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Clos du Val’s Declaration of Vindependence:  Online Wine Marketing Pt. II of II

In part one of my review of online wine marketing programs that work I examined Conway Family Wines Facebook advertising program.  Part two brings us Clos du Val winery and their “Vindependence” campaign, an effort conducted with proactive vigor, and the same goal of connecting with consumers, building a direct-to-consumer contact list and driving sales.

Launched on July 14th, coinciding with Bastille Day, the French day of independence celebrating the start of the French Revolution, the Clos du Val “Vindepence” campaign pays homage to Bastille Day while bringing together consumers to celebrate independent thought.

Quoting Tracey Mason, Vice-President of Marketing at Clos du Val, in their launch press release:

“…the winery wants people to realize once and for all that principles matter. ‘Passing trends or outside influences should never be the driving force behind an action—it’s all about marching to the beat of your own drum. Discovery and the sharing of those discoveries with friends is all part of the process of Vindependence. We know that we make our wines in the way we think we should and in the way we think our consumers will enjoy them best. Now, we ask for their feedback, to find out what they think,’ she said.”


The program, at its core, is an effort to have consumers make a public declaration of their independent thought, regardless of the thoughts of others, this could be related to wine, but is also left open to interpretation. 

The declaration notes, “When, in the course of events, it becomes necessary to stand up for what you believe in, to bravely swim against the tide, to do what you think is right even if it is contrary to the opinions of others, to not allow yourself to be swayed, bullied or bargained with … at Clos Du Val, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that our commitment to such principles is at the very foundation of all we do and all we have done since our founding in 1972. That to manipulate these principles in a manner inconsistent with our dedication to balance, elegance and grace would demonstrate a lack of respect for each other, our vineyards and our consumers.” 

Promoting joie de vivre iconoclasm is a neat trick and particularly relevant in our Tea Party political climate.  Clos du Val has pulled off a way to have consumers champion an abstract concept while also presenting a subtle reinforcement of Clos du Val’s value proposition of classic wine style and winemaking, eschewing modern trends and the hegemony of powerful palates.

That’s the big picture.

For full context, the gist of the program is best enumerated in bullet form as there are a number of elements that all work together in one of the most synergistic campaign efforts I’ve seen in the wine business.  This should come as no surprise given that Mason is a veteran wine industry marketer with a long list of accomplishments not the least of which is creating incredible mindshare for the WinePod, an expensive small lot winemaking technology for consumers and micro vintners, her gig with ProVina prior to joining Clos du Val and parent company Goelet Wine estates.


Elements of the Vindependence campaign include:

Personal email to bloggers from PR agency one day prior to campaign launch

Email of press release from same PR agency on day of launch

Press release distribution to online news sites

A microsite at
- Submit your “declaration” of independent thought (requires name and email)
- By signing up consumers receive a 15% discount on Clos du Val wine purchases through the end of the year
- Submit a Clod du Val wine review (requires name, mailing address and email)
- Submitters of a review have opportunity have review on POS materials at retail

A Facebook Fan page with custom graphics supporting the Vindependence campaign

A “signable” Vindependence presence at the winery and tasting room, tying in the online campaign offline

A two month “progress report” press release in mid-September giving continual lift to the campaign

The results?  According to the progress press release, more than 3,000 people have declared their “Vindependence” at Facebook or the web site.  In an interview I conducted with Mason she noted, “In fewer than (two) months, we have more than doubled our mailing list, we have seen significant growth in visitors to the winery and our DTC sales have increased about 10 (times) vs. (the) same period year.”

Not bad.


What’s interesting to me is how a simple idea, well executed, doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to produce results.  The microsite is inexpensive, and integrates into the same database that governs their web site sales and customer relationship management.  The Facebook page costs next to nothing, as well.  Really, the only cost out of pocket for Clos du Val is the cost of the project with the PR agencies, which, for all practical purposes can be replaced with an account at PR Newswire and some due diligence.

According to Mason, all visuals, wordsmithing, and concepting were conceived at the winery in an ongoing effort to support direct-to-consumer sales.

What’s next for Clos du Val?  A Facebook-centric effort, within the same “Vindependence” campaign, will launch in October, promising, “Consumers will really respond to (this) and (it will be an effort) that will lay the foundation for our (social media) efforts moving forward … as always, it’s going to be cool, relevant and, Vindependent in nature,” said Mason.

The takeaway?  Winners try. 

I hope by illustrating Conway Family Wines and Clos du Val, the point is made that marketing efforts that can help a winery build relationships with customers using online efforts need not be expensive, difficult or scary.  More often than not, a good idea, well integrated and executed can have significant, measurable results.

In addition, kudos to Clos du Val for embracing the fact that “brand” relationships are two-way and that marketing outside the vein of “lifestyle” is not a bad thing.

Links for Reference

Vindependence microsite

Clos du Val / Vindependence Facebook page

Press release #1

Press release #2


Posted in, Wine: A Business Doing Pleasure. Permalink | Comments (1) |


On 07/02, Kari23Douglas wrote:

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