Napa Vintners Create Success Model in Effective Brand Building

Premiere Napa Valley –consumer demand, trade affinity


2/17/2012 - St Helena, CA--The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) winery trade association representing the Napa Valley appellation has created the most unique wine brand portfolio in the industry and one that has quietly become the "must have" for the well-tended cellar. The brand is called Premiere Napa Valley and was launched in 1997 at its inaugural barrel tasting and auction to the wine trade event of the same name in late February at the then-recently opened Culinary Institute of America in St Helena.

"What began as a fundraiser for the trade association's work to promote and protect the appellation became a phenomenal success in creating a cult wine brand that savvy wine buyers put on their 'must have' list," said Dan Duckhorn, founding chairman of the Premiere Napa Valley. Today, Premiere Napa Valley wines are integral to every world class wine list and every top collector’s cellar.

Today the portfolio of wine annually offered in February to wine sellers at auction consists of 200 different bottlings under the Premiere Napa Valley label. Each bottling is crafted in as few as 60 bottles and never more than 240 bottles from each participating winery. Each wine is one-of-a-kind made only for this program, and sold to one buyer. The buyer, a restaurant, bottle shop or a wholesale agent then has these wines to offer his best customers. The wines are arguably the best of the best from America's most renowned wine region, known for its consistent, top quality and innovative wines.

In marketing the brand, a very few bottles of each of the finished wines has been cellared by the wineries to offer at bespoke tastings, along with barrel samples of upcoming offerings, to thank past bidders and entice future buyers to the program. The vintners convene in key markets and host top restaurateurs and retailers at tutored, seated tastings with a panel of winemakers moderated by a high-profile third-party wine professional. Over the past year winemakers have been joined at panels in New York City at Per Se and in Washington, DC at Corduroy with Ray Isle, executive wine editor of Food and Wine Magazine; at Bouchon in Beverly Hills with Brett Anderson of Robb Report; in San Francisco at Benu with's Alder Yarrow; and at Auberge du Soliel in Napa Valley with Andrea Robinson.

All market research affirms that relationship building is key to the success in wine branding and this is integral to micro production wines of which Premiere Napa Valley is arguably the leader in this arena. The Napa Valley trade event in February provides the platform for what the vintner community often refers to the weekend as "homecoming for the trade," where vintners host scores of library tastings and open houses to more raucous parties--all of which create a setting for camaraderie and relationship building that tangibly reinforces business opportunities with these trade people when they are in their home markets.

The Premiere Napa Valley brand is a model for effective marketing and brand demand building through interpersonal relationships. The NVV has created a dedicated website to support the brand at where retailers can see the offerings in advance and to share this preview with their clients who enjoy buying wine futures, bidding on their behalf. Additionally, wine consumers looking to add these incredible wines to their cellars can find the wine merchant who has the wine in their retail offering to purchase. This helps the trade build relationships with potential buyers who have interest in these rare wines.

The annual barrel tasting and auction is often seen as a barometer of the strength of the Napa Valley wine market. Over the years, the NVV has continued to capture record-breaking case prices in sales to the trade which translates to continued strong confidence in Napa Valley wines and their futures. Now in its 16th year the auction sold out more than a month in advance, and many top bidders are reporting they have strong pre-sales from their customers who have given them direction on wines they want purchased on their behalf. Premiere represents the best in wine and the best in market development as well as the best in meeting and exceeding the expectations of the trade, which is a win on all fronts.

The Napa Valley Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region. From seven founding members in 1944, today the association represents 425 Napa Valley wineries and collectively is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. To learn more about our region and its legendary American wines, visit

Contact: Terry Hall, Communications Director 707-968-4217