You know you’re not dealing with Turning Leaf when you get a mailer that includes a beautiful 9-panel fold-out map of the Napa Valley. The price — $275 per bottle — is also probably more than just a hint that we’re not talking CVS beverage wine.
Instead, what we have here is premium wine marketing in action. With a budget to match.
Sure, I love Twitter, Facebook and all, but sometimes there’s a certain glow that one can only get from holding real-life, high quality parchment.
Such is the case with Bond Estates of Oakville in Napa. I received this mailer a few days back and felt compelled to once again post some shots of the material.
Positioning in the minds of the consumer when it comes to premium or luxury brands has a lot to do with selling a lifestyle or exuding that special feeling you get when you come in contact with them. In the auto world, Aston Martin comes to mind — and I’d expect both Bonds would approve of that comparison.
My first instinct when I read through the letter and attached “vintage offering” order form was that the material felt a lot like Harlan Estate (a winery Jancis Robinson described as “one of the ten best wines of the twentieth century”). Well, as I learned, that makes sense as it’s a sister property to BOND Estates. H. William Harlan arrived in Napa over 30 years ago, and as the story goes, “set out to explore the fullest potential of the land.” Then: “having made wine from over 70 different vineyards over the years, a few parcels of land stood above the rest and ultimately fueled the inspiration for BOND.” Ah, yes, good old fashioned story-telling and a warm embrace of history.
And that fold-out map? Like I mentioned, it’s high quality parchment. But I’m not so sure it’s an entirely useful way to spend marketing budget. It pinpoints the five Bond vineyards (Melbury, Quella, St. Eden, Vecina, and Pluribus), but has little other relevant information to make it practical for any other purpose. The information could’ve been contained on a regular single glossy sheet. But, then again, I’d be missing the point. That would be, indeed, regular. Standard. Not the stuff of luxury brands. Plus, who am I to say, here I am writing about this stuff!
The thing that makes me nervous about this order form, or “offering” to buy $275 bottles is that the wines ship in custom wood cases. It’s the kiss of death when it comes to my wife Loni the collector. We have boxes of gorgeous Harlan Maiden vintages in the cellar just waiting for a special day far, far in the future. Most have not even been opened, which as regular readers will know goes against every practical, must-live-for-the-moment fibre in my body. So far as we know, they contain bottles of water and sophisticated tracking devices.
The whole episode… well… shocking. Positively shocking.