On one of the warmer afternoons we had last week, Debbie and I escaped to The Winery at Bull Run, where we tried a couple of the red wines. I can honestly say I was there on business because I recently started writing the winery’s blog, and I was meeting Natasha, the marketing assistant.
Natasha gave us a tour of the main building known as the Barn and showed us some of the Civil War relics found on the grounds. The Winery at Bull Run is right next to the famous battlefield, and the stone foundation from one of the houses of that period still stands, making for a picturesque place to have a glass of wine in the summertime.
As we strolled around, I had a hard time believing the winery is only seven months old. It is doing quite well. In fact, the day we were there, workers were expanding the parking lot to accommodate more visitors.
I have to say I like the feel of the place. With wood beams and a cozy fireplace, it was pleasant to sit and drink my first Norton. I had never tasted the Norton grape, which was first cultivated in Richmond, and I wanted to try it. As I’ve grown older, my taste in wine has changed. I rarely drink white wine anymore, and it seems I like my reds dark and full-bodied. I like a good Malbec, and the Norton reminded me of that.
Sitting there, sipping my wine and taking in the ambiance, I began to reflect on why some businesses thrive while others languish. Perhaps there are a hundred reasons, some capricious and some fundamental to the customer experience.
Quality and service are obviously key drivers, but often it is more than that. In marketing, we call it differentiation or brand awareness. And I would say The Winery at Bull Run is on to something. There is an energy about this place that I like.
They are doing all of the right things to create a brand, and people are responding. It doesn’t hurt, of course, to have a great location and to be able to take advantage of Virginia’s growing love affair with wine. Did you know that Virginia now ranks No. 5 in the nation for wine-grape production and total number of wineries?
While we were there, Natasha showed us a new sign that the winery will soon be allowed to put up on Route 29 near the entrance. I thought to myself, this is good because Rule No. 1 of marketing is to create an identifiable logo and use it everywhere.
Rule No. 2 is to develop an effective brand message. From the winery’s Facebook page to its website, marketing and special events, I would say the message is getting out. People are checking out this new place near the battlefield that blends history with wine-making and bills itself as “the closest winery to Washington, D.C.”
Rule No. 3 is to occasionally kick back and have a glass of wine with someone special in your life. Alla vostra salute!
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