A Wine To Meet The Memes
by Julie Ann Kodmur
Hey, it’s a pandemic. No joke, of course. I’m sure my experience as a wine publicist isn’t unique: it’s not exactly been a robust couple of months, since wineries are jettisoning this type of service just to stay afloat.
That said, some wineries tried to pivot and do something very much of the moment.
One of those was winemaker/entrepreneur Grant Long, known for Aonair and Reverie II, two small Napa Valley wineries. Because he had access to great fruit which didn’t have a home….he thought he’d be bold and speak to the time, literally. He created a line of wines called TP Reserve. There’s an artful label with an unspooling roll. There’s a whimsical video of harvesting rolls in a vineyard. There’s an easy-to-read website with all the right info easily at hand.
And then there was reaching out for a publicity campaign.
I joined the team to launch these wines.
Wine Spectator noticed, quoting Grant Long “T.P. Reserve wines really came from trying to find a way to bring a slight bit of levity to a stressful time while also trying to be proactive as a small family winery.”
There was a podcast episode and another one. Local radio and a mention in Food & Wine Magazine, acknowledging the project as a sign of the times: “Every Father’s Day, Dads across America are surprised with hit-or-miss gifts….Get ahead of the curve and surprise dad with a boozy gift he’ll actually be thrilled to receive on Father’s Day—perhaps one that will even give him a genuine chuckle, like the newly-released T.P. Reserve wines, which sport a sanitized clean and sleek label featuring an accidentally iconic image of the times: a roll of Toilet Paper.”
And then a profile, which captured the rationale exactly: “…the recent new series of wines from Napa Valley winemaker Grant Long Jr, which put the most precious commodity of 2020 right on the front label. Anybody can have wine. But only the well-prepared, TP Reserve was created by Long much like paper mills create toilet paper itself: from spare parts. The marketing photos and video are hilarious – long walks through an Atlas Peak vineyard with toilet paper rolls “growing” on vines.”
And finally a review or two…
Why did it work? A lot of variables coming together, including:
- A good ‘origin story’
- A ‘real’ winemaker
- Great graphics
- A responsive team who could refine the website in a snap
In fact, that last variable deserves some discussion. Humor is relative, right? What’s hilarious to someone might be crude to someone else. What might be mildly funny to someone could be gotta-give-‘em-credit to someone else. Yes, of course it’s a pandemic, but this Corona-time will be remembered not only for the tragedies all around us but for the memes and flashes of humor which brought us all together. Maybe you weren’t baking banana bread or sourdough…maybe you were looking for the latest Randy Rainbow or Lincoln Project Instagram. Hopefully not doomscrolling.
The lesson I learned in pitching TP Reserve was indeed that glass-half-full aspect of tough times. There has to be a glimmer of hope and warmth and, yes, humor, to get us through.
Why not?! Here’s the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2KpFjLS7xA
In closing, my thanks to the TP Reserve team for including me in their adventure.