In one corner: Picasso.
In the other: wine impresario Jean-Charles Boisset.
A wine marketing cage match is born.
Most sales collateral is repetitive, non-imaginative, and quite forgettable. But, occasionally, I receive a piece in the mail that captures my attention. It’s at these moments, I pour a Sonoma Chard, shutdown Chrome, and enjoy some old-school paper-based marketing analysis.
Harlan Estate: Dream!
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
Harlan Estate is the winery of few words. But they are oh-so magical. Here, in a piece that came in the mail, a short quote by famed artist Pablo Picasso:
Unlike most wine marketing material, this mailer is postcard-sized, rather than the more traditional 8 1/2 x 11″ letters we’ve become most accustomed to over the years. Also atypical: there’s no order form, let alone any information whatsoever pertaining to price, variety. In fact, unless you were familiar with Harlan, you might think this card was possibly from an art gallery. And, I’d guess, that’s largely the point…
When you buy a Picasso (you know, when you’re bored of buying Monet), you likely don’t use an order form, or even care about the price so much. It’s Picasso! And this is… Harlan!
The Harlan mailer, then, is a subtle reminder that their wine is special and that it’s possibly beyond the fray, that you won’t find it on the shelves of TJ’s or Bevmo, and that it’s a most lust-worthy object of affection. Dream on.
Jean-Charles Boisset: Party!
“Jewelry fulfills ladies’ desires and men’s anticipations with its stunning significance where dreams meet reality.”
Isn’t that line from Barbarella?
Indeed, JCB is the life of the party. Er — correction — JCB is the party!
Anyone who has frequented Napa or Sonoma over the years has likely come across one of Jean-Charles Boisset’s wineries. Most notably he hosts often slightly bizarre tastings (often featuring Counts and actors in costume) at the newly renovated Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma, and the most definitely bizarre and crazy entertaining “Napa Gras” at Raymond Vineyards in Napa. That party, held during the week of the Premiere Napa Valley, marks the first moment I’ve been served a glass of sparkling wine by an acrobat, hanging upside down in a barrel room. To the video evidence on a whimsical evening in Napa when Loni Stark and I attended Napa Gras:
With that backstory, it’s likely no surprise that marketing for the Boissett Collection Family is rich with passion! art de vivre! true pleasures! and… exclamation marks:
Note how JCB’s signature subtly incorporates a heart. And, a quick Google reveals he’s also known as “Agent 69”. And you thought Napa was staid?