Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Raising Arizona and Getting Local in the Neighborhood: State's First 100% Locally-Produced Wine Offers Win-Win for Tesco's Fresh & Easy Arizona Stores

Maynard James Keenan (sitting with hand on the wine bottle) and Eric Glomski (long hair and standing) conduct an in-store bottle-signing event last week in a Sportsman's Wine & Spirits store for their new, 100% Arizona-produced Tazi white wine. (Photo: Scott Jungman/Yuma Sun.)

Today's issue of the Yuma Sun, a daily newspaper in Arizona, reports on the first 100% Arizona-produced wine, which has been created by a pair of winemaker partners who are trying to gain distribution in the state's supermarkets and wine and spirits stores.

The 100% Arizona-made wine, a white wine blend named Tazi, which is a combination of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Malvasia Bianca, is being marketed by Eric Glomski and Maynard James Kennan, the winemaker partners in Arizona's Stronghold Vineyard, which is located near Wilcox, Ariizona in Chochise County.

There are about 24 wineries in Arizona, but Stronghold Vineyard is the first and currently only winery to create 100% made-in-Arizona wine with its Tazi white wine blend.

Tazi, which the partners just started pitching to retailers a couple weeks ago, is currently being sold in three supermarkets and two wine stores owned by Arizona-based supermarket chain Bashas, two Whole Foods Market natural foods supermarkets and a number of independent wine shops.

More Bashas'-owned stores (both the Basha's banner and its upscale A.J's Fine Foods banner) are looking to carry the local wine as well. The two wine superstores currently seling Tazi are part of the Sportsman's Wine and Spirits chain, which is owned by Basha's.

Read the article from today's Yuma Sun about Tazi, the first 100%-made in Arizona wine here.

Partners Glomski and Keenan are introducing the local, 100% Arizona-produced wine in retail stores personally, conducting bottle-signings and other in-store special events.

The Fresh & Easy angle

We called Stronghold Vineyards to find out if Tesco's Fresh & Easy grocery stores in Arizona were carrying the locally-produced Tazi wine. A spokesperson told us the grocer was not currently selling the local wine brand.

It would be a smart and savvy move for Fresh & Easy Neighborhood market to call Arizona winemakers and marketers Glomski and Kennan and order five or six cases of Tazi, 100% Arizona-produced wine for each of the 17 Fresh & Easy grocery stores currently open in Arizona, along with booking the partners for bottle-signing promotional events in the stores.


First, as we reported on April 25, a major element of the marketing-oriented public relations campaign Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is currently developing with its new PR firm invloves a major campaign designed to position and publicize the grocer's Fresh & Easy store brand fresh foods and grocery products, along with the stores' proprietary and overall wine selection. The grocer's goal: make the foods and wines known and famous.

Second, as we've suggested and argued on Fresh & Easy Buzz for some months, Tesco's Fresh & Easy stores need to do a far better job of localizing the stores' product mixes to the regions, communities and neighborhoods where the stores are located. American consumers love local products--and Fresh & Easy isn't marketing and merchandising to that important aspect of U.S. shopper behavior.

Selling the local wine (Tazi) a win-win

By stocking and promoting the 100% Arizona-made Tazi wine in its Arizona stores, Fresh & Easy would be achieving two things: raising its wine retailing profile in Arizona by becoming the state's current number one retailer of the local wine brand, and enhancing it's store's local product mix.

The reason it would be Arizona's number one retailer of the local wine brand, is because currently only five Bashas'-owned stores, two Whole Foods Market natural foods supermarkets and a number of single-store independent wine shops are selling the wine, which the partners' just started to distribute a couple weeks ago.

Since Fresh & Easy has about 17 stores operating in Arizona, if it sells the Arizona-produced wine in all those stores, it would immediatly become the de facto number one retailer of the locally-produced Tazi white wine in the state.

While adding one item, the local wine brand, to the store does not a local marketing mix make, it's a key move because Tazi is the first 100% Arizona-made wine. First in such cases are good things.

As a result, Fresh & Easy can generate lots of media attention by selling and promoting the local wine in all its Arizona stores, especially by having the winemaking partners do bottle- signing events in each store.

As a result, some good positioning for Fresh & Easy's wine offerings in its Arizona stores will occur from all the publicity generated by merchandising the wine (and touting it well) and having the winemakers in-store conducting the bottle signing events. This of course goes to the strategic marketing-oriented PR campaign goal we described above. It also generates much needed general awareness for the stores.

More win-win in the neighborhood

Here are a few win-win results of bringing in and promoting the local Tazi wine in-store and through the media:

>Enhances credibility as a supporter of local agriculture
>Creates excitement in the stores around a local theme
>Generates lots of press with a positive angle, ie: localization
>Supports local entreprenuers, which helps put the "neighborhood" in Neighborhood Market
>Helps towards goal of positioning store wine selections
>Demonstrates desire to support local businesses
>Earns increased local consumer goodwill

We didn't list it above, but since we hear the local Tazi wine is selling very well in the stores its currently in--especially during the in-store bottle signing events with the partners--Fresh & Easy also is likely to obtain the added benefit of increased wine sales from bringing in the 100% Arizona-made wine.

People love products produced in the place where they live; that's one reason local foods' buying is such as fast-growing trend in the U.S. and elsewhere. It feeds into one's sense-of-place emotionally, as well as having practical economic implications: the more local products you buy the more you support your local economy.

Were we in-charge of marketing and merchandising for Tesco's Fresh & Easy, we would call the makers of Tazi white wine tomorrow and have them reserve 5 or 6 cases of their locally-produced wine per-Fresh & Easy store for delivery as soon as possible. We also would condition that sale on having them agree to do one in-store bottle-signing event per-store as a way to introduce the new 100% Arizona-produced wine in the stores.

Of course, each of those in-store events would be publicized to the local print and broadcast media, as well as touted in the grocer's retail advertising circular in advance. Local food and wine writers would be invited to the in-store events, as would other selects members of the local media.

The great thing about bringing the local wine into the stores and promoting it in-store and via the media, is that its a good thing for all of the stakeholders involved...a win-win. Doing so helps Fresh & Easy, the fledgling winemaker partners who's long-term goal it is to build an Arizona wine industry, and the state's agricultural industry.

It also generates lots of local consumer goodwill--and probably many new, first time shoppers to the Arizona Fresh & Easy stores. Such win-wins aren't usually so easy--and logical--to find.

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