SLO Coast Wine Collective receives $309,000 to promote locally grown grapes and wine

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California State Stimulus Grant to Target Growing Colorado and Arizona Markets

February 28, 2022, San Luis Obispo, CA – The SLO Coast Wine Collective, a group of 32 Central Coast winemakers, has received a three-year, $309,000 State of California stimulus grant to promote the region’s grapes and wine in markets in outside of California.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) awards annual awards under its Specialty Crops Block Grant Program to fund projects that will improve the competitiveness of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other state cultures. These grants support a wide range of initiatives each year in categories such as awareness, food security, food-related media, neighborhood agriculture, and efforts to reach new markets with local or regional products. .

The funding received by SLO Coast Wine Collective will be aimed at raising awareness of the region in Arizona and Colorado. Increased wine sales in these markets will help the group offset losses incurred during COVID-19 due to the closure of direct-to-consumer outlets and reduced out-of-state wine sales. Arizona and Colorado are also new direct flight destinations from San Luis Obispo Airport. An analysis of the SLO Coast Wine Collective’s sales patterns showed that both states are near the top of direct-to-consumer sales outlets for member wineries. With the easing of pandemic restrictions, the SLO Coast region will increasingly benefit wine tourists from Arizona and Colorado wishing to visit the Central Coast wine region.

“We appreciate this increase in our marketing budget,” said collective board chairman Stephen Dooley. “This funding will allow us to reach new consumers in Arizona and Colorado and add new distribution channels for our members. These visits will have an impact because we are going there as a collective rather than as individual brands. This benefit will benefit local winemakers, their employees, and the region’s entire wine industry as our community recovers from the economic effects of the pandemic.

Dooley, who is also owner and winemaker of Stephen Ross Winery, said that by working in partnership with California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, the group will establish benchmark data to use in the future to help assess the reputation of the region compared to other Regions. “This will help us better understand consumer motivations for wine purchases and help us tailor our reach to these areas,” Dooley said.

Early efforts using grant funds will include showcasing SLO Coast wines at Fort Collins Wine Fest in Colorado and Sedona Winefest in Arizona. The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and the Crested Butte Food & Wine Festival are also on the agenda, as is a presentation of the group’s results at the annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento.

“Wine grapes have always been the #1 agricultural product in SLO County, but due to COVID grapes have dropped to second place, behind strawberries,” said Kathleen Naughton, Executive Director of SLO Coast. WineCollective. “By increasing demand for our wine, it will lead to increased sales for our winemakers and put wine grapes back in the top spot. And because this is a multi-year grant, we will take full advantage of this opportunity to build lasting relationships with consumers and members of the wine trade during our repeat visits to these markets.

About the SLO Coast Wine Collective: SLO Coast Wine Collective is where the coast meets the vines. Our 32 wineries are located in San Luis Obispo County on California’s Central Coast, encompassing vineyards and wineries along a 60-mile-long, 15-mile-wide strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia mountain range. It is the coolest climate wine region in California and has long been the source of some of the state’s most respected Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. It has recently become known for its production of aromatic grape varieties such as Albariño, Grüner Veltliner and Grenache. Website: https://slocoastwine.com/

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