Top 10 Marketing Contributions to the Success of PS I Love You’s 10 Years of existence…

It’s been 10 great years as the founding executive director of PS I Love You, Inc. It’s also been, without a doubt, the most challenging and rewarding job of my professional life; although being the director of a school, teaching a deaf student, and being a Girl Scout a day camp director were also very meaningful.

Personally, I’ve learned a lot and grown significantly, as has the variety. The following is what I believe are the Top 10 most significant marketing contributions that have kept PS I Love You chugging along…

  1. WINERIES & GROWERS: Major players stepped up to initiate the group and then sustain it for ten years.
    • All of the members of PS I Love You are the true champions of this historical variety.
      • Paying dues…
      • Donating time, energy, their and expertise to the cause.
      • Sitting on the board of directors and voting in a heartbeat, when decisions need to be made.
    • They’re the brands in the wine business that recognize the importance of two things:
      • Collective marketing adds strength and power to a focus.
      • It’s important to give back to an industry from which you gain your livelihood.
  2. MEDIA: Awareness of Petite Sirah has grown substantially through the efforts of  purposeful story tellers.
    • At the first Petite Sirah symposium, held at Foppiano Vineyards, attendees all voiced, “We need publicity for this variety. It’s completely fallen off the charts.”
    • After forming the group in 2002, and in the subsequent 10 years, nearly 500 stories have been written about Petite Sirah.
    • This has all been chronicled on the PSILY Website.
    • It’s safe to say that 95 percent of these stories are a direct response from media people who have been willing to help us carry the banner for this American Heritage variety.
  3. SPONSORS: Without the following major financial contributors, PS I Love You, Inc. would have collapsed long ago.
    • Foppiano Vineyards
      • The first symposium by Foppiano got the ball rolling.
      • The next six symposiums at Foppiano kept it rolling with an educational focus.
      • Writing the first check to by the domain name, began the Web presence.
    • Kent Rosenblum
      • Wrote the first membership check from Rosenblum Cellars.
      • He has served as President and held a board for the last 10 years.
      • He’s offered his locations, both Rosenblum Cellars and Rock Wall Wine Company, to hold consumer events.
    • Concannon Vineyard
      • Blue Tooth Tours were financially backed trade and media tours throughout the United States. Concannon underwrote everything… contributing not only marketing brain power for these unique trips, but they also donated multiple six figure budgets to implement all the plans,.
      • This brought Petite Sirah to major influencers; from Boston to Miami, Seattle to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Santa Fe, and Fort Worth to Chicago.
      • In 2009, when the Petite Sirah Symposium had run its course at Foppiano, Concannon picked up the ball and has been producing it ever since.
    • Bogle Vineyards
      • Patty Bogle, before she passed away, established a Petite Sirah Heritage Clone Vineyard at UC Davis, donating a large sum of money to initiate the project with the Foundation Plant Services Department.
      • Initially, the location was unclear, but as the Mondavi Center came together, a space for clean budwood developed and Patty’s dream became a reality before she passed away in February 2011.
  4. TRADE
    • The support from those within on and off premise accounts who love Petite has helped with the pull-through in sales.
    • Without this support, none of the rest of our success would matter.
    • UC Davis
      • Dr. James Wolpert
        • In the early years of PSILY, Jim was instrumental in stating publicly that Petite Sirah was/is a heritage Variety.
        • He also assisted Patty Bogle in her efforts to secure a Petite Sirah heritage Clone Vineyard at UC Davis.
      • Staff
        • Petite Sirah was scheduled to become a synonym in 2002. Because it was grouped with Zinfandel and Primitivo, and the controversy that erupted with that potential decision, the entire RIN 1512–AC65 Proposal To Recognize Synonyms for Petite Sirah and Zinfandel Grape Varieties by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms failed.
        • UC Davis supported our subsequent and successful effort in 2010-2011, to have Petite Sirah and Durif to become synonyms.
    • Scheduled wine festival tasting panels with the following:
      • Society of Wine Educators
      • Santa Fe Chile Fiesta
      • Florida Wine Fest
      • American Wine Society
      • Midwest Wine Grape Symposium
      • Department of Commerce
        • Under the SABIT (Special American Business Internship Training) Program’s Wine Marketing and Promotion
    • The Wine Institute supported the efforts for Petite Sirah and Durif to become synonyms.
    • This included lending attorney Wendell Lee to craft the legalese.
  7. VOLUNTEERS: are necessary and all help with Dark & Delicious and also with the Symposiums.
    • Avery Family Vineyards got PSILY launched us into volunteer heaven, suggesting help from his consumer database, and swamping our system the first year of asking.
    • The industry also has a group of hard core, professional volunteers, who travel with the wine events’ circuit. We’ve gathered some of the best of those, too.
    • We have a hard core group of passionate fans for PS.
    • Wineries step up to thank the volunteers with a “thank you” annual Barbecue
      • Gustafson Family Vineyards has hosted three of these events
      • Rock Wall Wine Company has hosted two of these events
      • All members are quick to donate wine for Groupie services at these events and for working events in the past.
  9. EVENTS: Make it happen
    • Trade
      • Blue Tooth Tours, already discussed above
    • Consumer
      • Dark & Delicious:  The 7th Annual has already begun its planning (60 wineries and 35 restaurants/foodies)
      • The Masters of Petite Sirah was hugely successful, sponsored by Markham Vineyards (Petites had to be at least 10 years old to pour, some wee as much as 20+ years old)
    • WING: Diaz Communications
      • If I didn’t have a Webmaster husband, PS I Love You would never have had the Web advantage that it’s had.
      • The site has had four incarnations in the last 10 years; mostly donated, easily by 95 percent.
        • Including the installation of a new database system, that also allows for easy, daily maintenance for the last 10 years, which has cost next to nothing.
        • Without constant help and support, late at night, over the weekends, and holidays (one Christmas morning, Santa delivered a new red and black website from the Near East), my job would have been nightmarish for constant IT support, which has been (again) been mostly donated labor by Jose Diaz.
    • PRAYER
      • I can make almost anything happen on a shoestring budget, but I know there’s been some divine intervention with this one…

Again, if I’ve missed anyone, I greatly apologize. Trying to collect the past 10 years in a nutshell isn’t as easy as it might seem. A lot has gone down!

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