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A playlist to celebrate The Golden State.

We at Parker Sanpei are hard-core Californiaphiles. (Where else can you ski and surf in the same day, grow lettuce year-round, be in the movies, define the cutting edge of technology and make top-of-class wines?)

In homage, we recently brainstormed our favorite songs about this beautiful place. May this serve as your new go-to summer playlist!

 

21-atxlAnd here’s one from a favorite musician (who also happens to be Central-Coast-born-and-bred), Damon Castillo, called “California Minute.”

Happy California Summer!

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Love your mother.

Planning something lovely for Mom this weekend?

This video, entitled “A New Perspective For Moms” went viral last year and we have saved it all this time to share with you. So what if we’re a bit behind the curve? The sentiment still holds true that we mothers are too hard on ourselves while our children are far more gracious with us than we ever realized. The perfect reminder for Mother’s Day.

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Naming the Winery: What works, what doesn’t, and what shouldn’t but does.

Working in the wine PR/marketing biz, we talk to new winery owners a lot about their names and brand messaging. And while we had planned on disclosing our thoughts on this subject here, we actually hit upon a fantastic beverage marketing agency in British Columbia that shares our stance entirely and does the job for us.

Earlier this year I purchased a book of (non-alcohol-related) packaging design studies from a New York design company, R.Bird. This collection of studies inspired me to collect the various research that we have done about the various aspects of wine branding, packaging, web design, etc. into one place. We wanted to share this research in hopes that it will help anyone who is starting a new winery or considering a rebrand/repositioning of their existing winery.

 – Hired Guns Creative, “How To Name A New Winery,” November 18, 2011

Hired Guns has gone through an extensive analysis of winery names, the types of names (e.g. based on family names, based on geography, flora and fauna, music references, etc.), the advantages and disadvantages of each, and a few favorites. For example, check out their color wheel that references winery names based on color. (Notice: not a lot of winery names living in the turquoise or purple regions!)

So what makes for a successful winery name? In a nutshell: A true story, something easy to pronounce and easy to remember. (Unless, of course, you’re Sine Qua Non. See below.) Also, it should go without saying that the wine in the bottle needs to taste good. Without that, no amount of marketing will help.

Below, a few favorite winery names and a peek at the story behind them.

Field Recordings and FICTION Wines

Andrew Jones is something of a man-about-town on the Central Coast wine scene. As a Field Representative for one of the U.S.’s major vine nurseries, he helps plant and manage vineyards across the California and beyond. Having stood in nearly every vineyard in the state, Andrew has a knack for spotting untapped potential and makes stellar wines accordingly. The name “Field Recordings” came to reflect his almost scientific approach to capturing the essence of each place in his wines.

Field Recordings is the personal catalog of the people and places we value most. Diamonds in the rough: sites that are unknown or under-appreciated but hold enormous untapped potential. As friendships are made and opportunities are embraced, we produce small quantities of soulful wines from these unusual, quiet vineyards.

 – www.FieldRecordingsWine.com

The back label for Field Recordings wines is austere – no tasting notes or ostentatious descriptions of the finish – yet exhaustive, with plenty of details to geek out on.

Field Recordings

FICTION wines, which are also made by Andrew Jones, are completely different. Naming the label “FICTION” was in direct reaction to the factual, scientific nature of Field Recordings. “There is no fluffy story with Field Recordings,” he says. “The back label shares just the facts.  FICTION on the other hand is a mysterious blend or a whole bunch of random varieties from random places that we mention nothing about.” Hence, the tongue-in-cheek approach to FICTION’s back label.

field-recordings-fiction-wh

Cypher Winery

Cypher_winery_logoCypher Winemaker Christian Tietje is known for being a larger-than-life personality in the Paso Robles wine biz. So it surprised a lot of folks when he changed the name of his popular Four Vines label to Cypher Wines, implying something obscure and hidden. Thankfully, the Cypher Wines website sums up Tietje’s rationale in his signature, outspoken style:

The thought behind naming our new label Cypher was that the process of growing and creating a fantastic wine is like unlocking a puzzle or riddle. There is no play book, no recipe….whenever you deal with mother nature, you are certain to be thrown curve balls. Winemaking is no exception, and without blending enough art into the science you will fall short of extraordinary. Winemaking by the numbers equals boring, uninteresting, ‘safe’ wines. Yaaaaaaaawwwwwn.”

 – www.CypherWinery.com

Dark Star Cellars

Dark Star” was put on a long list of potential names for the winery because Norm [Norm Benson, Dark Stars' Owner and Winemaker] believed it symbolized his goal of producing ‘stellar’ red wines, or ‘dark stars…’

Dark_Star_Cellars_PRWCA.Label (266x300)

“‘Angeli d’Altri Tempi,’ ‘angels from other times,’ symbolizes how people that you have come in contact with, your parents, siblings, and friends have all left some “imprint” on your personality and your values. Their influence, collectively, make you who you are today. The three panels that encase the dark star symbolize the past, the present, and the future. Dark Star believes you must never under-value, or forget the positive influence people have had on your life in the past. You should not take for granted the help and support you receive from the people in your present life, and of course, the mystery of whom you will meet in the future.”

