Having aligned with two motorsports teams this year, Brunton Vineyards Holdings, Inc. plans to expand those sponsorships for ’08 and sign additional ties with powerboating properties and air races.

“We intend to sponsor more, and we’re exploring opportunities that will be a good fit,” said chairman and CEO Geno Brunton.

The company uses sponsorship to accomplish four objectives:
• Build awareness around new product launches
• Generate buzz around its rollout of VinoVenue wine tasting lounges
• Gain on-site pouring rights
• Tout the corporate name ahead of a planned first-quarter ’08 listing on the OTC Bulletin Board

The company tested the sponsorship waters this year through deals in stock car and open wheel racing. Brunton purchased title to owner/driver Joe Nemechek’s NEMCO Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series entry for the first three and last three races of the year, and also titled Speedworks Racing’s entry driven by Adam Andretti in September’s Indy Pro Series race in Chicago.

The company plans to grow both involvements next year, said Brunton, including a co-primary sponsorship of Andretti’s Indy Pro season pending confirmation of the team he will drive for.

In addition, both drivers will be featured in the reality TV program All American Rookie, which is set to begin airing next spring on Fox Sports Net. Geno Brunton created the show in partnership with NEMCO and agency BCC Sports. Brunton Vineyards has purchased commercial time, as well as branding opportunities within the program.

NASCAR Team Deal Promotes New Beverage
Brunton is using its NEMCO partnership to promote Swig, a wine cocktail brand that it plans to launch early next year. Swig serves as the car’s title sponsor, while Brunton Vineyards receives cosponsor status.

Although the company’s plans to launch Swig this year were delayed, the sponsorship still has helped generate buzz among distributors and retailers entertained at races, Brunton said.

“The sponsorship helped open a lot of doors with people that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to speak with,” he said.

The company also is using the tie to conduct surveys measuring wine consumption among female NASCAR fans–Swig’s primary audience–as well as their interest in drinking wine at races.

“We see an audience of around 40 million female NASCAR fans,” Brunton said. “That’s a good audience for launching Swig, and it provides some great data that we can take to retailers when we discuss potential promotions.”

Andretti Tie Supports VinoVenue Concept
Brunton plans to leverage its connection with Andretti to tout VinoVenue, a three-year-old wine bar, tasting room and retail store it acquired in February. The company has ambitions of expanding VinoVenue from its one San Francisco location to a chain of 100 stores within the next two years.

Brunton hopes to use Andretti to generate awareness for the VinoVenue brand and create interest in store openings through autograph signing sessions and other in-store events.

Brunton also hopes to gain on-site sales rights at motorsports tracks for both Swig and wines sold through VinoVenue.

“We’re going full-bore toward developing relationships with tracks so that we can sell products on site,” said Brunton, who also plans to bring a VinoVenue-branded mobile sampling program to race tracks located near VinoVenue stores.

The company is eyeing markets in California, Florida and Texas, as well as Las Vegas, New York City and Washington, D.C. for VinoVenue expansion, Brunton said.

Sponsorship Also Seen As Impacting Investors
In addition to promoting its brands and products, Brunton also is using motorsports to promote its planned debut on the OTC Bulletin Board early next year. The company currently trades on the OTC Pink Sheets.

The company hopes to gain a halo effect from the other large, publicly traded companies that sponsor motorsports teams, tracks and sanctioning bodies, Brunton said. “We’re still a young brand, so from a value proposition it’s a great way for us to get our name out there and stand side by side with Fortune 500 companies as we grow.”

Seven-year-old Brunton Vineyards, Inc. was acquired by publicly traded New Paradigm Strategic Communications, Inc. in February. The combined companies operate as Brunton Vineyards Holdings, which has three subsidiaries: Swig, Inc.; VinoVenue, LLC; and Brunton Vineyards, Inc., which currently markets wine under the Addison Cole and Brunton labels.

The company does not currently sponsor on behalf of its Addison Cole brand, focusing instead on new brands, said Brunton, who signs off on ties after review by Michael Firewalker, vice president of marketing.