Wednesday, November 2, 2011

News Flash - Dirty Laundry Vineyards

If you've been following my blog you'll know that me and the "Girls Who Wine" had a blast in the Okanagan, BC's wine country.  Our adventures took us to Dirty Laundry Vineyards and we ooo'ed and awwwww'ed at the great detail and care they took in creating an environment of fun.  Judy Skinner, Sales and Marketing Manager, took time out of her very busy day to answer some of the burning questions on our mind about this popular vineyard.

We had a blast at the Dirty Laundry Vineyard.  What do you want people to say when they step into the estate?

I want them to say "Wow"…this place is incredible!!
Amy, who visited Dirty Laundry, last year, said that there were some changes.  What changes were made to the estate and why?  Do you think it has achieved its purpose?
We have just spend over $2 million over the past 6 months to make DLV what it is today. It has always been very beautiful but our popularity made it necessary to accommodate more people without loosing our ambiance. We have more parking, a 3X bigger "first class" wine shop, a bigger patio with wind breaks and a storage facility big enough to store 20,000 cases. We are at 11,400 cases this year but will go to 13,500 cases for next year…and we still won't have enough to last the season. Just 5 years ago we were at only 2,000 cases. 

Dirty Laundry seems to have a theme of fun and part of that fun is being naughty.  Can you tell me a bit about more about the ethos of Dirty Laundry?
Us Canadians have a great sense of humour…and why not…life is complicated enough. Our goal is treat everyone like they are special and no question is a stupid one…after all, we didn't get to grow up drinking wines like the europeans so we, as a group, have lots to learn. Our "naughty" outlook seems to be appreciated by all. It's a well known fact that sex and humour will get you a long way but we also know the product needs to be amazing as well. Over the past week during wine fest we have won 9 awards for the wines…something to be very proud of. The naughtiness is just to get your attention in buying that bottle…that's the marketers job. Our wine maker, Phil Soo, has the job of keeping you coming back for more.

 There are some great products in the gift shop such as the cloths pins, the shirts, the necklaces, wine stops – how do you decide what works and what doesn’t?
The clothes pegs we give out signify, "Airing Out Your Dirty Laundry." I used to be the Vineyard Manager with a Viticulture background and used the pegs to keep the birds out of the nets in the vineyards. I never knew one day I would be pegging people in the wine shop, (it's actually a bulky business card that's too big to end up in "The land of business cards" if you know what I mean) or hanging a peg from every bottle but they really work to attract attention in a store full of wines. As for the other products it's really all about our logo. If our logo is on it with those naked ladies…it sells. It's really all trial and error…if it works it stays…if not…we try something else. 

There is quite a bit of “Hollywood” magic in the marketing.  Can you tell me more about where this originated and how it relates to the over all theme?
We used a company called Brandever to come up with the new name…we used to be "Scherzinger" but hardly anyone could remember the name…much less pronounce it. I was very shocked with the new name since I was on the front lines to make it work. To be quite honest I was horrified to now be called "Dirty Judi"…but with the way the wines are selling I'm Ok with it now. Classy and funny…that was my entire approach to marketing this name. I do a lot of marketing in house but we still use Brandever for most of the new labels. I love naming or renaming the wines and seeing how much the sales soar after that. 

What are some things that fans of Dirty Laundry can look forward to in the future?
We have lots in store for the public. We really just finished stage 1…we still have many more stages to come. Our new Events Room just opened up, (upstairs from the wine shop), so there are endless possibilities for this and our new wine club…"The Bordello Wine Club" is ready to be launched soon with 3 tiers of signing up.
I’m a big fan of the Hush, Rose – what are the fan favourites?  Why do you think that’s the case?
The Hush ,(blush) and our Woo Woo Vines Gewurztraminer are definitely our big sellers. Our Bordello, (meritage) is the red getting the most attention along with our Kay-Syrah. The Albertans love our Riesling which just won a GOLD at the Peoples Choice Awards in Kelowna last week. Our Bordello won a Silver there and last year when I entered the Hush we won a GOLD for that. Canadians still love a bit of sweetness to their wines. As we mature as a country as far as wines go we will slowly go for the dryer wines and the reds. That's just how it is.

The Dirty Laundry Vineyard was like a Disneyland for people who drink wine and like to have fun.  I couldn’t help but notice the strong appeal that the theme has with women.  Was this the intent? 
Just woman…with all those underware garments hanging about??? (and parking signs with 38DD, etc., etc?) I believe this is a great place for all ages, cultures and sex. We use signs with pictures more than words so they are self explanitory. As for the Disneyland effect…YES…who doesn't love Disneyland!! (When I hear that I love telling people I have the same birthday as Walt…and I do). We are a destination and not just another wine shop or business, word of mouth has proven to be the best marketing tool…if you have a great time we just hope you will tell 10 of your friends.

Our host shared the story of Sam and his Chinese Laundry.  Can you tell me who came up with the idea of incorporating this great story and using it as a theme for the entire product and organization?
"Brandever" from Vancouver who came up with this name based it on a real life story about Summerlands' past. We tell the story a hundred or more times a day…the public loves a little element of truth and all the hidden meanings and of course "the logo" which is classy yet houses about 7 naked ladies when you use that other part of your brain to have yet another look. All the other little descriptors we have developed over the years…if it makes you smile…we keep using it.   If you're visiting the Okanagan I highly recommend stopping by Dirty Laundry Vineyards to enjoy the experience that they create.  
Dirty Laundry Vineyards
7311 Fiske Street
Summerland, BC
V0H 1Z2
Phone:  250-494-8815
Fax:  250-494-8850

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