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Californian wines come out

Respected Napa Valley winemakers Merryvale Vineyards are slanting their marketing towards gay consumers.

Their main advertising campaign has been modified slightly and features the line ‘Celebrate. Come out to Merryvale.’

This is a marketing move similar to those in the world of alcopops where such brands as Archers Aqua are specifically targeting the young female consumer with ‘Something for the ladies’.

By aiming their wines at the gay population, Merryvale is looking for a niche in a market that is, according to many, struggling with oversupply.

‘They want to find a situation where they can have the undivided attention of the consumer,’ Paul Wagner, a Napa Valley marketing executive, told Michelle Locke of the Associated Press.

Merryvale is not the only Californian winery to have had a ‘coming out’ lately. Rainbow Ridge wines are gay-owned and proud. Launched in early 2003, their labels feature a rainbow coloured cluster of grapes and the grape variety used to make the wines is also a minority – Alicante Bouschet.

The gay community is often targeted for its spending power as it is considered very consumer-driven and affluent.

‘It’s not just a marketing thing, it’s also a community outreach,’ said Jean DeLuca, marketing director of Merryvale. The winery has supported various gay events over the last year, including celebrations in its cask room.

One winemaker that has also benefited, albeit unintentionally, is Bordeaux-based Château la Croix de Gay which has found a strong following in San Francisco.

Written by Oliver Styles

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