SEATTLE: The Washington Wine Commission is launching a branding campaign to let both wine aficionados and amateurs know that the state has the perfect climate for wine, despite its soggy reputation.
"There is a perception that it rains a lot in Washington," said Melanie Wilhoite, EVP and deputy GM of Edelman's Seattle office. "But most of the wineries are in the eastern part of the state, where the weather is much better for making wine."
The commission tapped Edelman in July to create the campaign, including a new logo and tagline: "Washington state - the perfect climate for wine." The campaign will strive to change perceptions first locally, then nationally.
"This campaign is about establishing a sense of place and building credibility," said Jane Baxter Lynn, the commission's executive director. "We will reach out to local groups, from the media to restaurants."
"Our efforts for the past eight to 10 years have been focused on the wine; we haven't paid as much attention to wine tourism," she added. "We want to change that."
Next to California, Washington is one of the most fertile and active winemaking regions in the US, with more than 300 wineries, explained Wilhoite. Wine connoisseurs and wine publications know about the state's viticultural prominence, but many casual wine drinkers do not.
"The farther away you get from Washington, the less people are aware that the state has
so many wineries or even makes wine," says Wilhoite.
Media relations and events marketing efforts, along with advertising, will roll out across the country after an initial focus in the Northwest.