Cow Wine

Seth Godin is a wino.

Well, I don’t know this to be true, but he indirectly inspired and Oregon winery to market to Seth’s precepts.

purple-cow-vineyardsI was escaping Portland’s Silicon Forrest area, randomly driving southward. While cruising slowly through the town of Newberg – the Sonoma of Oregon – I saw a wine tasting room for Purple Cow Vineyards. Being a marketer, the Purple Cow label grabbed my attention, not for the reasons Seth Godin outlined in his book of the same title, but because I recognized the title itself. Since my wife was with me, and because she has successfully turned me into a wine snob, I had to drop in for a taste.

After chatting amicably with the co-founder, I mentioned that among marketers “Purple Cow” was practically a verb. Before I could get deeper into my monologue, the owner reached up to the top shelf, and grabbed a display copy of Godin’s book. When the winery was created, they specifically decided to create a memorable/remarkable hook. Since one of the co-founders was raised on a dairy farm and was all too familiar with cows, and since drinkable wines are made from purple grapes, Purple Cow took on a specific meaning to him. Thus, they hijacked the book’s title for their own ends.

After briefly discussing marketing, the founder started pouring us a flight, and went into amazing details about the Oregon wine industry (bigger and more popular than any Californian would believe), their micro climates and the effects they have on grapes, and the history of certain varietals (the grape we call a petite sirah isn’t a sirah at all).

Instructive is how the hook (Purple Cow Vineyards) would be forgettable if the experience delivered were not great (the wines are above average, and I was fond of the tempranillo). Had a non-marketing maven been attracted to the tasting room by the name, then unimpressed by the product, then the name itself would not be remembered. But once the superior tastes were on the tongue, the history lesson was in the ear, and the joy of chatting with a knowledgeable and passionate vintner was consumed, the name became memorable.

Being remarkable is the goal, and the hook is just the beginning.


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