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Family Winemakers Tasting Represents the Realities of Wine Marketing

The cold hard facts of marketing and the wine business were on display at the Family Winemakers of California event at Fort Mason on Sunday and Monday. Over 360 wineries were gathered for two days of tasting and trade networking at San Francisco’s Fort Mason.

Showcasing wine in an abandoned military building is about as far as you can get from a vineyard frolic or a leather-bound wine list by candlelight. What the rows and rows of vintners at the Family Winemakers Tasting resembled, appropriately enough, were the rows and rows of wine that confront the end consumer, either on a website or in a store.

When I worked tradeshows as a pharmaceutical rep, we had only one big competitor and we hated them.The wine marketplace is too crowded to find a competitor to hate (unless it isFred Franzia) and anyway, the family winemakers seem like a congenial group.

But the question remains, how do those 360+ wineries snaking around a San Francisco warehouse differentiate themselves from their (congenial) competitors?

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