Last Updated on October 27, 2022 by rise25
Jenifer Freebairn is the Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Lasseter Family Winery. She’s also the Co-founder of Wow and Flutter Winery, leading the team with her husband, John.
Jenifer spent most of her life composing, recording, and performing music. She also spent several years in restaurant service and management prior to joining the wine industry.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Jenifer Freebairn talks about how she got into the spirits industry
- Jenifer discusses her first role at Paul Hobbs
- The parallels between writing for a winery and writing a song
- Jenifer gives advice to wine writers in crafting their copy
- Why you should go big with hospitality
- Jenifer talks about launching her own brand, Wow and Flutter Winery
- The key for both long-standing and newer wineries to stay relevant
- Jenifer shares how wineries can recraft their story
- Sustainability practices for wineries
- Is it possible to launch a wine brand without using social media?
In this episode with Jenifer Freebairn
Writing for a winery is like writing a song. You need to tune into what matters and understand what captivates your audience. So how do you connect with people and be successful in the wine industry?
Knowing the message your brand is sending out to the public is crucial. Whether you are a long-standing winery or a newer one, there will always be something about your brand worth telling. This unique story will set you apart from the rest, make people remember you, and eventually draw them to your brand.
In today’s episode of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast, Drew Thomas Hendricks and Bianca Harmon welcome Jenifer Freebairn, Co-founder of Wow and Flutter Winery, to talk about the secret to building a successful brand in the wine industry. Jenifer gives advice to wine writers in crafting their stories and explains how wineries can recraft their branding to stay relevant.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Barrels Ahead
- Drew Thomas Hendricks on LinkedIn
- Bianca Harmon on LinkedIn
- Jenifer Freebairn on LinkedIn
- Wow and Flutter Winery
- Wow and Flutter Winery on Facebook
- Wow and Flutter Winery on Instagram
- Wow and Flutter Winery on LinkedIn
- Lasseter Family Winery
- Paul Hobbs Winery
- Kosta Browne
- Grgich Hills
- Michael Cimarusti on LinkedIn
- Water Grill Restaurant
- Thomas Ingmire
- “Using Sensory Awareness to Enhance the Wine Tasting Experience with Dr. Hoby Wedler” on Legends Behind the Craft
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.
At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.
Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.
So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!
Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry with your host Drew Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 0:20
Drew Thomas Hendricks here, the host of Legends Behind the Craft podcast where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry. Today’s episode is sponsored by Barrels Ahead. At Barrels Ahead, we work with you to implement a one of a kind marketing strategy. When that highlights your authenticity, tells your story and connects you with your ideal customers. In short, we help wineries and craft beverage producers unlock their story, to unleash their revenue to the Bureau’s ahead.com today to learn more. Today we have Bianca Harmon joining us again today she’s one of our DTC marketing strategist. How’s it going, Bianca?
Bianca Harmon 0:52
It’s going good Drew. I’m excited to talk to Jenifer today and learn about all of the different things Jenifer has going on in the wine industry.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 1:03
Yes, today’s guest is Jenifer Freebairn, Vice President and marketing and sales at Lasseter Family Winery. Jenifer’s marketing and sales strategies have helped build and evolve some really iconic wine brands, including Paul Hobbs, Kosta Browne, and Grgich hills. Welcome to the show. Jenifer. Thank you for having me. It’s really nice to be here. And I look forward to our conversation. Oh, absolutely. I am so stoked. So Jenifer, gotta tell me, how how’d you get into the industry?
Jenifer Freebairn 1:31
Well, it seems like an organic arrival to me. And I think it’s common in our business. But you know, I’ve been I worked in restaurants from the time I was 16 years old. So there was always a food and wine thing there. And I guess a sales and marketing thing there. And you know, a lot of stuff that ended up serving me well, and some great wine mentors, including Paul enmund, who is a fabulous song in the truest sense of the word and David Ross off and some other people in this was in Los Angeles. And I was also a performing singer, songwriter after college. And so you know, just a lot of things came together. And as I
thought about what to do next, really, wine was the thing. And I had a fabulous education at waterwheel restaurant, where Michael summers do with Chef prior to starting Providence restaurant. And it was just a great program. So I learned a lot. And through that I ended up connecting with Paul Hobbs and moving up north from LA with my husband who’s from the Bay Area. And I was lucky that at that time, he was kind of just he was using he’d already gotten started. But I mean his star was rising. And he’s a very DIY, extremely dynamic person. And I wanted my hands and everything. And I learned by doing and so it was just a it was a good fit there. I got to come in and immediately do do a lot.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 2:56
What did you What was the first role that pops?
Jenifer Freebairn 3:00
I don’t remember the title. There were a bit of everything. Yeah, it was Paul and his brother and Gary lip doing sales and some people in accounting. And we the first week I was there, I oversaw some great pics. I took call to mediate dinner with Jim Nelson, who I think is still now the head of Conde Nast, at that time wanted to write an article for Gourmet magazine about Paul, and we shipped wine. And, you know, I started selling with Gary, and soon after I started writing and became the chief writer for the company. So I don’t remember how I started. I really don’t remember the title, but it just evolved. And it was very exciting. And Paul had just launched his first wine wines from Argentina from our winery there. And so there was just tons going on.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 3:51
Oh, for sure. So I started as the writer for the winery. And before that you’re a singer songwriter. Talk to me about the parallels between writing for winery what writing about wine and writing for song.
