Browsing Tag


CRAVE: Is This The New Wine Event Trend For 2011?

CRAVE crowd

I had the opportunity a couple weeks ago to attend a very unique wine event, thanks to the folks at the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.

This is what it looked like:

CRAVE crowd

photo credit Ballesteros Photography

and this:

CRAVE group 1

photo credit Ballesteros Photography

And it was awesome.

CRAVE is a wine event specifically designed by the non-profit Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance to reach out to millennials and introduce them – glass in hand – to Paso Robles producers. At its core, it is a marketing event – the proceeds from each $45 dollar ticket go towards the event itself, which was built to generate exposure among this important demographic, not turn a profit. “Our producers understand that this event is an investment,” Says Meagan Callahan, 26, of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. “These are their future customers. They know that its important to reach out to them now.” And that future may not be too far off. According to some participating producers this year, the event yielded tasting room visits and sales the very next day.

So what makes CRAVE different from any other event, aside from a desire to reach 20-somethings? Located in San Luis Obispo, CRAVE chooses a venue convenient to the local university. The design inside is sleek and the lighting is sexy. During their first 2 years they had a DJ spinning, while this year they opted for a unique downtempo band complete with vocoder, violin, and laptops. The 40 or so participating Paso Robles wineries are grouped into areas called “wine bars” according to what they will be pouring with a food pairing featured at each bar.

Oh. And then there’s the sold-out crowd of mostly 20-somethings in their finest club attire. According to this year’s numbers, 81% of the 500 guests in attendance were between the ages of 21-29, with over half of these in the 21-25 age range.

According to Meagan Callahan, the priority among the CRAVE organizers is to create an atmosphere where millennials are comfortable. “We wanted wine tasting to come across as something fun to do with friends, not something intimidating or stuffy.” In my opinion, they completely succeeded. Though many of the attendees were shy and rather quiet when approaching wineries with their glasses, they were no less than ebullient when they returned to their friends. Groups of 3-7 people would gather after getting wine, and each of them would taste and compare favorites and flops in the same way they discussed what their other friends were wearing and who came with whom. Sometimes in the same breath.

CRAVE group 2

photo credit Ballesteros Photography

Young wine drinkers talking about wine with such ease and confidence is an incredibly rare occurrence at a wine-specific event. I saw this countless times. All night long.

After completing its third sold-out year, CRAVE is going stronger than ever. Will this event approach and in-person millennial focus this prove to be a trend in 2011? I hope so. I think it’s time that other organizations & wineries take notice.

And then invite me, because that s— was fun.

Follow Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance on Twitter: @PasoRoblesWine
Follow Millennier on Twitter: @Millennier


And This Is How You Do Creative Branding: Featuring Gary Numan and Cars

As many readers of this blog know by now, I am a HUGE proponent of creative branding. I definitely touched on this on the Authenticity & Pop Culture post this Spring when I brought up a simple-yet-genius Pedigree internet ad. The time has come once again to talk about creativity.

Ok. Let’s say you have a product that, unlike wine, is completely un-sexy. Let’s say for example your product is a car battery.

die hard battery

I mean, your name is Die Hard – that’s cool – but you’re a car battery. There’s not a whole lot you can do with that.

Unless of course, you are a marketing genius. Then you might think about how you can combine the insane potential of a creative interned vid with the current DIY zeitgeist that is fascinating people today. In fact you might look at the following video and say “I want that for my car battery.”

This OK GO music video from March 1st of this year has over 15 MILLION views. And that’s just from the official posting.

And if you’re truly a marketing genius, you might call up the company that made that video for OK GO and say again, “I want that for my car battery.”

And if you did that, this is what you would get:

And then you would be my personal hero. I find this ad brilliant and awesome on about a ba-zillion different levels. I will not wax poetic here, but if you want to hear why I think this is such a big deal just call me and carve out about an hour of your time.

WARNING: I’m about to get cranky, so if you don’t want to hear me cranky on a Friday, I bid you a happy weekend.

<rant>If you’re still with me, here’s my beef. I’m SO TIRED of people in EVERY ASPECT of the wine industry automatically handcuffing wine to media and branding that has been used for the last 40 YEARS. If you want new consumers then you have to do something new. PERIOD. DONE. Don’t tell me that wine can’t be awesome and fun and hip and irreverent when a CAR BATTERY can.</rant>

Go be creative and awesome. If you’re not creative and awesome, find someone who is. A few months from now I want to be writing about a video like this for a wine. And you know what? I will. Maybe I’ll just make it myself. If you want in, let me know.