How to launch a $3,000 bottle?


Hot air, hype and ambition aplenty in this new-product announcement. 

I thought you might like an inside look at how publicists earn their fees. Here's an unedited pitch I received last week from New York. The names have been redacted to spare blushes and to save you from dashing out to put yourself on that mailing list. You might like to read it in conjunction with Alder's latest despatch  The era of the brand ambassador on how difficult it is to attract attention in America's crowded marketplace. 

Dear Jancis –

We are gearing up for the global release of XXX’s upcoming launch of YYY, the brand’s most ambitious project to date. Making exclusive wine even more exclusive, wine alchemist ZZZ has quietly garnered a cult-following amongst prominent wine collectors around the world. These highly allocated cabernet sauvignons sell out in minutes, evolving into a lifestyle, beyond a product.

Before we announce YYY widely, I’d love to unpack what editorial opportunities are available with FT’s wine column.

Here’s what we’re working with so far:

  • YYY – name inspired by Latin meaning an exceptionally rare moment in time
  • A small-batch production that will be extremely limited allocations, YYY is an exquisite vintage offered in large format, hand-blown glass bottles with original artwork hand-drawn and pressed in zinc pewter
  • Slated price point of $3,000 per bottle and limited to one-bottle per client, allocations by country
  • One of Napa’s most intriguing characters, ZZZ’s eccentric personal style if (sic) often defined by vintage Valentino, McQueen and Lanvin. His flair for zany decadence is weaved in an art-and-fashion approach to XXX’s look, feel + flavor 

Here’s some YYY product timeline intel from the brand (off the record):

  • June – product teaser/tasting notes and release date/time will be announced to members (“drop model” approach/announcement)
  • September/October – product will be available for order to members only
  • December – product will be widely released
With the above details in your hands, can you share some intel with me on what scope of coverage featuring YYY is possible? Please let me know if you have any questions or need more info. Happy to discuss! Thank you in advance for taking a look.

I love the idea of this fashion-conscious winemaker being eccentric enough to hire a New York PR agent. The picture above accompanied the pitch, cropped at the neck, but I have also cropped off that bottle with its zinc pewter label.