Monday, April 6, 2020

New video: Wine PR professional Katherine Jarvis

These are tricky times for people in the marketing and publicity business. Wineries gotta sell wine, and publicists are part of the ecosystem of selling wine. But, how can they strike the right tone in reaching out to media and the general public during a pandemic?

Today Katherine Jarvis, owner of Jarvis Communications in Los Angeles, joins me for an Intoxicating Conversation with W. Blake Gray.

Katherine and I talk not just about publicity during the pandemic, but how the world of wine PR works, both from her side and from mine.

One thing I have learned while writing about wine is that, while for some people wine PR is a step on a ladder, the dedicated professionals are wine lovers first; it's why they do it.

I gotta confess I'm releasing this video into the world with a little trepidation, because there are a number of really excellent wine PR people I could have asked to do it. Now I understand a little about how Katherine must feel when she has a story to pitch: how can I play favorites?

Katherine told me after the video that she had never heard her own voice recorded before. She has always been behind the scenes. I hadn't even considered that. Me, I'm a Z-list at best celebrity, but I have been on radio dozens of times and I've been on TV in four countries.

Funny story that we don't talk about in the video: NHK, Japan's national broadcaster, sent a limo for me once to come to the studio in Harajuku, Tokyo, to talk about Christmas in America, in Japanese of course. Well, I can do that, I thought. I was all ready to talk about Christmas lights and baking cookies and presents under the tree, etc. Then the red light went on -- we were live -- and the host said, "We have here Blake Gray who is an expert on Christmas in New York, and he's going to talk about the preparations going on in New York right now." I have never been to New York for Christmas! And Japanese is not my first language. I don't remember what I said -- Macy's window, Times Square, homeless people with a coating of gray snow, I really don't remember -- but somehow I got through it. Hopefully I didn't do that to Katherine. But you be the judge.

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And stay healthy.


Jason Haas said...

Thanks Blake. I enjoyed the conversation and Katherine's perspective.

One thing, from a family winery perspective, I really wouldn't feel guilty about getting sample bottles. It's one of the least expensive basic marketing avenues that wineries should be doing. It costs a winery less to send a dozen samples to 15 different writers than it does to go out and spend a week working a market... or to host a big press lunch... or to commission a video... or a lot of other things. If it means that a writer might think of us when they do have a story idea that would be relevant, that's enough.

Thanks again,

W. Blake Gray said...

Thank you Jason, I do stress on this issue. But I often take the wine anyway because, as you say, you never know when I might find a place to mention it.