 – http://www.DarkStarCellars.com

Autonom Wines

Autonom

“Autonom is a project of passion for Winemaker Paul Wilkins, which reflects Paul’s love for Rhône varietal wines and cuvées. This love was born during his work as a harvest intern in the cellar with John Alban at Alban Vineyards while he was still in college.Paul remained with Alban through seven celebrated vintages before opening his own agency, Wilkins Vinotech, which provides winery and vineyard consulting services to existing and start-up wine brands. In 2005, he joined in a business partnership with longtime friend James Ontiveros as Winemaker for Alta Maria Vineyards, which focuses on Santa Maria Valley-designate Burgundy varieties. In 2010, Paul débuted his own Rhône-focused brand with varietal wines and cuvées from contrasting sites throughout California.  The brand name, AUTONOM, refers to Paul’s freedom from a long history of working for other producers.

 – http://www.AltaMariaVineyards.com

Sine Qua Non

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Naming a winery after an obscure, impossible-to-remember-and-pronounce phrase from a dead language should have been economic suicide for Sine Qua Non‘s Owner and Winemaker, Manfred Krankl. But the contents of his bottles are so fiendishly sought-after that no one cares about the name; in fact, perhaps its obscurity makes it even more desirable. According to an interview with Krankl in Forbes several years ago, Sine Qua Non is

“Latin for something essential (literally ‘without which nothing’). Krankl claims not to remember how, or why, he and wife Elaine came up with it. (They pronounce it ‘sinny-kwah-non.’)”

- Richard Nalley, “The Krankl Cult,” Forbes Life, September 6, 2008

Even after 18 years, the literary, painterly Krankl still does his own artwork for each Sine Qua Non label. He and Elaine also still do their own marketing, which…really doesn’t look like marketing at all. Nor does it need to;With a microscopic waiting list, an annual production of 3,500 cases, and a handful of previously released wines that fetch north of $3,500, Sine Qua Non’s cult status is secured for the long haul.

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Sanpei Optics on the Go with Indiegogo

It’s a thrilling week in the Parker Sanpei office! Richard and Linda, our fearless leaders, are the kind of people that don’t stop after growing a successful lifestyle public relations company; instead, they continue to push forward into a new industry with the creation of their patented design for audio-adaptable sunglasses. The Sanpei Optics project reached a new milestone yesterday with the launch of our first crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo.com!

First, a bit of background for those not yet up to speed on the innovative eyewear of Sanpei Optics. Integration of a flexing patented hinge that allows you to click your ear buds right into the sunglasses, brings new functionality and fun to your eyewear options. Two styles, the I.M.I.O. (Inspire Me, Inspire Others) and the G.I.Y.A. (Give It Your All), mean that from the mountain biker to the runner to the fashionista in the sun, these glasses combine functionality and style as you listen to your tunes on the go.

With the designs complete and the pieces in place to bring the glasses to market, Sanpei Optics is turning to you to take us to the next level. The rise in popularity of crowdfunding through sites like indiegogo and Kickstarter has opened new doors for businesses and organizations throughout the world; watching the many successes of this new social movement, we have decided to join the fun with hopes to send Sanpei Optics forward and, for the first time, offer these glasses to the public!

Visit our indiegogo page and watch the video of Sanpei Optics in action. Then, after you imagine the many ways you would love to use your own pair, join the movement by supporting our campaign. The goal is to hit $30,000 but we are confident that with the tremendous support of our fans we can exceed that target! Contribution to the fundraising efforts not only means you get in on the ground level of this new movement but it also gives you the opportunity to grab ahold of your own Sanpei Optics merchandise! There is a full spectrum of funding participation levels to fit any budget. Join at a level of $90 or more and you secure your spot as one of the first owners of a pair of I.M.I.O. or G.I.Y.A. glasses from Sanpei Optics! We want to be sure you are able to enjoy the full audio-adaptable eyewear experience; for this reason every package that includes the glasses also includes ear buds.

Spreading the excitement for our new product launch with people everywhere feeds new energy into our organization – we love seeing the enthusiastic responses we get from demonstrating the functionality and innovation of these glasses. And, of course, we here at PSPR are already addicted to them! Let’s indiegogo!

G.I.Y.A. – “Give It Your All.”

I.M.I.O. – “Inspire Me, Inspire Others.”

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Stone’s Ginger Tradition Brings Spunk and Zing to Your Favorite Cocktails

Pondering out beverage needs, we realize there are those times – fall heat spikes (like the one we currently find ourselves in), a poolside mini-vacation or even a mid-winter yearning for the taste of summer – when a frozen alternative sounds pretty tasty. We were recently introduced to Stone’s frozen cocktails, a new option to meet this frosty need. Released this summer, these cocktails infuse the signature ginger twist of Stone’s with convenience and refreshing flavor.