Jenifer Freebairn 4:06
Yeah, so for me, you know, I am a big picture person. And I will always think about how the biggest picture and the values and the deepest desires kind of translate into whatever you’re doing, whether you’re writing a song or having a conversation, or trying to find out what a brand means to people and how you can, you know, connect in a deeper way with people and and all the fun stuff that comes along with that from Wholesale to DTC to hospitality to, you know, digital, it’s just I have to see things as all being integrated parts of a whole. And so I say all of that, to say that, you know, songwriting at the end of the day is paying attention. I’ve always just been fascinated. I was lucky to grow up around a lot of my most admired music people and just everything from the look in their eye to just this sense that they were kind I’m walking down the center of their life and doing this thing that was apparently my thing just attracted me. And it’s just a deep paying attention. And when somebody writes something simple that you either would have taken 100 words to say, or you wouldn’t even have thought to notice. And they somehow sent in five words, that just blows my mind. And to be honest, that’s sort of the the inspiration for most of what I do. So that relates to me very directly to a wine for and it’s just tuning into what matters and and also developing the sensibilities about what doesn’t belong, you know, what is not important here? And what don’t I need to say, and that’s really critical to a brand. Finding your audience is important. And that does not mean appealing to everyone at all. In fact, it probably means the opposite. And especially with smaller, the smaller wineries where I’ve consulted or worked,
Drew Thomas Hendricks 6:00
or the old saying is to try to please everyone, you please. No one.
Jenifer Freebairn 6:04
Yeah. Yeah, not a not a smart strategy.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 6:08
I do like this, the songwriting because you know, the songs elicit emotion, they evoke emotion, they bring together commonalities, I mean, people look to songs for so many different things. And I think too often we overlook that in marketing. When we’re writing it. We’re trying to tell everything at once. And I like that you’re going to pare it down, you got to figure out the purpose for this this piece that you’re writing here, which to me, it seems very similar to songwriting.
Jenifer Freebairn 6:33
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Absolutely.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 6:37
Yeah. As your what advice. So as you’re talking about, you get into the audience, you mentioned that, but to other wineries that to other wine writers out there, what advice would you give them? Is there trying to kind of finally craft their their copy?
Jenifer Freebairn 6:52
Yeah, that’s a great question. Well, I think there’s a couple of things. First of all, you have to think about what is the what is the winery all about? Even from a structural perspective, is this a winery that was started with a real business vision by somebody who wants to reach a certain revenue and margin and, you know, production size goal? Or? Or is this something that which is common with smaller wineries, especially the ones I consulted for, somebody started it because they love wine, and you’re coming in a few years down the line, and nobody knows really, why they’re doing it, or what happened or what’s going on, and they think they need to make it and then sell it when marketing is like, the thing that generates every sale you ever do. Whether you’re conscious of it or not. Even poor marketing is having an effect on whether you’re selling wine or not a lack of marketing, that is
Drew Thomas Hendricks 7:47
so true, the lack of doing it is actually doing it, there’s no way out of it. You’re either doing either way you’re doing marketing, you can either do it poorly, or, or Well,
Jenifer Freebairn 7:56
yeah, I mean, it’s influence. And it’s just like in life, we’re influencing each other all the time, whether we’re conscious of it or not. So I think there’s a lot of questions in there. But the main thing, first of all, is, if I’m talking to an individual who’s going to be part of a winery and do that job, it’s kind of like, what is the the environment here? Are you kind of on your own, this is so tiny, that you just can invent it, you can tune into the winemaker owner. And you can say, hey, I think this is what really connects. And this is what I know so far, even though we don’t have really much data, but we’ve got these people that we know on the list are. And so you kind of got to start with where are you, which is always the most challenging, fun, fascinating, but ultimately can be a hair raising question, where are you? And so if the role is very clear, and you’re just writing for somebody who already has this vision, and there are other people, lots of other people involved? Then you just said about looking at other wineries that have this similar profile, looking at other wineries that say they have a similar audience looking at pure wineries who are doing similar, whose profiles seem similar in the media or on websites? Or who are doing events that you aspire to be part of, you just kind of look around for how can you? How can you sort of tailor what you’re doing to that, and then you get to know the brand better, and hopefully, you build something and you and you, you know, you can really develop your own your own personality, like you might you may find things out that are unlike any of those people that you were originally looking at. But that’s your starting point. So I think if you have a really specific job, that’s how you do it. And if it’s just this other end of the spectrum, where it’s really small for me, and I even did this with Paul, and actually I do this because of the way I think I’ve done it all the way up to last years. It’s like, Who is this person? How is their how does their life work? Because that’s going to influence if I write stuff that’s supposed to be true about this winery, and then it doesn’t happen because they’re actually not going to be involved or they’re going to be want to be involved in a different way than I thought, you know, I’ve got to really stand behind what I’m saying who we are and what is The intention we have to connect with people and how what are we trying to do in this world? So that’s a big answer, I guess. But
Drew Thomas Hendricks 10:07
there’s some great nuggets in there that kind of, again, I’m kind of kind of playing this songwriting to, to its logical end. But there’s like this underlying theme or this underlying kind of music, musical chorus that goes through all the different wineries. In the end, you pick that and then you build upon that. You’re not like starting from scratch every single time. It In your opinion, so for wine, what you love most about wine, what’s that underlying theme that kind of needs to relate or be woven into all the messages?
