Rack of red wine bottles from a cellar

Customer Take Over: Nick, or Tom, or… We Don’t Know πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€¦πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

Fun thing about open calls for customers to takeover the blog: the weird stuff you receive.Β  See below.

An email of unsolicited advice came back to us from a Nick, but signed by a Tom, looking into the customer database, especially as the content is about serving our wine, we came up with no results by email, name, last name, variations of names, nada.Β  So as we stated, we’re letting you take over, and so we will publish the content, even if you’re our mystery customer who doesn’t exist.

With one small twist…

This will be a call and response post, hope everyone enjoys!

Tom, Nick, Whoever: “I love CHWINE. I buy it often. I offer it to friends at dinnertime and often long into the night. Recently I grilled some salt-spice rubbed steaks, a few veggies and some polenta cakes…a screaming invitation to pair a hearty RED wine. I put two bottles of ZIN on the table. CHWINE and a well known ZIN from Sonoma (city). The Sonoma ZIN disappeared about twice as fast as the CHWINE ZIN…I evaluated both ZINs as “very equal” or almost too close to call in terms of enjoyment. I conducted a poll: Why did you pick the ZIN you picked? What did you think of the CHWINE label?”

Ok, so we’ll pause here.Β  If you conduct a wine poll by pointing out the label specifically, you have shown your own bias about the label as a subject and removed open objective self-created opinions from your pool about the wines in general vs. each other.Β  Intonation in your voice, the mere mention of it, drawing attention to it, skews your pool, effectively rendering your “poll” ineffective.

Moving on…

“Aside from me ( I was a CHWINE ZIN drinker) everyone said: “The XXXX Winery Label looks like a winery label, the CHWINE label looks like a cleaning product/mystery product/ unknown product”. I had to take a quick look again at the CHWINE label…they were NOT as wrong as I thought they were.”

Yeah…so…about that…. The core of our brand philosophy is that a $25 bottle of wine and a $1300 bottle of wine actually come in at a very similar cost of goods (COGS) – and can be sourced from the same vineyard site in some rare cases too, so what are you paying for with the $1300 wine that the $25 wine isn’t delivering?Β  Marketing!Β And in most cases, an elaborate estate home and tasting room.Β  Under that umbrella of costs?Β  Fancy labels.Β  Artists original art that is purchased to be used on said fancy label.Β  A font that is created uniquely for your label, or even a script writer’s work for hand script, that they won’t do for free.Β  How about heavy fancy textured paper?Β  Costs money too.Β  Starting to sense a theme here, so moving along…hold on, “cleaning product?”Β  That is a healthy stretch, to say the least, lol.

Anyways, moving along…

“I then made everyone taste the CHWINE I was drinking…8 out of 9 felt it “was as good or better” than the wine they were enjoying from a LABELED WINERY. Wow, I thought, some minds/tastes were changeable. So I had to ask; “How many will buy a CHWINE when they next consider purchasing ANY wine?” Only 2 responded they would consider CHWINE. I asked the other 7, “why would you NOT consider a CHWINE that many of you felt was as good or better than the regular labeled wine you are drinking?”. To a person they said they would feel embarrassed to pour out of generic looking bottle. Hummm. “

Alright, so thank you for pointing this out, the wine is good if not better than the store brands, we wouldn’t put it out unless we were behind it 110%.Β  But again, you tainted your pool out the gate.Β  And, again, the point we wrote above should be referenced as to costs associated with such fancy labels.Β  It sounds like you might have missed your opportunity to explain to them why the labels look the way they do, you know, costs and all – exceptional wine, extraordinary value, excellent value proposition, great QPR, everything this brand has been built upon for the better part of a decade and a half.

Back to Nick, Tom, Whatever their name really is…

“Well I am sure CH has heard this many times so I rest my case with this last thought: Β Put some micro-clime geography into about 15 different looking labels, IE CARNEROS CAB, ALEXANDER VALLEY ZIN, RUSSIAN RIVER CHARD etc.Β Just a suggestion.Β 



Whoa, hold yer horses there Nick Tom Guy, we just explained the increased cost of a fancy label, now you’d like us to do it roughly 15 times?Β  Yeah, no.Β  Unless you’re into buying what would be, for us currently, a $12 bottle for – honest numbers here – from the proposed fancy labels at 1 of 15 custom designs (which mind you the costs of the other 14 labels would actually play a factor into the bottle cost that doesn’t use any of the 14 other labels, including print pricing, fancy paper stock, ink, and setup fees) we’d be looking now at a $17 bottle of wine.Β  Take that to our top tier $35 Cab and we’re now looking at roughly $43/bottle.

While a great suggestion – honestly it is; we’d be lying if we said the office hasn’t been at least “spirited” in the label redesign debate over the years, we unfortunately cannot do much at this time from a cost effective standpoint that would be the next evolution of our label without seeing increased costs that get passed on to the customers, and in this office, that is the quickest way to get a big, fat “hellllllll no,” from a one, Cameron Hughes.

There is a good truth for anyone still reading at this point.Β  When you buy a fancy wine to show off to your guests at dinner parties, that is what you’re paying for.Β  Not the wine in the bottle.Β  No joke, you are paying for everything else, marketing, property, tasting room, employees, distribution, distribution staff, warehouse staff, drivers (internal and external), and their costs add up.Β  Suddenly your fancy $70 bottle of wine is actually only worth $28 when everyone else’s hands are outta your wallet.Β  But if you want to pay for them to be in your money like that to show off that fancy label, that is entirely your prerogative, just don’t forget how much you overpaid for that preference.



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