Minimalist wine marketing in action

First, they butter you up. Heed! Once you make a purchase you're slowly enshrined into the cult. You receive mysterious letters. They woo you with fine parchments, witticisms, pleasantries. Like the Da Vinci Code it'll require visits to Google and Wikipedia to decode the mystery.

Harlan Estate. Gotta love ’em. Whenever one of their envelopes arrives in the mailbox, I know I’m in for some intrigue. Plus a laugh, or–as in this case–at least a wry smirk. This is Napa cult wine marketing in action. You won’t find emphasis on price, definitely no mention of value, and rarely discussion about more esoteric wine topics such as terroir. Often, you’ll get a story. After all, good wine marketing is, at its core, good story-telling.

I know how this goes.

First, they butter you up. Heed! Once you make a purchase you’re slowly enshrined into the cult. You receive mysterious letters. They woo you with fine parchments, witticisms, pleasantries. Often it’ll require a quick visit to Google or Wikipedia in an attempt to decode the mystery. Think of it like the Da Vinci Code of Wine; there’s got to be something at the bottom of all this.

And, of course, there is.

Weeks later, a pre-order form will arrive. The price sheet will be on the last page. If you’re so fortunate you’ll be granted the privilege and entitled to buy the rarified wine. You might just be that chosen one. By that time, you’ll find yourself weak in the knees, disoriented and lusting – even more so than for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (speaking of cults).

But then there are times like today, when a quote is all that matters.

So I opened the bespoke envelope-Harlan, like Scarecrow, Screaming Eagle and other cult houses have a direct line to the premium paper Gods.

Inside was a card, with “Harlan Estate” elegantly embossed in all caps on the cover. I flipped it open, and I was greeted by sure inspiration in the form of a quote, set against the image of a grape goddess/angel (or something like that):

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet.” – William Blake

All I could think of was Michael Scott, and “that’s what she said.”

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