Jenifer Freebairn 10:38
The underlying theme, in addition to the idea that you have to see what peep what your brand means to, to your audience? It’s not what you say it is what they say it is, you know, that’s kind of a phrase. So in addition to that, always being the thing. I think you just need to, actually, I lost my train of thought. We you asked the question again, oh,
Drew Thomas Hendricks 11:04
no, I was just saying I kind of the underlying theme and wine. So as you’re finding like you were talking about going towards other wine brands that are very similar, that kind of share the same type of audience, because they all are all sharing that same kind of underlying course, they build they build uniqueness upon that, in your experience for what brands you’ve worked on, what was the kind of underlying course that you built off of?
Jenifer Freebairn 11:27
For for each brand, like different?
Drew Thomas Hendricks 11:31
You know, you’ve worked with some pretty iconic brands, and yeah, standard iconic, they stand alone, but there’s also there’s some similarities between them.
Jenifer Freebairn 11:39
Yeah. Yeah, there are, I think they were trying to do big things, at least pa jobs and cost around. We’re both trying to do big things. And they both were started by people who had a there was a real there there. You know, they were really doing it themselves. I mean, I guess that was it. You know, whether it’s Paul, this upstate farm boy, you know, it felt very outside of this community when he arrived here and was overwhelmed and just had an incredible trajectory. And always worked very hard and was, you know, always in different countries doing different things and just kind of exploring, you know, he’d go to undiscovered regions or rediscover regions that were unappreciated. Or, you know, or what have you. And Michael and Dan, were, you know, two waiters in Sonoma County and making their own wine? And I think so. You know, so they both have this, like, really, I love the word scrappy, it’s a huge compliment to me. And there’s a scrappiness underneath that, that I love, you know, because it’s a lot to build on. So there’s just real things that you can build on from there.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 12:41
Absolutely. So talking about scrappy I hear you’ve got your own brand coming up? Well in Flutter. Yes. Talk to me, talk to me about that launching your brand after helping some of these iconic brands just get to the next level.
Jenifer Freebairn 12:53
Yeah. Well, speaking of creativity, you know, I feel like my husband, who’s from the Bay Area came down to LA. And I like to say he got stuck there when he met me. And my musical life was really fun. It was really fun for both of us. And I know we it’s treasured and cherished, and my musical kind of collaborations and things are an embarrassment of riches. But it was nice to devise our escape from LA. And when we escaped and came up north and I began to work on the wind side of things. He went back to finish a college degree that ended up being in algae and viticulture, and he became a winemaker. And so I felt like I got to really do my thing with music. And he’s been making wine now for other brands as well. And I just he really needed I thought and wanted to do his own thing. And so well in Flutter came about as our way of doing something together, which is really sweet, and wonderful. And also him being able to just make a wine that he could say is his and his hours. And the one thing that doesn’t matter, but I’ll tell you, just because we’re on this podcast, you know, names are really hard to find, I don’t love choosing names. It’s not my favorite part of branding. But wow. And flutter is actually a musical term. And it’s an imperfection in analog recording that contributes to the character of the sound. And when we, when the words came out of our mouths one night in a conversation about music are like, Oh my God, that’s just those flow out of our mouths. So great that that’s such a great name. So there’s also a little music thing that but we don’t tell that because that’s, to me, that’s a who cares? You know, nobody needs to be bothered with that unless
Drew Thomas Hendricks 14:25
it’s interesting to them. Yes, I was wondering if people care,
Jenifer Freebairn 14:29
and maybe they will care.
Bianca Harmon 14:30
I mean, you see a name like wow, and flutter, and you’re like, Okay, what does this mean? Where did this come from? I mean, I do,
Jenifer Freebairn 14:38
well, maybe it’s one of those. If it sparks a curiosity, then that’s a good branding piece. Right? Then you can look a little further and you can find out. Right?
Drew Thomas Hendricks 14:48
So as you’re launching this well in Flutter brand, what are some of the challenges that you can overcome?
Jenifer Freebairn 14:55
Ah, so I think the challenge is that hopefully some which we averted were, you know, how much good wine is there out there today? It the proliferation of brands is insane. It’s such a different time period in so many ways from when I started in this business, which was a really cool time because it was when wine was really becoming bigger than beer in the US for the first time, I think in 2005. And there were far fewer brands and there was just a whole different you know, DTC was a big new thing and direct consumer shipping was a big new thing. And you know, ship compliant was a new thing, you know, so it was a different time and a real heyday, Anna and a fabulous era to be a part of. Now, there are not only so many brands, but there are, you know, cocktails and shrubs and ciders, and everything’s just sort of like part of never experience shrubs like the they’re not kombucha, they’re kind of something that goes into a cocktail, but they’re also kind of super homegrown items. beverages.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 16:03
That was the first time I heard that word.
