Esser Vineyards and Wine Marketing

Welcome to our video podcast: Esser Vineyards – Video Show #71.

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German-born Manfred Esser began his wine career as a salesman for a large European winery. In 1974, he came to the United States to build a wine import and marketing business. Esser joined Napa Valley’s Cuvaison Winery as President in 1986 and, in a little over 10 years, made it one of the most successful estates in the industry. His unique approach to converting customers into “company ambassadors” set an industry standard for client relations.

Manfred is widely known as a wine-marketing expert and specialist in creating “Customer Loyalty.” In fact, he coined the phrase “Guilt Marketing” – a concept where “you treat your customers so well, that you create a sense of obligation to come back to your product or service and, even more than that, actually become Ambassadors for your company.”

Having achieved success at Cuvaison, Esser sold his partnership in 1998. Continuing to live in Napa Valley, Manfred Esser introduced the Esser Vineyards portfolio of four California appellation wines: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir, in order to create “consumer-friendly California wines.”

Join us as we visit with Manfred to hear his philosophical take on wine and wine marketing.

For More Info on Esser Vineyards: www.esservineyards.com

The sponsor of this video is North Berkeley Imports: www.northberkeleyimports.com

4 Responses to “Esser Vineyards and Wine Marketing”


  1. 1 Neil Monnens Jul 16th, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Wow, Manfred is a full of info. When he described wine as a worldwide product competing with 86-100k BATF labels (US alone) and an intimidating as well, it was eye opening. The fact that the product, a wine bottle, is 3 lbs, perishable and sensitive to heat/light/vibration really makes wine an interesting product to consume and sell.

  2. 2 Noble Pig Jul 19th, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    The competition is fierce and I do agree with Manfred’s sense of how to treat the consumer. They are everything to your business and he has nailed it when it comes to making them feel special. Great interview.

  3. 3 Cheryl Hall Aug 18th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I was particularly struck by his comment about the perception of quality as being directly proportional to price. Wine drinkers in the know are aware that those two things do not have to be directly related, but what about those with less experience? Is it a fact of human nature that most people assume higher price = better or is that something we are taught to believe?
    Are there any strategies, aside from direct comparisons that can help address this misconception?

  4. 4 GrapeRadio Bunch Aug 18th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Cheryl, it’s probably a little of each – both human nature, but also something we absorb daily through various media, as well as visual perception. Personally, I’ve always felt that one of the bigger benefits of learning about wine was that it would enlighten me about the quality/price relationship. And this in turn, would help me make informed decisions in perusing a wine list or visiting a wine store. So, I think the best strategy is to taste and form your own opinion, or find someone you trust to guide you through the myriad selections out there.

    Eric

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GrapeRadio is a wine talk show. Show topics cover issues such as the enjoyment of wine, wine news and industry trends - the hallmark of the show is interviews with world class guest (winemakers, vineyards owners, wine retail / wholesale leaders, restaurateurs and sommeliers). The scope of the show is international so expect to hear many guests from around the world.

GrapeRadio has received numerous awards and honors including the 2008 James Beard Award for excellence in Journalism.

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