Wine away at "Toast of the Town"

Wine Enthusiast Co. is using a casual, inviting experiential marketing event, "Toast of the Town," to promote its eponymous publication and brand products to novices and experts alike - much like a wine tasting aims to showcase the product rather than put off the consumer with affectations of the industry.

Wine Enthusiast Co. is using a casual, inviting experiential marketing event, Toast of the Town, to promote its eponymous publication and brand products to novices and experts alike - much like a wine tasting aims to showcase the product rather than put off the consumer with affectations of the industry. Can you distinguish between d├ęgorgement and decanting? No matter.

Toast of the Town brings together vendors, music, networking, and a silent auction to benefit charity. The series of events that moves from city to city, seeks to "appeal to active core wine consumers, from the novice to the connoisseur, and cover the entire market," said David Talbot, Wine Enthusiast SVP of publishing and events. The key demo for this event is late twenties and thirties urbanites, interested in learning about food and wine.

"Toast of the Town is the Wine Enthusiast [brand] and magazine comes to life," Talbot said.

Assisted by Calhoun & Company Communications in San Francisco [March 27] and the GCI Group in Atlanta [April 17], Chicago [May 1], and New York [May 19], the national "Toast of the Town" events series attract almost 500 wine and spirits brands, more than 120 local restaurants, and nearly 4,000 wine enthusiasts.

The two PR teams promoted Wine Enthusiasts' relevance and brand power, by media outreach to print and online titles concerned with food, wine, and high culture, along with social media.

WOM marketing, generated by inviting popular restaurants and venues in each local market to participate, helped sell out tickets. Participating restaurants included Chez Panisse and Serendipity3, and venues included the Atlanta Aquarium and the San Francisco Opera House.

The event's success will be measured by attendance figures and media coverage.

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