The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), Sacramento, Calif., has selected one of the world largest consumer marketing agencies and a St. Helena, Calif. communication firm well-known in the food and beverage industry, to launch a campaign to promote California wine.

CAWG selected Weber Shandwick with offices worldwide and Cronin Communications, from the Napa Valley, to launch a campaign to inform U.S. wine consumers and wine trade media of the vineyard practices that add value to California wines. The campaign will place emphasis on the many growing areas of California wine country and bring to life the reasons why California wines are diverse, unique, and of superior quality and value at every price point, according to Karen Ross, CAWG president.

“We conducted a thorough agency review and were extremely excited about Weber Shandwick’s approach to promoting California wine country in a creative new way,” said Ross. “Together with Cronin Communications, which has extensive background and knowledge of our industry and wine trade media, they bring the right combination of experience, resources and talented professionals to create an effective campaign that will show consumers and wine media the value of the wine grape practices that make California wine so special. We are pleased to begin these valuable new partnerships as we initiate a campaign that is important to our industry.”

The campaign is being funded by voluntary contributions from growers and others interested in promoting California. By the end of the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento in January, more than $300,000 had been raised toward a goal of $500,000. Leaders of CAWG, however, say it will require a statewide mandatory assessment via a grower-supported commission to raise the amount of money necessary to fund an effective, widespread California wine promotion campaign.

Weber Shandwick’s Los Angeles and San Francisco offices will direct the CAWG-funded campaign. The campaign will include public relations, special events and visual communications, and will tap Weber Shandwick’s expertise in food and beverage and commodity board marketing.

Cronin Communications will initiate a targeted campaign designed to communicate to wine media outlets the on-going developments in growing techniques, vineyard practices and environmental sustainability issues that set California wine growers and their products apart.

“CAWG plays an important role in maintaining the health and success of an industry so critical to the state’s economy,” said Jennifer Vides Blake, senior vice president, consumer marketing for Weber Shandwick California. “Our team is looking forward to educating consumers on the diversity of the California wine growing regions and what its wine grape growers do to produce the great-tasting, high quality wines that are the pride of our state.”

CAWG is a voluntary organization was formed in 1974. It now represents the growers of more than 50 percent of the gross grape tonnage crushed for wine and concentrate in California.

About Weber Shandwick In 2006, Weber Shandwick was named Large PR Firm of the Year (PR News U.S.), European Consultancy of the Year (The Holmes Report) and Network of the Year (Asia Pacific PR Awards). The firm also won the United Nations Grand Award for outstanding achievement in public relations. Weber Shandwick is a unit of The Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG), which is one of the world's leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services companies.

It has 81 owned offices in 39 markets, and affiliates that expand its network to more than 119 offices in 72 markets.

email: hcline@farmpress.com