Jenifer Freebairn 16:07
They have great ones with different bars basketball anyway. So you know, it was like, What are we doing this for? We are doing this so that you, my wonderful husband can have your outlet. And we can introduce, like I said, some beautiful little gem. And we have a friend Mark Lingenfelter, who was the vineyard director at CHOC Hill for 30 years, he’s a wonderful guy. And we go see a lot of music together. And he’s really into jazz and tracing music and stuff. And he and his wife have this great home vineyard and a cooler in a cooler pocket of the Russian River Valley where it can be quite warm. And so a lot of little factors came together timewise and the vintage Mark was able to give us a little Martini clone, which is a little bit in a in a wonderful way more structured a little less aromatic than again, rushing over pinos can just be really, really big. And so all of these kinds of factors, sort of just serendipitously lined up. And we said, okay, let’s just do it. And let’s make it so small, that if we decide to do it once, that’s fine. And if we decide to keep it going, that’s fine, too. And I think that was kind of the overall management concept concept, you know, people can quickly get into something that’s just too big or overwhelming. And I’m not interested in that, you know, I love the thrill of marketing, somebody else’s wine, because there’s an infrastructure there, and I’m confident that I can take care of it. Um, this was like, hey, we want to, we don’t want this to take over our lives to start, we want to do something really, really beautiful and pristine and small. So that was like, I think the best thing that maybe averted some of the challenges, and maybe that comes from his experience, certainly working in different kinds of wineries, in my experience working with these other brands.
Bianca Harmon 17:49
You know, I want to touch on something that you said in regards to something that was difficult. And, you know, it’s something that I think a lot of wineries are struggling with today is or not even struggling, but you know, there are so many wineries out there now, right when we when Napa and Sonoma started, it was not like it is now. And so what do you think? You know, because I currently I’m a DTC strategist, I’m trying to help wineries be stay relevant become irrelevant. What do you think these wineries that have been around for so long and think that they’re always just gonna be this winery, and people are always going to know about them? Or these newer wineries? What do you think the key is for them marketing wise, or strategy wise, in general to make sure that they stay
Jenifer Freebairn 18:37
relevant? This is a fabulous question. Obviously, this is, this is critical. So there’s a couple things there. First of all, there’s I guess I’d call the nuts and bolts, and whatever you are, so let’s take let’s take little wineries. Or let’s start with the big ones. What are you missing because there’s so much low hanging fruit when you go into a well established brand, it turns out that they really don’t have data, and there’s so much that they could do just to collect that, or they haven’t, but nobody knows what to do with it. So just fix that one thing, just see how you can just help them put the glasses on? Who are you currently? What do you currently mean? You know, and just see if you can get some clarity on that. And then, you know, I think the the other thing that may seem to pertain more to smaller brands, is that think small, is specifically you know, what, and I give this exercise sometimes to like really beginning, you know, busy wine business owners. It’s like, what is it about your life, just tell me anything, I don’t care what it is you love cats, or, you know, like, it just doesn’t matter. Just let’s get into something real about who you are.
And from there, we can find a way it’s more like, I guess, in general, in this wave, it’s like, let’s find a compass, rather than a map, and we can start to figure out you know, where Are we where do we want to go? How do we want to get there? And how do we track our progress? Which is really the path? Where are we? And what do we mean to people? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? And then how do we track what we’re what’s happening so that we can actually adjust. So I start with just getting some smidgen of something that’s come from them a little See, that you can work with, and then stay very, very small, and pick a few tactics. The one thing that falls out of eras of very big consolidation, which also it happened in the music business in the 90s, and it happened in in the wine business to a degree in the early 2000s, in certain ways, is lovely boutique agencies and companies and new kinds of companies fall out of that. And so for instance, there are some ex, larger distributor people who have tiny, tiny, little boutique, I can’t really call them distributors, but you know, they will represent your brand, because they have the human relationships. The one thing that’s kind of like, where does that belong in the digital world, you still have to have some sway with important buyers, if we’re talking about a brand that wants to be in restaurants and wants to be wholesale. And so they there are people who are managing just a few brands now, because they’re also doing what they’re doing some digital marketing for people over here, and maybe they have a wine club of their own. And maybe they’re doing podcasts or whatever. So think about small, small, small, or are there two states that you could go into. One is your home state of Texas, because that’s where you’re from, you know, come up with something sticky. And you can do wholesale and direct to consumer there, and figure out whether it’s just some country clubs or things that you want to do there, or whether you want to participate in some food and wine events, or whether you happen to be in the car business. And there’s some way you can leverage other lifestyle brands, but