Even for the most seasoned bartender wine can be an intimidating proposition.

Between the many countries, regions, varietals, and production methods, the age-old beverage was known as “wine” is vast and varied. Tradition and pedigree have long permeated promotional messaging with Terroir, Cuvaison and Bouquet being thrown around like catnip for avid oenophiles. And while wine connoisseurs light up at the mention of a vertical wine tasting of Piedmont Barolos to show Nebbiolo typicity, the rest of us are still trying to remember the differences between Cru, Clos and Cuvee.*

Tussock Jumper Digital, featured image

Tussock Jumper Digital

Discovering new wines is a full sensory experience and tasting away the days through a region quickly converts a consumer to an enthusiast. The best wines leave us not only wanting more but also longing for the moment or feeling that first sip brings to mind; both impacting future purchase decisions. 2020 has proven a challenge for wine merchants and marketers worldwide looking for new ways to connect with consumers in this new digital market.

Tussock Jumper Wines, a collaboration between wine specialists from 11 different countries, jumped on what proved to be the perfect timing for the launch of their  augmented reality app, available for Android and iPhone, “Bring your Wine to Life”. Tussock Jumper is on a mission to bring together independent sustainably farmed vineyards to harvest each vintage and blend to create a larger amount of wine to bottle. It is the opposite of mass-producing and helps support local economies. They bring wines from some of the world’s best winegrowing regions under the Tussock Jumper label.

The labels, featuring cartoon renderings of animals in red jumpers are activated by the app, giving life to a regional animal ambassador, the “jumper” in Tussock Jumper, who jumps off the bottle and takes the user through pairings and flavor profiles. Their Tempranillo is emblazoned with a Spanish Bull that struts his stuff and touts tapas and terroir in a jovial tone while a German Deer gently, but firmly, walks through the vineyards along the Rhein river for a Riesling reconnaissance. An oenophile may still need to reach for the latest printed wine review for more in-depth coverage but an evening on the couch with a glass of Nero D’Avola and a slick-talking Italian wolf in a red jumper purring about porcini and pasta is worth an extra sip.

Bonterra Tasting

Bonterra Tasting

Sipping and smiling is a mantra to follow when Bonterra pulls out all the stops with their “The Delicious Taste of Saving the Planet” digital campaign.  The digital commercial spot takes anew approach to storytelling and intentionally lampoons the perceived (and often real) self-seriousness of wine culture. The spot forgoes listing its wines’ heady tasting notes and focuses on the real takeaway: drinking Bonterra tastes like saving the planet.

Rodrigo Maturana, Vice President of Marketing for Bonterra says “Research indicates that consumers are more receptive when branded communications about sustainability- and climate-focused topics incorporate humor, and this inspired us to develop something unique”.   The unique ad is a departure from traditional mass-media wine promotion, appealing directly to consumers looking to change the world through their purchases with a sip of good humor on the side. The tongue-and-cheek spot pokes fun at cliches associated with tasting wine while appealing to the environmentalist consumer whose decisions are driven as much by a winery’s carbon footprint as by the wine’s carbonic maceration.

Bonterra has long been devoted to producing good wine while following “climate-smart” practices.  Their vineyards have incorporated organic and biodynamic farming practices since 1987, long before organic products were a trend, and are certified as Zero Waste and Carbon Neutral with 100% green energy. This mindful approach to farming and winemaking has awarded them a foothold as one of the top mainstream organic wines on the market. We know you don’t need another excuse to enjoy a glass of wine, but what better feeling than to be able to do your part to support the environment by sipping award-winning wines while watching 90 seconds of comedy.

Necessity drives innovation and producers are pushing out novel messages with virtual activations one bottle at a time, and this is just the beginning.

*Quick aside because we care: “Cru“  is French for vineyard, “Clos” is a walled vineyard and “Cuvee”, directly translates to “tank”  but is used when referring to special blend of a wine, typically with more than one grape variety.