5/28/2012

flipflop Wines Media Trip


Hello Friends,

I was recently invited to join several bloggers and social media personalities for a visit to flipflop headquarters in Livermore, California. Flipflop headquarters is situated on Concannon Vineyard estate, and both Livermore and Concannon hold a special place in California wine history. The Livermore Valley is one of California’s oldest wine regions. Robert Livermore, for whom the region is named, planted the area’s first commercial grapes in the 1840’s. Concannon Vineyard, a winery founded in 1883 by Irish immigrant James Concannon, produced California's first varietal Petite Sirah [1961] – a variety that’s doing very well in Livermore today.

Concannon Vineyard


Flipflop is a brand with which I already had some familiarity. Their wines are widely available, and since their launch in early 2011, they have become one of the fastest growing wine brands in the US market. Approximately 80% of wine sold in the U.S. is under $10, and flipflop is regarded as a super value brand. Their low price point, fun and not overly serious packaging, is especially appealing to millennials (born roughly between 1980 and 1995); who are one of the fastest growing wine consumer segments nationally. Across age groups however, the average wine consumer’s sweet-spot for everyday drinking is generally a little under or over the $10 mark.

flipflop Wines


Flipflop’s still wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay) all sell for $7 per bottle and their sparkling wines (Bubbly Chardonnay, Bubbly Moscato, and Bubbly Pinot Grigio), made using the gas injection method, I believe, all sell for $9 per bottle. Flipflop’s vintner David Georges says, “These are just good wines that complement the everyday casual lifestyle.”

Vintner David Georges chats w/ IowaGirlEats


David gave us an introduction into the brand and tasted us through flipflops’s portfolio. David normally dresses casual, wears his hair down, and quite naturally, always has his favorite pair of flip-flops on [according to his comrades seated with us]. He attended the University of California Davis and has dual degrees in viticulture [grape-growing] and enology [winemaking]. He’s made wine for Davis Bynum Winery, Raymond Merlo Estate Vineyards, etc., and has done everything from crafting small-lot batches to high volume production. Some of David’s favorite wine producing regions include Volnay (Burgundy) and Barolo (commune in Piedmont, Italy well-known for producing red wines made with the Nebbiolo grape variety).

flipflop lunch under the Grape Arbor at Concannon



For our tasting, the vintner wore his hair up, sported a blazer, and the only flip-flops visible were the spread of value wines on the table. We all indulged in a good round table discussion about everything from our impression of the wines and marketing strategies, to wine trends and the bulk wine market. With the exception of the Sweet Red [which I personally found perplexing], flipflop’s portfolio of varietal wines, in my opinion, are easy-drinking, uncomplicated, and clean – all showing fairly good [basic] typicity. The 2009 Chardonnay and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, in particular, for me, over perform their price point. They both offer added depth of flavor, decent structure, pleasant secondary [barrel] accents, a medium length finish, and for $7 per bottle, I consider these (2) good-to-high QPR wines.

Media group shot at Concannon (following lunch)


Flipflop has also released a lineup of rums (100% Caribbean) recently; a spiced and a silver (SRP $13.99). I’m personally not a spirits guy. My liquid diet consists [almost solely] of wine and water; and since a dry wine is approximately 85% water, I believe I’m meeting the recommended daily intake of the latter. Just before noon, we had the pleasure of meeting with James Moreland; flipflop’s brand ambassador and mixologist, to discuss rum and preview some summer cocktails using flipflop wine and rum. James is an Aussie who lives in New York and speaks with confidence and conviction about his area of expertise.

James Moreland: flipflop’s Brand Ambassador/Mixologist


I thought rum before noon was a bit imprudent, but the mixologist, a term he surprisingly does not care for, assured me everything would be okay. He told a story about laboring in the fruit fields during a very hot summer day – of course, ending with a light and refreshing cocktail in hand (making it well worth the effort). Between the story, which was more spirited (no pun intended) than I can convey with a sentence, and the cocktails James tasted us through; he was right. Using either flipflop rum, and/or a flipflop sparkling or still wine, fresh fruits and juice, James created several delicate, light, and refreshing summer cocktails that are perfect for summer sipping. I suggest clicking here and going to “Drinks” and making a few flippin’ good cocktails for yourself this summer season.

Flippin' Good Light & Refreshing Summer Cocktail


To shed a little light on the brand: flipflop is a brand owned by The Wine Group's Underdog Wine and Spirits unit. The Wine Group is the third largest producer [by volume] in the United States. Labels like flipflop are brands; not tasting rooms, vineyards, wineries, etc. Some of your favorite brands, I’m sure, all fall under this big tent; including Cupcake, Fish-Eye, Big House, Concannon, Franzia, and more. From a [wine] business perspective [marketing in particular], I’m not surprised with the early success of the flipflop brand. In a market [value wine] that’s hugely competitive, you have to strike while the iron is hot. And the savvy, focused, and enthusiastic bunch I had a chance to meet with are doing just that. Lastly, one thing I respect about the flipflop brand is their dedication to charity work. They have forged a beneficial partnership with Soles4Souls; a shoe charity dedicated to providing footwear to those in need. In 2011, the partnership met their goal of donating 11 million pairs of shoes! Cheers!

Happy Sipping from the Underdog Wine Bar (via Chanel Adikuono)



Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come.

Click Here to visit flipflop's website.

Click Here to visit Soles4Souls website.

Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come.

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