Photo of Jennifer Jones
“It’s an interesting time for wine,” says Jennifer Jones, Vice President, Alcohol for Albertsons/Safeway, and recipient of the Bonfort’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. “Domestic sales are steady,” she adds. “Consumers want a new experience, a unique label and to be introduced to new names in winemaking.”
Jennifer has earned a reputation as a proactive and trusted advisor and leader on the teams she runs. During her career, she helped rebrand and relaunch private labels and implemented campaigns that gained significant market share and far exceeded sales goals.
David Biggar, a 20-year veteran of the wine industry, and Partner at Vintage Point, the sales and marketing company for the Rabble Wine Co., couldn’t agree more with Jennifer’s assessment of the wine category, and knows that these days, a winery owner really has to put themself into what they’re making. The Rabble wine labels were taken from an illustrated encyclopedia that was published in 1493, the Nuremberg Chronicle which paralleled the Christopher Columbus-era when people, through stories and myths, believed strongly in the fabled forces-of-nature. “Was the world flat or round? What monsters of the sea would devour them first?,” says David. “The images of these legends can be a bit morbid, yet they are cartoonish and, therefore, fun too,” he enthuses.
“They are also extremely artistic,” David adds. “The illustrations and the label treatment are colorful and vibrant. Rabble Wine Co., owner Rob Murray loves art and history and the Rabble labels are a great combination of each,” he explains. “The result is a very non-traditional approach to wine labels. Rabble’s California distributor has stated that this wine is the fastest growing brand it has ever launched. Rabble hired Vintage Point to expand that success to other channels and geographies across the country.”
Speaking specifically on consumer buying trends, Jennifer Jones notes that these days end-users are all about rosé all day: “Consumers are really after rosé currently. They also want something new though, and that means innovative wineries within this category will do better.”
Rabble’s newly released rosé seems to fit the bill. It screams watermelon, young strawberry, orange peel and stony minerality. Flavors of melon rind, hibiscus and salinity dance across the palate while the juicy acidity rounds out this lively fun-going wine.
The labeling is, of course, striking and captivating. Its message: nature is ruthless when it goes ignored. It illustrates the Siren Mermaid who lures in weary pirates with her beauty, and then hits them with a change in her nature.
There is a major parallel this writer happened upon when starting out to compose and article on Jennifer Jones, Rabble Wine Co., and the lore of the Nuremberg Chronicle. The manifesting commonality is passion.
According to David Biggar people like Jennifer bring a combination of passionate creativity, strategic analysis and industry knowledge to the trade. He says that as a team builder Jennifer has reached further and deeper into consumer habits. He attributes her with the ability to educate and trade-up the consumer while offering value and a great assortment of products. Moreover, David credits Albertsons Companies for playing a passionate role in consumer education, creative cross-merchandising and promoting a wide array of wine price points which are often featured in ads and displays.
According to David Biggar people like Jennifer bring a combination of passionate creativity, strategic analysis and industry knowledge to the trade. He says that as a team builder Jennifer has reached further and deeper into consumer habits.
For Rabble Wine Co., David says “The passion comes from their struggle with nature. They were growers first, and then launched their brand in 2012. They sought out a label and theme that captured that struggle, the forces of nature, and the battle against every vintage. In Paso Robles, temperatures can be in the extremes—very hot and very cold,” he explains.
The result is a very non-traditional approach. Rabble Wine Co. is actually a portfolio made up of four brands: Rabble; Tooth & Nail; Stasis; and, Amor Fati. Rabble has one red blend, then the balance of releases are single varietals. The communication on the front label is delivered simply to the buyer.
The Tooth and Nail portfolio is the second largest brand, and all in its stable are all blends. Its labels display prints of nature, designed by James Audubon in the 1830s. The wines are all estate owned. The Tooth and Nail Castle (which warrants another Bonfort’s feature story all by itself) serves as the winery for the company and visitor center on Rt 46W in Paso Robles, California.
“The passion [at Rabble Wine Co.] comes from their struggle with nature. They were growers first, and then launched their brand in 2012. They sought out a label and theme that captured that struggle, the forces of nature, and the battle against every vintage. In Paso Robles, temperatures can be in the extremes—very hot and very cold,” — David Biggar, Vintage Point.
Keeping Wine Buying Real, Virtually
Jennifer Jones is perhaps one of the greatest minds our industry has to offer, so when she states that consumers want the wines they drink to fit into their social activity, the rest of us should probably listen. But for Rabble Wine Co., they’re already a head of the game.
Starting today (8/31/18), Rabble Red Wine will launch its Augmented Reality App (Rabble Wine Company). The Augmented Reality will roll out Cabernet in 45-60 days and then Rosé in December. The other labels will follow in 2019.
David Biggar explains: “I think Treasury Wines has seen great success with this with 19 Crimes and Walking Dead brands. With Rabble, the labels coming to life will be spectacular. It will be a great way for Rabble to communicate directly with the consumer. It will connect the past with the present—using technology with a historical label design, in order to share their message that ’We cannot command nature, except by obeying her’”.
According to David this is a natural fit for Rabble since the winery itself is very social. “They host 35-plus weddings per year, feature live bands every Friday and Sunday evening and the inside of the castle, features paintings of Edward Walton Willcox.
We asked how the trade will implement this virtual program? David has a clear vision. “We have begun letting our distributor sales teams know about it, then they will educate the trade buyers. Like a trickle down. We’ll also launch a P.R. program in two weeks. Soon we will be applying neckers to bottles on the shelf to invite the consumer to “watch me”. With Cabernet and Rosé and others, the bottles will have neckers at bottling. Ultimately, it will be viral with consumers sharing their experience with friends, much like conversations with friends that often occur around wine consumption.”
Vintage Point has achieved multiple industry accolades and awards for its own groundbreaking innovations. “Rabble Wine Co. and Vintage Point is actually a perfect fit,” says David.
“Vintage Point has a history of launching and representing brands that break traditional rules like Layer Cake, Educated Guess, If You See Kay, Josh, Pomelo and Department 66. Many of those wines have brand personalities driving their passion and often reflecting a natural creativity not found in copycat companies . The approaches we work best with tend to be more authentic and real, and above all, are from smaller wineries that over deliver quality and value.”
In conclusion, we asked David what we all have to learn from a brilliant mind like that of Jennifer Jones? His answer: “Buy more wine!”