Rueda wines look to make a splash in US

White wines of Spain's Rueda region are the country's market leaders, but they're relatively unknown to US consumers.

Client: D.O. Rueda (Valladolid, Spain)
Agency: Colangelo and Partners PR (New York)
Campaign: Verdejo Day
Duration: April 2014 - June 12, 2014
Budget: about $96,500 (includes $35,500 for ads)

White wines of Spain’s Rueda region are the country’s market leaders, but they’re relatively unknown to US consumers.

D.O. Rueda, a consortium of wineries in the region, hired Colangelo and Partners PR as its US AOR in June 2013 to communicate Rueda wines’ value proposition and build brand recognition of Verdejo – the region’s indigenous, signature grape.

The year-long effort was capped off with a campaign promoting Verdejo Day events, which were held on June 12 in New York, Miami, Chicago, and LA.

"We wanted to promote Rueda wines to US consumers, but also educate about the Verdejo grape and link it with the Rueda region," explained Mario Muñoz Blanco, the director of exports and marketing for the D.O. Rueda. "[For the first annual Verdejo Day] we wanted to do something fresh and original in open-air venues where wine lovers could enjoy Rueda wines."

Strategy
Media relations, social media engagement, and select online ads drove awareness of the events and messaging, which focused on equating Verdejo with Rueda.

"We want to own Verdejo for Rueda to counter competitors from other regions that are making Verdejo-based wines," says agency president Gino Colangelo. "Rueda Day accomplishes this and establishes an annual point in time to drive messaging."  

Tactics
The agency emailed event invitations to its proprietary consumer database of wine lovers and foodies. 

In mid-April the team began pitching traditional media outlets and blogs covering events, wine, food, Spanish culture, lifestyle, and news in each local market. Wine trades were also pitched.

Event information was also given to wine groups, Spain-related groups, and foodie groups in the four cities.

US Rueda importers were informed of the campaign and could request materials to help promote Verdejo Day.

Gonzalo Gutierrez, project manager for the agency in Spain, pitched Spanish outlets to raise awareness there of Verdejo Day.

Verdejo Day events were hosted in trendy venues with outdoor spaces, such as Oviatt Penthouse in LA and Soho Beach House in Miami.

Twitter and Facebook posts made by guests with the hashtag #VerdejoDay were streamed in real-time on plasma screens at the events in Chicago, New York, and Miami. People who posted got small Rueda- and Verdejo-branded prizes such as stress balls and tattoos.

"We wanted to give attendees a sense of being part of a national event," explains Gutierrez. 

Party posts were integrated on VerdejoDay.com, which the agency created and launched in April to house information about the events, wines, and more. The site also linked to WinesofRueda.com.

The team promoted the events on Rueda’s Facebook page and posted live from each venue.

Event highlights were pitched in mid-June to US national consumer outlets and wine trades. 

Results
Blanco is very pleased with results. Though export sales numbers for 2014 are not yet available, he notes some participating wineries anticipate US sales for the first seven months of 2014 will be up between 10% and 15% over the same months last year.

To date, VerdejoDay.com has drawn 3,788 total visits and 11,563 total page views.  

Fifty earned stories ran (more than 13 million impressions) in outlets including Bizjournal.com, International Business Times, MiamiHerald.com, and SegoviaAudaz in Spain

The campaign had a Facebook reach of 518,543 and drove 1,048 new likes. Twitter reach wasn’t measured, but the hashtag #VerdejoDay was used in 365 consumer posts.

About 500 people total attended the events, which exceeded expectations by about 100.

Future
Blanco says Colangelo and Partners PR will likely continue working with D.O. Rueda on a new, five-year US campaign that will be conducted in partnership with D.O. Ribera del Duero (a region known for its red wines). That campaign is expected to launch early next year.

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