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Rhone Rangers – What Would You Do ??!?!?

I am proud to say that I have recently been asked to sit on the Board of Directors for Rhone Rangers, the preeminent organization for Rhone varieties produced in the US. I am honored and humbled by the invitation, but above all, I am psyched to lend an ‘alternative’ voice to the leadership of this group.

There are challenges for ALL of us in the wine industry and for all organizations like Rhone Rangers, especially in the light of the current economic situation. This particular organization has an even greater challenge of elevating into the consumer spotlight the varieties that its constituents produce – from the ‘known’ ones such as syrah, Grenache, mourvedre, viognier, Marsanne, and Rousanne to others such as Rolle (otherwise known as Vermentino), Picpoul Blanc, and Terret Noir (who knew?!?!?). A complete list of the 22 varieties can be found here.

As I prepare to ‘make my mark’ on this organization, I have a few ideas I’d like to look into in the near term. They are as follows:

• Truly ‘branding’ of the Rhone Rangers name, ensuring that any time a domestic producer or one of the 22 varieties is noted ‘in the news’, Rhone Rangers are quoted as well

• ‘Changing the playing field’ as it relates to some of the more popular varieties covered, starting with Syrah. I’m tired of hearing about how tough a sell this variety is – I LOVE syrah and continue to feel that it is the best red QPR on the market these days . . . . period.

So I thought I’d ask you for your ideas of things I should address in my new role . . .Anyone out there want to give it a shot?

Cheers!

4 responses to “Rhone Rangers – What Would You Do ??!?!?”

  1. Michele says:

    hi there! the use of Rhone Rangers caught my eye, as did grenache… i am not terribly educated as far as wines are concerned, but i have learned enough to know what i like, regardless of label, vintner etc. i adore grenache.. i love GSM’s… if there’s enough grenache, then i am there. i am curious about YOUR grenache… my current top of the line grenache is the Beckmen… how does yours compare? i have gathered that ‘Rhone Rangers’ can vary quite a bit from northern to southern style and i would love to learn more about YOUR style. i saw you on facebook and would love to be able to take advantage of your offer.

    i hope this is an okay query for this forum. if i have misstepped, then please contact me via my email address and i will apologize 🙂 thanks!

    …michele the grenache lover

  2. I completely agree with Amy. Rhone means nothing to people. People talk of Cabernet or Merlot, not Bordeaux. People say Pinot Noir, they don’t say Burgundy.

    Talking about Rhone Rangers, or Hospices du Rhone really do not resonate with consumers. And if some say Syrah, some say Shiraz, and some say Rhone Varietals, there is a branding issue here.

    I don’t know what the solution is (did Meritage ever really gain traction?), but I’m with you. I love Syrah more than Cab or Merlot or Zinfandel. (Pinot Noir still gets the gold, at least for now–but who knows.)

    I would love to see Syrah take its rightful place as one of the greatest–and most popular–wine grapes.

  3. Larry says:

    Amy,

    Thanks for the reply! And I really dig your idea – was as an organization (and WE as an INDUSTRY) need to do a better job educating consumers about a LOT of things wine-related . . .

    I hope to hear more from others – and pass along what’s going on with the organization and changes being made as the year continues . . .

    Cheers!

  4. amy says:

    Larry
    Congrats! As I’ve said before, I love all of the Rhone grapes. However, when I think of consumers like my mother, she enjoys syrah but rhone would mean nothing to her.I wonder if there is a way to do outreach that would educate consumers like her?