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Vineyards,Viticulture,Wine,Wine Making

Suisun Valley Finds Itself in a Unique Marketing Juxtaposition

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Resident wines within the valley, and non-resident wines that are appellated to Suisun Valley, are causing an ongoing larger theme; and, that’s the creation of an important marketing juxtaposition. Both of these factions are contributing to “Suisun Valley” being placed on wine labels as the AVA, which is increasing their appellation’s national recognition.

Suisun Valley brands are highlighted in blue:

  1. Andrew Lane Wines ~ Andrew Dickson ~ St. Helen
  2. Bask Cellars ~ Brian Babcock and Kristie (Babcock) Terry ~ Suisun Vall
  3. Blue Victorian ~ Frank Vezér ~ Suisun ValleyBoodeaux Vineyards ~ Scott Becker ~ Napa
  4. Bravante Vineyards (North Coast) ~ George Bravante ~ Howell Mountain, Angwin
  5. Croze ~ Gary Wooton ~ Yountville
  6. Hidden Creek Winery ~ Jim Frost ~ Livermore
  7. King Andrews Vineyards & Shale Peak ~ Roger King ~ Suisun Valley
  8. Koch Vineyards ~ Maurry Koch ~ Suisun Valley
  9. Ledgewood Creek Winery ~ Dean Frisbee ~ Suisun Valley
  10. Manifesto ~ Jamey Whetstone ~ Napa
  11. Mangels Winery ~ Gary Mangles ~ Suisun Valley
  12. Mankas Hills Vineyards ~ Mario & Giuseppe Rosso ~ Suisun Valley
  13. Olabisi Wines ~ Ted Osborne ~ Napa
  14. P.B. Hein Vineyards ~ Paul Bernard Hein ~ St. Helena
  15. Panza from Quixote Winery ~ Carl Doumani ~ Napa
  16. Red Oak Winery and Vineyard ~ Nicholas A. Wagener ~ Sturgeon Bay, WS
  17. Red Côte ~ Jeff Miller ~ of Napa with vineyards in Suisun Valley
  18. Scholium Project ~ Gardens of Babylon ~ Abe Schoener ~ Napa
  19. Sunset Cellars, LLC Twilight Ridge ~ Doug Sparks ~ San Francisco (Coop owner/operator)
  20. Tenbrink Vineyards ~ Stephen Tenbrink ~ Suisun Valley
  21. Terremoto Cellars ~ Chris and Karen Gallien ~ Novato
  22. Trahan Winery ~ Chuck Custodio ~ Rutherford
  23. Vezér Family Vineyards ~ Frank Vezér ~ Suisun Valley
  24. Winterhawk Winery ~ Don Johnson ~ Suisun Valley
  25. Wooden Valley Winery ~ Lanza Family ~ Suisun Valley

More Significant Growth and Changes

Need for a Vintners Committee for marketing locally produced wines…

Transformations in the Suisun Valley Grape Growers Association’s direction and strategy, from just one year ago, have been quite significant. The biggest change is the association’s expansion to include a Vintners’ Committee. This group has taken on the role of marketing Suisun Valley as a wine country destination; one with an exceptional tasting room experience. Originally, the association only had a grower focus. Recently, however, Suisun Valley has begun to see an increase in the number of tasting rooms and events held at each winery. It became obvious that they had to take their marketing beyond just a wine grapes message, in order to further capitalize on visitor growth.

Expansion of Grape Marketing to Include the East Coast

The largest marketing success that the association has had in the last year has been the continued expansion of their sales strategy to the East Coast. In 2006, facing a complicated over-supply due to a large 2005 crop, many growers found themselves with uncertain destinations for their fruit, and looked elsewhere in the United States. There are places in the United States searching for superior fruit from California producers, and they want it to be value priced. More importantly, they are also looking for long-standing California relationships that will be rock solid. Collectively, a decision was made to find this new market as an outlet; so they took a tradeshow position at Wineries Unlimited on the East Coast. (East of the Rockies, this is the largest tradeshow in the wine industry.

Moving Beyond Just Grape Sales

The Suisun Valley grape growers are also moving beyond just grape sales. They are now also shipping crushed unfermented juice, must, and raw wine at prices significantly better than they would get in California. Home winemakers all over the United States are enjoying the fruit from Suisun Valley, delivered to their homes for the sheer enjoyment of making their own wine. And, it is worth noting that they are quite proud that their fruit comes from Suisun Valley, California.

Suisun Valley’s Image Growth of their AVA

As regards the Suisun Valley AVA, President Roger King of the Suisun Valley Grape Growers now believes, “In the past year or two, Suisun Valley has a better market position than ever before in our history. If you look to the national market, Suisun Valley wasn’t a player before 2006. Since then, we’ve taken on a huge market position, and Suisun Valley has been most especially well branded in the eastern part of the country. And, it’s stronger in the east than it is even in California. We’re finding that the realities of the economic recession and how it’s affecting the high end of the market are shedding new light on Suisun Valley as a value option. Pricing for Suisun Valley grapes hasn’t seen the downward pressure, that pricing for grapes from Napa and Sonoma have seen.

National Chain Branding

This past summer, Suisun Valley Grape Growers received important bragging rights when Whole Foods Markets released their much-anticipated “Top Ten Summer Wines” list. The 2007 Manifesto Sauvignon Blanc, Suisun Valley, crafted by Jamey Whetstone, was the only Sauvignon Blanc on that Top Ten list. Whole Foods wine buyers wrote, “Manifesto!’s ‘smooth texture and food-friendly acidity’ make it a great addition to a ‘sunny picnic.’” Whole Foods went on to recommend pairing the SB with sushi, oysters, or any fresh goat cheese, because of its “ripe lemon, gooseberry, grapefruit and orange peel” flavors.

For Suisun Valley, this national chain store distribution guarantees the continuance of the explosive recognition of all Suisun Valley wines, as do all the other efforts that have been mentioned.

2 Responses to “Suisun Valley Finds Itself in a Unique Marketing Juxtaposition”

  1. Paul Samson says:

    Thank you for keeping us all in “the loop”!

  2. Jo says:

    Paul,

    Thanks for letting me know you’re “in the loop.” I’m entering all comments this week into the drawing for the metal sculpture, so it may even have additional benefits. Good luck.

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