Flavors include Piña Colada, Lemonade, Margarita and, our personal favorite, Mojito. Inspired by it’s British roots dating back to the 1740’s, these cocktails embody original recipes that became popularly associated with Stone’s Ginger Wine. See below for the unique twist found in each of the flavors:

  • Piña Colada – This perfect poolside drink features tropical flavors of coconut and pineapple sweetening the deal before finishing with a clean ginger kick.
  • Lemonade – This is no plain ol’ version of mom’s lemonade; the Stone’s hint of ginger brings new spunk to this Americana favorite.
  • Margarita – Take the classic margarita recipe, infuse citrus bursts of orange, lemon and lime, and finish with the trademark ginger twist for a great complement to your next taco night.
  • Mojito – Cool mint flavors are juxtaposed to the signature ginger giving this classic drink new zing. A smooth finish of lime and watermelon leaves you craving more.

Mojito, Margarita, Pina Colada and Lemonade with a Ginger Twist!

Centuries of Stone’s ginger flavored tradition meets modern day spunk in a convenient, ready-to-serve frozen pouch. We’re already planning out next warm-weather gathering with Stone’s. Delightful flavors and clean ginger complements lend for a new favorite frozen cocktail amongst the Parker Sanpei crew.

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MCVGA’s Rhonda Motil Achieves Success with CDFA Grant Program

The team here at Parker Sanpei has been thrilled to work with the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association over the past half dozen years and to watch the region evolve under the stewardship of Executive Director Rhonda Motil, who is an absolute delight to work with. We couldn’t be more pleased to announce that Rhonda has been selected to present an overview and participate in a panel discussion regarding the successful CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant, which was awarded in 2009 and completed this year, to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. The presentation took place yesterday, October 2, 2012, at the CDFA board meeting in Sacramento.

The grant was responsible for the creation of a thorough AVA map of Monterey County’s nine AVAs accompanied by new branding messaging, a new searchable database and the Signature Series Wine Collection (a collaborative winemaking effort of some of the region’s top winemakers sourcing grapes from three vineyards within four AVAs for the blending of the Signature Series wines). In addition, the MCVGA was able to use the grant to bring national media attention to the region and provide key journalists in the wine industry with a greater understanding of the County and its AVAs.

As a result, MCVGA member wineries have experienced tremendous growth. Grower-vintners had hoped to have experienced a collective 10% increase in Monterey AVA wines. A sampling of over 20% of the winery membership indicated that all members experienced or exceeded this growth. Additionally, independent studies have confirmed a 23% increase in consumer awareness, with visitors now recognizing Monterey as a winegrowing region and participating in wine tasting while visiting the region.

Thank you, Rhonda, for all of your hard work! Monterey is so lucky to have you!

Rhonda Motil, Executive Director of the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association with husband Mike

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Worth celebrating: Twenty years of Monterey Wine Country.

Want to experience the best wines Monterey County has to offer and rub elbows with the winemakers? The 20th Annual Winemakers’ Celebration is for you.

On Saturday, August 11th from 1 to 4pm, over 40 wineries will pour over 150 wines at the outdoor summer festival.  Hosted by the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association (MCVGA), the event will be held at the newly expanded Barnyard Shopping Village outdoor event area in Carmel.  The event sold out in 2011 and this milestone anniversary is certain to generate enthusiasm for the growing wine region.

Nine American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) make up the world-class designation of Monterey County, including Monterey, Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco, San Lucas, Hames Valley, Chalone, Carmel Valley, San Antonio Valley, and San Bernabe. The region’s 200 vineyards run from the cooler north, heavily influenced from the Monterey Bay, to the warmer southern end, influenced by late afternoon winds and resulting cool temperatures later in the day.  At the Winemakers’ Celebration, vintners and growers will be on hand to discuss their craft and showcase how 42 varietals flourish in this singular winegrowing region.

The Winemakers’ Celebration festivities will include:

  • Meet-the-winemaker opportunities in an exclusive tasting of Monterey wines
  • Culinary samples from international restaurants located in the Barnyard Shopping Village
  • Dancing to local blues favorite Red Beans & Rice
  • Beautiful and informative displays on the winemaking process
  • The bidding excitement of a silent auction including numerous lifestyle packages, special wine items, photo sessions, hotel stays, restaurant gift certificates, and more
  • A “Try & Buy Marketplace” where featured wineries and restaurants will offer guests special pricing to be enjoyed the day of the celebration and beyond

Red Beans & Rice

Guests will indulge in great local food from the Barnyard restaurants, including: Pieces of Heaven, Lugano Swiss Bistro, From Scratch, Allegro Gourmet Pizzeria, Carmel Coffee Roasters, Bahama Island Steakhouse, Erik’s Deli Café and Flanagan’s Café. Vendors will include Chris’s Stuff, Pueblo Bonito, De Castro Family Olive Oil Company and Emi’s Biscotteria.

Tickets for the 20th Annual Winemakers’ Celebration are available online at http://www.MontereyWines.org or by calling 831.375.9400.  $35 in advance / $45 day of event / $15 Designated Driver.

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