just think very, very small and specific, if you’re small, and work with somebody who has a little bit of a big picture perspective like this, otherwise, you just get lots of tactics. And they don’t add up to something and it makes it breaks my heart I watch people either spending money, or missing the whole marketing piece. And it’s very frustrating. And then for larger companies, I think I’ll just use, you know, cost around as an example. That’s a big change to go from a brand that is so scarce. And so fascinating, I working with that animal of a brand was just incredible. But to go from something that is so scarce, that people really do sign up and wait years. And because of that, it’s it’s very expensive to buy the wine in retail or even at restaurants. And so it’s worth waiting. And so there’s this like, perpetuating that. And once you decide that you want to grow, you know, in that scenario, my perspective was, Do not pretend you’re not growing. And even a brand like that, to your point Bianca, this, the older buyers and the older male lists, and you know, how do we remain relevant with everything changing, it was like, just don’t pretend you’re not doing it, because a lot of people pretend they’re not growing. And they just tried to kind of maintain this veil. And it’s like no go big with hospitality that you never had before, unless you were a friend of a friend. Because as soon as you’re no longer quite a scarce, that’s going to change the scenario. And wholesale people will taste the wines more than they have, though, you’ll become and it’s not a bad thing. It’s called growth and change. And we all deal with it. So embrace it, but make your distributors part of that. Make it a win for them, understand them well enough that you can you can, you know, make a proposition that’s going to be positive for them, and go big with hospitality don’t go small and think you’re going to not really you’re going to fly under the radar. So sometimes it’s like, fine again, find that change, they had some changes they could make because they were so unusual and so scarce. But you got to find some things that you can embrace and just move forward. You know,
Drew Thomas Hendricks 24:03
both of those are golden nuggets, and very counterintuitive to many small, you know, as you’re starting out, your tendency is to think big, big, big and need to grow, grow, grow. And it’s so counterintuitive to say you got to think very granular. And on the opposite side of the spectrum, like the cost of Brown, who’s gotten big, there, their tendency is to keep themselves thinking small, small, small, allocated, allocated allocated, when they actually need to go the other direction.
Jenifer Freebairn 24:32
Yeah, absolutely. And to be frank, just because I’m bringing that up. They did. So they’ve got an incredible hospitality operation now and it’s like yes, thank you, you know, because I was actually out in the market with this is a separate story, but having somebody say, Oh, I hope this brand that I was working with, doesn’t try to pull up a such and such and they use the name of another brand and they it was a very respected, respected seller. Yay. Just kind of calling that out saying, don’t think you could do this in the shadows. And that’s, that was a helpful comment. And so classic brown has done a brilliant job of that, or duck horn, I should say, has done a brilliant job with
Drew Thomas Hendricks 25:11
that. Yeah, it’s it’s tough to it’s tough to kind of preserve scarcity or create a marketing program to artificially preserve scarcity.
Jenifer Freebairn 25:20
Yeah. Well, and speaking of that piece about, you know, so you can create scarcity in a few ways. I mean, there is scarcity if you have some small small vineyards, right. So there’ll be a few SKUs that are just like they really are scarce, it’s not a marketing ploy. And these are things that you wait for, you know, so there’s that. Or maybe there’s a, you know, Paul hops were really fortunate that the crossbar and second label brand was very organic. And it started with, you know, accidentally in the 2000 Vintage when there was just, it was a weird vintage, and there was some extra Cabernet. But you know, it kind of that brand of a sharp Pinot and a cap came together, right as the downturn was happening in oh eight. And that was just fantastic, because people had to find lower priced wines. And they had to go beyond what they normally drank. And the DTC crowd was the opposite. The insulated crowd, only one of the most expensive wines and DTC thrived during that time. But in the wholesale market and other stuff, you know, people needed an alternative. So you know, you could have some wines that are only for the wholesale market, you know, there’s just other ways you can create scarcity, or at least, you know, differentiate so that you’re still working with a little bit smaller audience than just having all of your wine available to everybody.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 26:34
Sure. Gonna ask a question about advice that you have going into this next year, as kind of all signs are pointing towards, you know, recession, decrease spending increased prices, there’s a how, what advice do you give? What advice would you have to wineries to, for them to recraft their story as they’re going into this kind of new, new environment.
Jenifer Freebairn 27:00
So I know you’re asking about re crafting their story, again, always, maybe taking a fresh look at what is really unusual, or unique about you beyond the words that are not unique, you know, and if you’ve already done that, and you know that you’re also really into fine art, or you have a specific profile to your winery, that’s great. But look for what you haven’t communicated about what really matters to you. But the other thing, is that thing of looking for the low hanging fruit, you know, do you know who your audience is? How well do you know them? What are your touch points?
Drew Thomas Hendricks 27:34
What are their pains? What?
