Mazza Wines – old
Mazza Wines – old
Pennsylvania Winery Association
The most common question we get when we say we worked with Pennsylvania Wines is “Oh, cool! Which winery is your client?” The answer: “All of them.”
The Pennsylvania Winery Association represents the totality of PA’s wine industry — currently clocking in at 300 individual wineries across 67 counties. Our role wavered between champion and mythbuster, conveying an impressively massive story made up of hundreds of unique and diverse small businesses, while dispelling long-held and outdated perceptions of the quality of the product they were producing.
For nearly a decade, we worked to legitimize, celebrate, and elevate the makers, farmers, and growers behind the product while consistently driving increasing public fandom and visitation to tastings rooms year over year (over year over year).
First things first
The work began with a complete rebrand of the organization. No big deal, right? The group’s government-y* look and feel was refreshed with a more appropriate consumer-facing identity that captured the bold spirit and approachability of the local wine scene. After all, wine’s supposed to be fun, right?!
* Yes, that’s a word.
A good old-fashioned ad campaign provided marketing “ground cover” for 12 months a year, rotating messages as seasonally appropriate from promoting product purchase to tasting room visitation to a general awareness of the increasing presence of local wines in stores, bars, and restaurants.
As general marketing campaigns must, the message equally supported the small, quality producers, the larger entertainment-focused venues, and all of the iterations of local wineries in between — because there are loyal and enthusiastic consumers for all of them.
In 2016, we launched the PA Wine Land Post, an online content channel for and about Pennsylvania Wines.
Hundreds of articles, videos, listicles, and interviews later, the PA Wine Land Post is a robust destination for all things wine — from food pairings to winemaker profiles to wine tasting education to profiles on dozens of local wines.
The channel was intended to demystify the local wine scene by educating and empowering people to feel comfortable and informed as they walked into a tasting room whether they were a sommelier, wine tourist, or in one particular case, a gold medal Olympian.
We are busy. Winery owners are busier. Part of our job was to make THEIR jobs easier, at least when it came to marketing. We developed, promoted, and distributed an ever-growing suite of consumer-facing print collateral for wineries to utilize in their tasting rooms. From pairing tips to a statewide directory to 120-page travel guide, we helped the hardworking winery owners tell the professional story that they didn’t have time to tell on their own (because, you know, they were busy making wine).
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a sip is worth ten thousand. In 2016, we launched Sommelier Judgment, an annual gathering sommeliers, beverage directors, and other wise wine connoisseurs for a blind tasting of submitted Pennsylvania wines. The top ranked wines are snapped up by beverage directors, wine buyers, and sommeliers across the region for top billing on their local wine lists and are equally sought after by local and national wine and beverage writers with their fingers on the pulse of the thriving Pennsylvania wine scene.
Camp Pennawine, a super-special-VIP experience for press and influencers, was launched in 2017 and to date, has been held in 4 of the 6 regions of the state. For two days, our VIP guests are treated to behind-the-scenes tours of local wineries, chats with winemakers, and are (quite literally) wined and dined in hyper-local style. The event has elicited press coverage in national publications — and has turned media influencers into loyal PA wine lovers.
It would be easy to reach into the bag of a nearly ten year collaboration and pull out a particular award that we won or visitation statistic that we exceeded, but truly what makes us the proudest is much less flashy. The PWA is a grant-funded organization, meaning its mere existence relies on impressing a board of funders each year with a strategic and goals-oriented proposal for future marketing and activities. SWELL co-authored every grant application over the course of our engagement, consistently expanding our thinking, pushing towards increasingly ambitious goals, and succeeded in increasing the organizations funding year over year.