Monday, December 21, 2009

To Print or not to Print? That is the Question.

The Board of Sonoma County Vintners have begun discussions on requiring wineries in Sonoma County to print "Sonoma County" on their labels in addition to the sub-appellation, which is currently listed. The benefit is getting more exposure wherever Sonoma County wines are sold. Napa Valley made this move a while ago. Personally, I view Napa Valley as the Disneyland of wine countries. Not to say there aren't great wines being produced within Napa Valley but the wine tasting experience can be very different. Napa is busy, can be more expensive and have larger brand names attached. Sonoma, still has a family owned and operated feel. The tasting experience in Sonoma tends to be more personal, a slower pace, more relaxing and becomes more of an adventure as you seek out the smaller wineries. Knowing this, I spend a lot more time in Sonoma and really enjoy it. I will admit from working in the industry, no matter how many times you say "Sonoma" with regards to a winery's location, some people still ask, "Is that in Napa?"

I agree, distinguishing Sonoma from Napa is important but if the Board of Vintners require Sonoma County to be on the the label, my concern is it is only a matter of time before Sonoma becomes the Disneyworld of wine country. There is no doubt that there will be a long road of discussions before a decision is made. I say, proceed with caution. The right consumers who currently enjoy Sonoma wines are aware of the sub-AVAs and their significance. If not, the consumers who are truly interested will be the ones to approach the Internet, Google what they are drinking and learn more about it. The curiosity to learn more is what will drive consumers to indulge in the region and attract the right consumers who are more likely to become long term devotes to Sonoma County. Could there be other more innovative was to capture and educate on Sonoma County wines?

I be will following the discussions and outcome of this decision. More to come.

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