Jenifer Freebairn 27:36
What are their pains? Exactly? How can you? How can you just think of them? You know, how can you do something that will, that they’ll really appreciate? And like, can you communicate with them? Not necessarily more, but maybe in a different way? You know, what are your communications look like? Can you talk about life, or some of your values or other things that you’re involved in causes that you support, you know, whatever, just make sure that you’re having a fuller conversation with that. Because, again, you know, whether we think we are or not even when we’re at our most rational, we’re still making decisions about what to buy, based on what we identify with, or what we aspire to, or what takes away pain, or, or whatever. So you know, some of that low hanging fruit and not just what are you not doing very well, there’s always stuff. You know, this is the fascinating thing and kind of another, there’s always fun pieces. And one of the fun pieces is like, oh, what’s all the stuff that’s just so easy to fix that we haven’t fixed? And then there’s a lot of that. And sometimes it’s structural, who answers the phone? Does everybody in your organization, however big or small recognize that the only touch point that person might have is with the accounting person that they the bank calls, but the bank happens to be a member of your mailing list and like that’s it, they’re not going to talk to anybody else. So is everybody you know, does everybody understand that we are we are all we are a marketing entity. And it do not have to pretend to be a marketing person. I know that would be like, ah, but you have to understand that that’s what we are in the way that we are all now media companies, because we do our own media. And one thing that a wonderful photographer Michael house right said to me, as we’re talking about doing some stuff for Lasseter, he and I was describing the the essence of this brand. It was like Well, you’re a travel company. And this is a great way to think, you know, we are about wines that are inspired by John and Nancy’s travels and even their travel to Sonoma and falling in love with it and buying a home here and raising five grown sons here. And then oh my god, it just happens that the 50 Odd acres next door available and restoring this old you know property from you know, centuries old Zinfandel and feel bland and going organic and you know, there’s just so much
Drew Thomas Hendricks 29:58
I love you Aren’t wineries aren’t media companies now,
Jenifer Freebairn 30:02
they are media companies, they are media. And if we’re a travel company, the way to think about that is we’re transporting people. And in some ways, you know, we think of ourselves as wines with both a sense of time and place because of all the history here, but we’re moving forward and we’re doing innovative things. And we’re conservationists water, and there’s a lot going on. So we’re gonna, we’re either we’re transporting some people away, and this is what it is, is this wonderful thing behind me. We’re also hopefully bringing them home a little bit to themselves and just relaxing. And then each of the labels is graced with commissioned piece of artwork that represents the inspiration for the brand for the label, which is usually one of John and Nancy’s little travels someplace.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 30:43
Like that. I was thinking more philosophical and a travel company, because like, opening a bottle of wine and the room is everything, it can take you to another place instantly. So whether or not they’re going to the winery, you’re taking them on a journey when you open the bottle.
Jenifer Freebairn 30:59
Now you’re absolutely right, you’re absolutely right. And that’s what’s so great about wine. I mean, other than sound, you know, sensory taste and smell is just as we all know, it’s so evocative the Crown’s from your, you know, ruin your kid like just anything could just it can just take you back or take you anywhere or take you back to Barolo where you can’t wait to go back. I’ve been in a while.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 31:21
I was talking, Oh, I love Brooklyn. We were supposed to go this year, we, my wife and I had a trip plan to Piedmont it was gonna be fantastic. But we ended up redoing our house. So next year. Okay, that’s a good idea. That was my travel plans that got foiled. While that fell down,
Jenifer Freebairn 31:38
let’s get their get their
Drew Thomas Hendricks 31:41
story, talking about sounds and the whole evocative nature of the bottle. And remember, last year, I was talking with Dr. Toby Legler, who’s blind and is taught and really does the studies on all the other senses besides the look of the wine, and the color of the wine and all the prejudices that the color of the wine can give. And one of the things we talked about was the little unknown as the sound like the the sound of the screwcap opening or the sound of the cord being pulled. It’s they both have two very different evocative feelings one might be the best sound you hear at a barbecue. The other one is something at a fine dining restaurant. And this is my weird segue into corks and sustainability.
We talked in the pre show about sustainability and courts, and for me, there’s nothing there’s no more happy sound and the sound of a cork being popped. And is we were talking earlier, it’s it’s one of the more sustainable parts of the of the winemaking process.
Jenifer Freebairn 32:41
Yeah, it is. And this is such a big subject, I, it would be fun to do another whole podcast with a couple of people on here and talk about that. But it is really sustainable. And you know, I’m a learn by doing and an experiential person, and I look at our business, and it’s so cool, how we’ve put wine into different kinds of containers, and experimented with stuff. And so you know, it’s complicated, and I don’t want to make it sound like there’s one way to do things, but it is important as we look for maybe, you know, wine and cans, and these other things has really made one more approachable again, and reach allows us to reach more people, and we can take it on adventures with us. And so there’s all this positive in that. And then I think we kind of step back here and there and say, Wait, okay, what are the materials? And what is the real impact, as we know, more than ever, everything is connected to everything. And so, what is the carbon footprint of the places that produce these various, you know, these various materials that we use in packaging, and, you know, core core it is it is sustainable, partly because the core trees are not cut down, which is I know, a common misconception. So, it’s renewable. And I think it’s just, you know, we’ve been through a big period of innovation and this is a time to really take a look at all that and see what what makes the most sense. And it is romantic. I mean, there is nothing like a cork and and I’m certainly I’m gonna speak I was you know, screwcap proponent because I also think it’s important for people to not be stuck on things, you know, there’s different ways to do things. And sometimes it’s really good to let go of something because there’s a worthwhile trade off there.
