In building the La Motte and Leopard’s Leap wine brands I have constantly done two things: comparing my brands against the best that the world has to offer and building market share one distributor/agent at a time. I was therefore interested to read an article in Advertising Age about how Terlato Wines build their brands. Quoting from Advertising Age:
“About three times a week, (Bill Terlato) and a handful of employees at his family-run wine company gather at their headquarters north of Chicago, a sprawling English manor adorned with European antiques. And over a professionally prepared lunch, Mr. Terlato and his colleagues taste wine, comparing their brands against the competition in a blind test.
“’We just want to know where we stand,’ he said. ‘And I venture a guess that a lot of wine companies and maybe even winemakers, they make their wine and they know their wine. But they don’t spend a lot of time drinking other people’s wine. And I think if there is one hallmark that we do, it’s that we taste everything we can get our hands on.’
“Mr. Terlato is president-CEO of Terlato Wines International, whose humble roots date back to a pair of small retail stores in Chicago in the mid-20th century. Today Terlato is a wine powerhouse, with a 100-person sales force overseeing more than 50 brands, spanning regions from Napa to France and accounting for more than one of every 10 bottles of wine sold in the U.S. for $14 or more, according to company statistics.
“The company’s breakthrough came in the late 1970s, when Mr. Terlato’s father, Anthony, during an expedition to Italy discovered Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio. He brought it to the states at a time when basically no when had heard of Pinto Grigio. And along with his father, Bill Terlato essentially built the category from scratch. Or, as he says, ‘restaurant by restaurant, one at a time, account by account.’”