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Paso Wine Country Awarded CDFA Grant, focus on NYC, DC, Chicago

by Press Release
October 08, 2019

Paso Robles, Calif.—The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance is proud to announce it is the recipient of a U.S. Department of Agriculture funded grant to amplify marketing in New York City, Chicago, and Washington D.C. These funds will assist the Alliance in expanding the brand awareness of Paso Robles wines in these three key markets with consumers, wine trade, and journalists alike.

In September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced funding for the 2019 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). California received $22.9 million out of approximately $72.4 million awarded nationwide. The SCBGP provides grants to state departments of agriculture to fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, which includes wine grapes. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will fund 69 projects, which includes the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance’s (Alliance) initiative to increase marketing in New York City (NYC), Chicago, and Washington D.C.(D.C.)

“We recognize these three cities represent a sizable portion of US wine consumption, but they underperform when measuring California wine consumption,” said Joel Peterson, Executive Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. “By influencing the influencer at every touchpoint - media, retail, restaurants, and directly through advertising and social media, we begin to increase perception, awareness, and sales of Paso Robles wines.”

The grant will fund innovative marketing efforts over 2020 and 2021 in the amount of $350,285. Specific initiatives include digital consumer marketing, wine trade and media events in the three cities, hosting both the trade and media from NYC, Chicago, and D.C. in Paso Robles, as well as tracking the progress made from these programs.

“The Paso Robles grant was selected through a tough competitive process whereby they are judged on how projects focus on increasing sales of specialty crops by leveraging the California Grown identity,” notes Christopher Taranto, Communications Director with the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. “The Alliance is the official association that represents both the vintners and growers of the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA), mostly small brands, that are dependent on the growth and success of the overall agricultural industry that is the wine community.”

The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance will begin these marketing efforts in March 2020 with targeted advertising in NYC, Chicago, and D.C. In-market trade and media events will take place March/April 2020 with AVA masterclasses, winemaker dinners for media, and hosted trade tastings. A media tour will be scheduled for May 2020 bringing six journalists to Paso Robles, inspiring them for stories and experiences to share. A fall 2020 trade tour brings 10 wine buyers/sommeliers to Paso Robles for an immersion into the AVA during harvest.

The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance is the official trade association that represents wineries, growers and businesses in Paso Robles Wine Country. Centrally located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, along California’s Central Coast, Paso Robles Wine Country is California’s third-largest wine region. It encompasses more than 40,000 vineyard acres and 200 wineries. For more information, visit

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