Client Case Study: Wine & Lifestyle
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In May 2011, The Garagiste Wine Festival was just an idea, by November 2011 it was a sold-out reality with national media coverage and the term American garagiste, starting to be embedded in the US lexicon as emblematic of quality, artisan winemakers, crafting wines (literally) outside the box. As an untried festival, pitching coverage as one of multiple wine events in a sea of thousands of wineries in a state that has wine running through its veins, garnering attention was a challenge. But mWEBB made story pre-eminent, and that meant the individual stories of the renegade heretofore unheralded, undercover winemakers whose wines, while relatively unknown, were matching and surpassing the quality of more familiar labels. mWEBB focused on branding the trend of the American Garagiste movement, owning it and spotlighting it… through the stories of the winemakers and the founders of the festival and by generating data reports on this undiscovered winemaker segment. mWEBB started with the wine trade and careful cultivation of wine bloggers, but national and international media were soon captivated by the story. The goal was to make the festival 'stand out on the shelf', to help hundreds of winemakers (most of whom lacked marketing budgets or tasting rooms) not only own the label of garagiste movement, but also to receive broader consumer attention for their labels.
Through its work for the festival, mWEBB has been hands on in bringing attention to hundreds of small-lot winemakers, as well as further enhancing Paso Robles’, the Central Coast and California's identity as an innovative wine region. The festival has relied almost exclusively on public relations and social media to drive thousands of attendees to sell-out events in Paso Robles, Solvang, Oakland and Los Angeles. The media coverage has not only helped establish Paso Robles as the ‘on the ground,’ as well as the ‘spiritual’/conceptual home of the American garagiste movement, helping amplify the area’s identity as “innovative, a little renegade and anti-wine snob,” but also led to three sold out festivals each year, increased business via the media exposure for the winemakers and tens of thousands of dollars raised for the education of future winemakers. In fact, a number of winemakers who had their first outing at the festival and received media coverage, have seen their businesses grow significantly. Led by Melanie Webber, who holds a WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits, and French Wine Scholar Certification, the team focused on the festival's no-snobs allowed mission, the renegade quality of its winemakers and the complete uniqueness of the festival itself.
Coverage for the Garagiste Festival includes placement in thousands of outlets and has helped many winemakers gain individual attention (and reviews) with key wine journalists.
The festival has also received international coverage via the Festival, including the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian. In addition, outlets such as Sunset Magazine (‘Best of the West’), Westways (Five Worth the Drive), ABC News (one of the ‘Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations’ in the world), LA Weekly, New York Times, HuffPo and many others have covered the festival over the years.
For the Garagiste Festivals, mWEBB has achieved over 810 media hits with a reach of over 2.1 billion consumers and ad equivalency of over $19 million since 2011. More importantly, garagiste is now a widely recognized and respected term for high quality artisan American winemakers and the Garagiste Festival is recognized as the spark that lit the American Garagiste movement and the keeper of its flame.
“The mWEBB Communications is the most effective and dedicated PR firm I have ever worked with (and I have worked with many). The results speak for themselves. mWEBB was completely involved on a daily basis and contributed immensely to the success of our sold-out events, not to mention bringing national attention to our start-up brand.
We couldn't have done it without them!” - Douglas Minnick, Co-Founder, The Garagiste Festival