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Why Naming your winery something provocative really matters

[Image by Siegel Photography]

Naming your winery something provocative really matters… It has to be done very thoughtfully, in order to have great success.

Jose and I just sat with Ron Rubin, who was going to create his own wine brand. Ron is The Republic of Tea’s owner, a brand that he bought in 1994, from the same people who founded the retail store Banana Republic. Rubin is a businessman with a wine and water background.

  • He studied viticulture and enology at UC Davis.
  • Founded New Age Beverages, the master licensee for Clearly Canadian Sparkling Water.
  • Saw the potential in the growing “what’s good for you” market.
  • Fulfilled a 40-year dream of owning a vineyard, when he purchased River Road Family Vineyard and Winery.
  • Then, he was dreaming of having his own wine brand.

It took a bit of time and a lot of soul searching before he settled on naming his new brand Ron Rubin Vineyards. I believe it’s an excellent choice. Ron has legacy that will carry into the future, and enough cachet already built into his name. And there are the operative words for this one… “enough cachet already built into his name.”

I believe, if you don’t have that enough cachet already built into [one’s] name, I suggest something else that’s compelling. And, nothing is more compelling than a great story, real being preferred to a sexy, imagined legend… Unless you’re someone like Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard who’s got story telling already down to a science, dig around for some compelling history.

Which brings me to the inspiration of this blog story.

I met Dick Keenan during the first Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma County. Dick put on a great BBQ at his Kick Ranch Vineyard. I was really impressed with the location, and he’s also very close to where we live… This is my neighborhood, an easy trip to a divine afternoon of exploring. I set up an appointment during the fall. Jose and I visited with him. At the time, Dick Keenan was also working with Carica Wines. There was a lot to write about:

[Image is from the Overland Website.]

I just got an Email announcing Dick’s new project, and I’m happy to share this right away, because of the naming of his new brand:

I’m proud to announce that my wife Kathy and I have officially launched Overland Wines. Today marks a memorable day for us, and I’m very glad to share our news with you.

Overland is a new Sonoma County winery that showcases the grapes grown in our Sonoma County vineyard, Kick Ranch. We planted our vineyard in 2000 and, ever since, some of the most interesting wineries in Sonoma and Napa have been making exceptional wines with Kick Ranch fruit. This year we’re excited to join their very special company.

As a name, Overland tells the story behind Kick Ranch. In 1854, a family of pioneers walked overland across the American West – across plains, deserts and mountains, almost 2000 miles – to start a new life. They settled the land we now farm.

History… always a good “hook.”

And, Dick took it to great place in his marketing :

I am sending this note to friends, family, and acquaintances whom I have had the good fortune to meet and work with during my first career in law and my second in wine. I’m proud to announce that my wife Kathy and I have officially launched Overland Wines. Today marks a memorable day for us, and I’m very glad to share our news with you….

To get more information about Overland Wines, please visit www.overlandwines.com — I would be delighted to keep you in the loop on a regular basis, so please take a minute to give me permission to do so – sign up here for the Overland mailing list. For those who are social media savvy, a “like” and a “share” of our Overland Wines Facebook page would be great, too!

The first thing he did was send an Email to everyone he’s ever known. [Family and friends first – Check]

Next, he gave everyone the ability to sign up for more Email, or to simply opt out. [Marketing and legal – Check]

Then, he gave everyone the ability to pop out. [Legal and courtesy – Check]

I know that as people travel, emails get buried and emails can arrive at a time when you cannot act on them.  So, please expect one follow up email invitation in early November.

After that, I promise – no more.  You will not get an unwelcome email from Overland Wines; I don’t like to get unsolicited emails either.

I expect this brand to grow, because Dick’s done so many thing right… He’s an inspiration to us all.

 

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5 Responses to “Why Naming your winery something provocative really matters”

  1. I love hearing stories about names and where they came from; thanks for sharing these, and reminding folks about their importance.

    I attended that WBC with the kick-off reception at Kick! Unfortunately, I was still driving up and missed out. Have to get there another time!

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Any time you’re up here, you know where you can park the bus… (And I can easily arrange.)

  3. Don Phelps says:

    I agree wholeheartedly Jo – check out the story behind Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards on our website at hardrow.com – this is based on true events that took place on Lake Chelan and it was one of the best things we did when we decided to rebrand our winery name after only 18 months of being in business. Enjoy your writings :)

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Don. Let’s do an interview. I think it’s a great follow-up post. I love your E-mail. What a great sense of humor. I’ll be in touch.

  5. […] Why Naming your winery something provocative really matters […]

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