Understanding the importance of an advocacy organization

Thom Elkjer

The power of any individual is magnified when s/he’s in an Advocacy group. Why so? Because an advocacy group is a marketing concept that’s an age-old tradition, born from labor unions. It’s collective bargaining at its best.

Once, I read that the power of a group is the power of the number squared, so with over 50 members in PS I Love You (my personal point of reference) we collectively have a minimum power of 2,500 individuals. We’ve magnified our individual efforts toward the same goal. To quote one of my favorite wine writers Thom Elkjer, of winecountry.com, we “shrink the universe.”

I’ve witnessed this power first-hand, too, when I’m talking to wine writers. They have more interest with a group for a varietal, than when I’m representing just one brand with any one concept.

By putting company energies together, the group has a much stronger impact. In the instance of PSILY, our most important focal point is wine media. That’s because they’re the ones who tell the story, which then creates interest for the varietal. (That’s the demand part.) Finally, that creates the supply base needed by the members to stay alive as a varietal offering.

That supply and demand eventually comes back to the growers; because the demand is there, the supply now has to happen.

This is a harder pill for my grower/farmers to swallow, as they don’t get the publicity that’s attached to what we’re doing; therefore, they’re not seeing the benefits first-hand. Once they have a brand, they take advantage of sending out samples to wine writers whenever presented, and their wines begin to show up in wine reviews. More importantly, when a tasting room visitor arrives with an entry-level knowledge of Petite Sirah, its all been worth the effort.

A few years ago, I didn’t even know what Petite Sirah was as a varietal… So imagine Joe Blow from Idaho, when Jo Diaz from Windsor is admittedly still constantly learning.

Louis Foppiano

An advocacy group is about educating writers, winery people, wholesalers, restaurateurs, sommeliers, wine shop owners, and consumers. Some people STILL say that Petite Sirah is NOT related to Syrah in any way, while Dr. Carole Meredith’s DNA evidence proves otherwise. PS I Love You for full details psiloveyou.org, and click on the resources page.

We have a long road ahead of us, but it’s being made shorter by the brands who are supporting the efforts. When we began PSILY in October 2002, it was a result of growers and producers at Foppiano’s PS Symposium saying, “We need publicity for this varietal.” At that time. Louis Foppiano of Foppiano Vineyards had identified only 60 growers and producers combined. Today, Foppiano’s Petite Report has identified 297 known brands, with another 91 growers, and seven nurseries.

Some were there in 2002, they just hadn’t been found; but most of them weren’t there, as they didn’t exist, yet. Petite Sirah IS “one of the greatest under-the-radar wine stories of the last decade” to quote Dan Berger in the Napa Valley Register, February 9, 2006.

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