landed as one of the top 10 topics we wine bloggers talk about.  Some of my favorite Wine Bloggers were on the MG top 50 list (some are still on the top 10 list).  Add to that the VinTank promise to donate $100K in Social Media strategy consulting if Murphy-Goode selects one of the VinTank 4+ and the buzz has gone viral.

LesOpportunity abounds.  And I gotta say that the coolest crest of this wave in Social Media evolution this summer in our industry, in our little Wine Valley has to be St. Supery (and specifically, Lesley Russell’s work) choosing to search, strategize and carve out a position for a highly experienced full time Social Media director to fortify their marketing team. The shift to new media is now working from within the wineries, connecting with and hiring people from a food, wine and social media background. Smart?  Hell, yeah.  Without the gimmick but with a thorough sifting and months of their own experience, St. Supery jumps in the rest of the way.  Their resume of social media history from 2008-2009 includes Lesley Russell speaking on panels (including the ZAP/ Wine 2.0 Social Media Panel and the DTC Summit Panel, “Relationship, Relevance and Results”), Twitter Taste Live wine tasting, a Bloggers Tasting Forum, multiple-avid participants on twitter, real facebook fan page development, and a series called “The Divine Wine Encounter” for trade wine folks.

So we’re talking about St. Supery’s newest hire, Mr. Rick Bakas.  I can’t wait to see what happens now…And I couldn’t be

RBakasmore delighted for St. Supery, the Bakas family and for Napa Valley and the wine industry.  In their continuing leadership in social media marketing, I’m excited to watch them execute a thoroughly thoughtful strategy with great wine, talented people on their team and a tremendous growing network of real and virtual fans.  It also may mean that social media/wine lovers will have a winery to call home in the Napa Valley, a headquarters to start or finish their wine quests…and a place that gets the brilliance and social value of the technology that connects us.

As if we needed an excuse to raise our glass, these are exciting times.  Cheers!

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