Two local trade groups recently collaborated to present the yin and yang of San Luis Obispo County’s wines to Northern and Southern California consumers.
Directors from the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance joined the San Luis Obispo Vintners Association to serve and discuss 10 wines from Paso Robles, Edna and Arroyo Grande valleys. The emphasis was on diversity.
“We are as different as Burgundy and Bordeaux,” said Stacy Jacob, executive director of the Paso Robles association. “For the most part, we make different wines.”
Taking advantage of an opportunity to cross-promote, the leaders believe they can raise awareness about both regions and drive wine tourism.
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They were prompted by the Wine Institute’s California Wine Month promotions. The statewide organization hosted trade and media tastings attended by both groups.
So they also collaborated on consumer events nearby:
Food-and-wine pairing at Morton’s The Steakhouse in San Jose on Sept. 13.
Winemaker dinner at Spruce restaurant in San Francisco on Sept. 14.
Retail tasting at K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood on Sept. 24.
The events were promoted to both organizations’ mailing lists, by the on-site hosts and via social media, said Becky Gray, executive director of the San Luis Obispo Vintners group.
“We’re really pitching that people come to San Luis Obispo County,” Gray said. The regions “really do balance each other.”
Warm Paso Robles summers are good for reds. Cooler coastal valleys offer climates suitable to whites, sparkling wines and pinot noir.
Similar collaboration might happen in the future “if opportunities present themselves,” both directors said. But don’t expect joint marketing to be a priority for either group, directors said. Their respective boards continue to focus on their own territories.
At home, both organizations offer events to celebrate and learn about the grape harvest:
Oct. 15 to 17 — Paso Robles wineries will offer 150 activities at 140 wineries, including a sampling of seasonal activities in vineyards and on crush pads. For information on Harvest Wine Weekend, see www.pasowine.com.
Nov. 5 to 7 — SLO Vintners will gather for the 20th annual Harvest Celebration with dinners, tours and the grand tasting and auction. Visit www.slowine.com for details.
With this column, I toast my return to writing The Tribune’s Wine Notes, appearing three times a month.
When I began writing for The Tribune in 1998, starting Wine Notes was my first assignment. I last penned it in 2003.
The local commercial wine industry was born in the 1970s, the same decade my family moved here. By the late 1990s, winery and vineyard growth began to explode.
Then there were just a few dozen wineries between San Miguel and Nipomo. Now 12 years later, the county boasts more than 200.
The industry has been touted as a source of wealth, development and employment. Its ripple effects have been felt on agriculture, tourism, real estate, restaurants and other areas of business.
Week after week, Wine Notes will offer relevant news, updates and analysis of events and trends affecting local producers, growers and consumers.
Do you have news for Wine Notes? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 441-4556.