It’s hard to distinguish yourself as a winery. Apart from the wine elite who closely follow ratings and tastings and such, how you stand out among the masses who view a bewildering array of wine bottles on the shelf? How many people just give up and buy a red with an interesting label, because it was…a red with an interesting label?
Now, I buy a variety of different wines, and I do read ratings. If I had an unlimited budget, I fear how extravagant this habit could become (not that I would mind dealing with the temptation, don’t you know!). But I admit to a soft spot in my heart for Ravenswood Winery. Not only because they make some really nice reds (especially Zinfandels), but because they actually hit on a great branding approach.
Ravenswood’s tagline is No Wimpy Wines! Simple, memorable, and a bit sassy. While the elitist might consider this approach just a tad plebian, for the vast majority of wine buyers who are looking for a good quality, hearty wine, this is great branding. It makes Ravenswood stand out, and the phrase taps into something “aspirational” – after all, who wants ANYthing wimpy? Finally, it passes the T-shirt test (yes, I have one with the crossed-out Wimpy Wines on the back – it regularly accompanies me to the gym, silently promoting heart-healthy Ravenswood reds while I do my cardiovascular workout!)
Of course, it helps that the wine is good. And, since my brother-in-law lives not far from Ravenswood’s Sonoma vineyard, I had a chance to visit a while back, and I can also say that their winery experience is memorable and enjoyable. By the way, they have one of the biggest, tastiest BBQ sauces you’ll ever want to try (Ragin’ Raven) – if you can manage to find it.
Does that mean that I ignore the lots of other wine choices available? Hardly. But it does mean that Ravenswood has accomplished what good marketing and branding is supposed to achieve – loyalty. Repeat business. Positive buzz. And a willingness to promote them, simply because they do it right.