Bianca Harmon 34:26
corks, caps are great for you know, picnics and taking a bottle not have to bring a wine opener with you. I just need to get that. I’ve already had too many bottles of wine. Let’s go for the screw cap.
Jenifer Freebairn 34:42
Yeah, that’s the thing. If we did it one way, really, it’s that’s not the point. It’s just to be conscious of how these various choices and options and look, if we start to analyze our lives, I mean, you could easily go crazy in about five seconds, because we’re all consuming all kinds of stuff. So anytime we could, again just focus in on some They can take a look at that, I think is a positive.
Bianca Harmon 35:03
Drew Thomas Hendricks 35:09
So with well in Flutter, I want to get back to that a little bit. So is this your first vintage the 2019?
Jenifer Freebairn 35:15
It is. Yeah, it’s really exciting. So we didn’t really small and you know, we just launched it, you know, social media style and simple and people reached out and it’s great. And it’s, it’s sold out from the winery, which is really fun. And it’s with a broker down south free run, who is doing so send some restaurants and things down in southern Southern Cal, and we’re almost through it. And we’ll be releasing another one next spring. That’s
Drew Thomas Hendricks 35:45
Fanta and I love the label who came up with the artwork?
Jenifer Freebairn 35:49
Great. Well, so my uncle Rhys and architects in San Francisco and he’s also a great champion of all creative things, and people and generations now of people in our family. He’s, he’s, he’s incredible. So we had a vague notion of nothing literal, no vineyards, no grapes, that but maybe vaguely landscape and veglia soundwaves. And, you know, I don’t know, but not cheesy. And so I always love to say that I’m not a graphics person. I mean, I’ve had to build, I built our own website, you know, I do things because I’m scrappy. But. But I’ve worked with Chuck house me most of my career. So I don’t have to do much in the way of label creation. And so we gave that to him. And he did some drawings. And that was really kind of him and they were beautiful. And then out of the blue. he engaged his friend, Thomas engelmeier, who you can look up engelmeier ing m i r e, and he’s a calligrapher. But that’s an understatement. He really takes that to a whole level that’s out of this world. And that’s what he came back with. And we just took a look at it and said, Yep,
Drew Thomas Hendricks 36:55
I have to say, I love it, because you do see the hills that it’s evocative of the hills of the area, but that the way the well is you definitely get the soundwave. But it doesn’t look so literal. Like you’re just took a sound wave. Like, wow.
Jenifer Freebairn 37:12
Yeah, cool. Yeah, he did. He did a great job. And you know, it’s it’s tough. Always. I mean, I for my whole career, so this thing of, do you do a different color? Do you stay with something that’s more black and white and classic. And, I mean, I had no idea where that would end up. But that that label kind of took care of that for us as well. And will, I’m sure we’ll enhance it or keep evolving at each time, but that it kind of took care of the whole shebang. For us. It was beautiful. And we thought it was impactful. It was not taking itself too seriously, which was part of the point. And yet we thought that it was really a great, you know, a great label.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 37:46
Absolutely. You talked about the launching it for the social media blitz, talk to me about that. How does it how it? How does the brand new upstart winery go about doing that?
Jenifer Freebairn 37:56
Well, this is so funny, this is a this is just really about having a long career in restaurants. And now in the wine business, it’s been a long time. And so I would be lying if I said, I did this great strategic thing for our particular brand. We put the word out. And we shared it. And thankfully, we had enough people who knew us or then people who introduced it to somebody else, that we were able to do that then and to have it work. And then I’ve been involved with some, you know, wonderful wine events over the years. And so there were people who were really interested in our brand and Alas, hitters are so generous, you know, we we entered the world of events, which I hadn’t been in for altering COVID Like going to the High Museum Atlanta wine auction last year. And I have a huge history with that event. It’s a really successful one for for me personally, and for the brands that I’ve worked with. And I have so many great friends there. And so the last year was very generous. And we’re like, well, they and I said they would like to show Wow, and flutter as well. We’re going to take last year there and introduce them. And they were they were totally enthusiastic about that, which is just, that’s the stuff that’s really, really wonderful. So it got a little bit of a spotlight there too. What
Drew Thomas Hendricks 39:14
a fantastic opportunity.
Jenifer Freebairn 39:16
Yeah, I mean, really great. Like, I’m so appreciative. That’s just the kind of stuff that’s golden.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 39:22
Yeah, that and also, I mean, having the history I mean for you, you’re just executing what you do. But for what about a winery or a winemaker is trying to launch his brand that has been resistant to be socialist for life for her whole life, and now needs to use it. That’s the million dollar question there.
