Darden Students Sabering the Wine and Spirits Market

Last Friday I had the opportunity to join the Darden M.B.A. students at a conference organized and offered by the Wine and Cuisine Club. Planting the Seeds of Business presenters were relevant, educational and entertaining.  From the seasoned keynote speaker, Andy Mansinne, President of Aveniu Brands to Jennifer Drapisch of Pernod Ricard, a recent 2010 graduate of Darden, marketing and distribution via the three-tiered system was addressed from all three perspectives.  The three-tier system was set up after the repeal of Prohibition.  The  premise of the system requires  producers to sell only to distributors who then sell to retailers, and then only retailers may sell to consumers.   The wine business seemed to be the most complicated, dealing with regulations changing from state to state.

Incorporating social media (socialnomics) into the sales plan appears to be crucial and now used by 93% of marketers.  You Tube and Facebook lead the way so look for some  fun ads during the Super Bowl.  Jameson 1780 has an excellent program for marketing via Facebook and The Missing Barrel of Jameson.  Fun to play and tag your friends on Facebook. I actually took a break and got hooked by the game, but once I figured out the person who”stole” the barrel, I couldn’t figure out how to enter the answer into the game??  

Barefoot wine has recently gotten the attention of the “millennials” and is taking advantage of the Facebook social phenomenon.  Originally a brand of a couple of nudists, they were bought out by Gallo and retained only a portion of the original name.

We also learned how to “saber” not “savour” a sparkling wine or a Champagne bottle but unfortunately didn’t get a clear photo of it. A great party trick so, in lieu of a photo I have included a You Tube video “How to Saber” so you can impress your friends or your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day.

Notable quotations of the day:

“The way to make a million in the wine business is to start with 5 million.”

“You have to be different…meaningfully different.”
“Wine is very communal.”

“A bottle of wine is intended to be shared-you don’t necessarily share a beer,” (a keg,yes, but not a bottle.)

Good Night Darden and a special thank you to Sara Hester and compadres for an informative, entertaining conference and cocktail party and for inviting me!

Participants included:

Commonwealth Restaurant and Skybar  Richard Averitt, Founder

Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Hayes Humphreys, Chief Operating Officer

E&J Gallo Winery Lee Susen, Marketing Director

General Mills Polly Madsen, Associate Marketing Manager

Pernod Ricard Jennifer Drapisch, Assistant Brand Manager

VinConnect Kevin Sidders, President

Virginia Eagle Distributing Scott Heinz, Chief Operating Officer