Although craft beers may be all the rage, sponsorship sellers can’t overlook another active segment of the alcohol category: wine.

Wine makers large and small are signing new deals with sports venues, music festivals and other types of properties to build preference among millennials.

Wine makers use sponsorship to accomplish the following:

  • Support brand positioning
  • Sample/promote new products
  • Access sales rights
  • Gain platforms for retail promotions

Recent ties include E. & J. Gallo and Minor League Baseball (Barefoot wine); Casillero del Diablo and the NHL New Jersey Devils, and Jamieson Ranch Vineyards and five music festivals.   

In one of the category’s largest deals, Barefoot’s partnership with Minor League Baseball affords exposure at 160 venues and pouring rights at roughly 40 teams.

The sponsorship includes PA announcements, video board messaging, web site exposure, sampling rights and introductions to concessionaries.

“Beer is ubiquitous with the in-game experience. Fans are showing more interest in wine, and we need to recognize their changing behavior,” said Michael Hand, MiLB’s chief marketing officer.

Gallo is using the tie promote Barefoot Refresh, a “light-bodied, slightly fizzy and refreshing wine specifically created for the ever-creating number of wine occasions that extend beyond the traditional dinner table,” according to a company release.

The wine maker is using other ties to promote Barefoot Refresh including the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball.

“They’re showcasing how wine can be experienced in different ways,” said Dave Klewan, general manager of Management Plus Enterprises, the owner and operator of the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball.

Stephanie Gallo, vice president of marketing for E. & J. Gallo, oversees sponsorship activity for Barefoot and other brands. 

A Good Pairing: Wine and Music Festivals
Wine makers are increasing their presence at music festivals, with nearly every major festival in the U.S. reporting an official partnership with a wine brand.

Case in point: Jamieson Ranch Vineyards is sponsoring five music festivals this summer under the “Taste the Music Tour” sampling program.

The tour, which kicked off at last weekend’s Sunfest music festival in West Palm Beach, Fla., will visit Memphis in May; Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in Bonner Springs, Kansas; the Forecastle music festival in Louisville; Kaaboo music festival in San Diego; and Outside Lands in San Francisco.

“We want to highlight the relationship that music and wine have together. We are targeting select markets to increase awareness of Jamieson Ranch Vineyards’ brands,” said Stephanie Gibbins, marketing coordinator with Jamieson Ranch.

Jamieson Ranch is using the tour to support “Taste the Moment,” a new marketing campaign and the theme of the vineyard’s redesigned web site.

The wine maker activates the festivals with on-site brand ambassadors who educate consumers about the Jamieson Ranch brand and sample product. Jamieson will pour Light Horse wine at a few of the festivals.  

Jamieson Ranch is promoting the tour on The site is populated with content curated from social media, a sweepstakes dangling tickets to the music fests and a directory of local retailers.

Sprocket Marketing executes the tour on behalf of Jamieson Ranch.

In a different twist, Stack Wines is aligning with music festivals to build awareness for its eponymous products. The company markets 750-milliliter bottles of California wine packaged in four single-serve shatterproof glasses.

Stack Wine this year has signed new partnerships with the Fun ‘n Sun music festival in Clearwater, Fla.; Desert Daze in Mecca, Calif. and other events.

The company kicked off its music push last year with New York City’s Governors Ball, a partnership it has renewed for 2015.

The sponsorship—signed at the last minute with little activation—generated unexpected exposure on social media. Festival attendees posted photos of Stack Wine in towers and other creative applications.   

“People blew up social media feeds. We saw the potential of having our product in front of a millennial audience who understands innovation and is open minded to new packaging formats,” said Shalay Clements, Stack Wines’ director of digital and experiential.

The sponsorship also helped drive sales at the festival.

“We had the highest wine sales ever. People could buy a bottle and share it with their friends or buy it by the glass,” said Alex Joffe, partnerships director with Founders Entertainment, the producer of the Governors Ball.

Stack Wine this year will activate the June 5-7 Governors Ball with sponsorship of a life-size Jenga game to promote its unique packaging.

“The idea of Stack Wine and Jenga go well together,” said Joffe.

Stack also sponsors the San Gennaro Feast in Las Vegas and other food festivals.

Where Wine Brands Spend Money (North America)
Where Wine Brands Spend Money (North America)