Jenifer Freebairn 39:41
Yeah, this is tough, because here’s where it’s all about. Who would you have do this for you because it’s difficult to delegate and to have it go well, but if you’re really I mean, I know a lot of winemakers who are just not this is that is not Third thing, some that are I can think of who are really successful for a long time and some who are a little bit newer. And if it’s just really not your thing, you’re going to have to find a quality person, usually through word of mouth. There’s some other small wine winery, or winemaker, you know, who’s got somebody who is willing to do this and can do it well enough to represent you and just get that person to do it. I mean, if you’re, if you’re, if it’s a choice between, you’re just not going to do it, get real, and then work with somebody very closely, you are going to have to craft your story, you are going to have to do some exercises to come up with the kinds of words the kinds of language and things that are acceptable to you, and it doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s the other thing and get going and develop a certain style. And you know, and that kind of thing and a website that makes sense, which thank God, those are so simple these days. I mean, these things don’t have to be complicated. But I think if it’s really not your thing, you’ve got to find somebody to do it for
Drew Thomas Hendricks 40:59
you have to do you think it’s possible to launch a wine brand, and not use social media?
Jenifer Freebairn 41:06
So because some of the coolest stories are always the person who did it, then it makes no sense. And I’ve worked for some of those people, it’s just the best stuff. Like it just doesn’t make sense. Don’t don’t advise, don’t do this at home, I’m sure. Or I would say it’s definitely possible. There’s no way that it’s advisable, because we this is how we communicate with each other. And even more so. Because we’re in a phase with the wine business where there isn’t one critic, or one, anything that can make your grant, which was the case in the past,
Drew Thomas Hendricks 41:50
you can get into rubber pants and pray for many points score.
Jenifer Freebairn 41:56
Yeah, it doesn’t do that. And so really, the way we we build something is through influence, and peer marketing. And so there, you just got to connect with more people and connect with people who will be happy to spread the word and share your brand. So that could be a strategy, you probably know some people, if you’re not somebody who’s on social media, you know, maybe you have to do it, maybe you have to learn to do it, you know, you figure out look, I’m gonna just take these kinds of photos, and I’m just gonna say these kinds of things. And this is who I am. And, you know, forget it. But you probably know other people who would be so happy to champion your brand. I have a great time marketing other people’s stuff, partly because it’s not my thing. And I think many people feel that way. So you have some friends, or somebody who’d be willing to do some of that and help you spread the word, I’m sure.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 42:50
I like how you said pure marketing, because a lot of people think social media, then they immediately just go to Instagram, Facebook and the big. Like, that’s not me, but they don’t realize that they are doing pure marketing, because just a random example, it may be a firefighter that wants to start a winery who’s got this huge network of fellow firefighters in this huge network. And he doesn’t even realize that he is on the forums and he’s actually marketing through a social network. It just may be the firefighter networking, not the the Instagram.
Jenifer Freebairn 43:22
Absolutely, Yep. There you go. Just kind of open up these definitions and you know, find new find new ways. But yeah, that was great. That’s a great point.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 43:32
I want to start using pure marketing. Go for it. Thank you. For it’s kind of we’re wrapping down here. I gotta I’m asked another question out of the blue because I know your your affinity to jazz. And our collection. What jazz album should I get?
Jenifer Freebairn 43:53
Oh, my God, the most impossible question ever
Drew Thomas Hendricks 44:01
Asked if, if it is bringing how to grab one, which would you grab?
Jenifer Freebairn 44:10
So it’s impossible. Which child if you had 40,000? Which child would you grab? So it’s an impossible question. So I’m not going to get thinking about it. I’m just going to say Do you know John Schofield is
Drew Thomas Hendricks 44:23
nobody going to very shortly.
Jenifer Freebairn 44:25
Yeah, check him out. I’ll just leave it there. He’s a favorite guitar player of mine. He’s wonderful.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 44:34
Awesome. I’m gonna definitely check that out. within the industry now, which I think was shadow tour.
Jenifer Freebairn 44:42
Oh my god. I mean, it’s funny in our industry, again, I have so many great friends that this is our whole world. You know, I mentioned Paul enmund earlier and gosh, he’s getting a lot of play in this worldwide presentation of my But uh, but he, he’s somebody that I just would give a shout out to because he is a sommelier and that great in that great way of being really humble, super opinionated about what he drinks, I mean to the ends of the earth. But he certainly taught me a lot by just being so service oriented. You know, he just was really all about the guest, and wanting to tune in to what’s going to just enchant somebody and give him a great experience. And now he has the restaurant, the Morris, in the city, and he’s just, you know, he’s just a gem. And one of those people in our, in our industry that I’m glad is having an influence on others, because he’s a really good influence.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 45:43
Absolutely. Go look at that restaurant. So, Jenifer, where can people find out more about you? Well, and Flutter, Lasseter,
Jenifer Freebairn 45:50
yeah, so it’s all pretty easy. wowandfllutterwinery.com is where we are. And I keep hitting my handles very, very simple. So Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, website, they’re all going to be the same so as well, Wow and Flutter Winery. And for me, it’s Jenifer Freebairn. There’s music. There’s a music site, and you can find me, you know, there. And Lasseter Family Winery.
Drew Thomas Hendricks 46:14
Awesome. Awesome. Okay. Everybody’s gonna go check that out. Thank you so much, Jenifer, for joining us.
Jenifer Freebairn 46:20
Oh, it was really a pleasure. It was a great conversation. Thanks so much for having me. And thanks for what you do. You have a lot of great people on here and the conversations are really interesting.
Let’s see. Thank you. Have a great day. All right, you too. Cheers.
Thanks for listening to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.