Whether it’s through participating in holiday wine trails, recommending their neighbors or through other special events, wineries in many areas of the US are good about supporting the industry as a whole and making their regions stronger.
That continues to be job one for 868 Estate Vineyards in Loudon County, Virginia, which is a member of the Loudoun Heights Agritourism Council. Comprised of nine vineyards, the marketing consortium works together to promote its trail and wineries, with its ultimate collaboration being its Valle Tranquilo, a red blend that the wineries work together to produce every year.
Vintner Magazine caught up with Nancy Deliso, Director of Marketing for 868 Estate Vineyards, who shared three ways the Valle Tranquilo project brings both the wineries and community together and showcases Virginia Wine.
Each of the nine vineyards is offered the opportunity to contribute wine to blend together to create a collaborative wine that is representative of the terroir of the entire trail.
The wine is usually a Meritage-style blend, but not a Meritage per se, since we have one vineyard that contributes Tannat. For the past three years, the blend has been Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Tannat, in varying percentages.
“Not every vineyard participates each year, depending on their estate grown yields, but as our third vintage approaches, each year the wine has been an excellent example of teamwork, as well as being delicious,” Deliso said. “ We meet one evening with wine samples to create different blends until we find two blends that we like, then each winery has one vote and the selection is made.”
Getting Artists Involved
To make the project even more representative of their geographic area, they have a label contest and invite local artists from their county to enter.
The process has already begun for the council’s third vintage, which will be released in January 2023.
“This year, we reviewed over 50 entries and chose a beautiful pastel to grace the label,” Deliso said.
Bringing the Community In and Telling the Story
The artist whose label was chosen will be invited to bottle signings at the various vineyards once the wine is released.
This, of course, creates an organic opportunity to interact with customers who will basically be introduced to nine wineries at once.
“Our customers love the opportunity to meet the winemakers and the artist while sampling the wine on our release weekend and in the weeks after,” Deliso said.
Deliso said there were many marketing benefits to the project, but the one she liked best was telling the story to 868 Estate Vineyard customers when they visit the tasting room.
“There are few industries and few ‘competitors’ who lift each other up in this way and I am proud to be part of a group that does,” she said. “Customers love the warmth of this story and respond to it by purchasing the wine and sharing the story to their friends when the wine is served.”
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