By: Christian Turner
YSU Wine Program
Youngstown State University currently has a partnership with L’uva Bella Winery. This partnership allows L’uva Bella to make a YSU sponsored Wine featuring YSU’s logo. L’uva Bella makes two wines in this program – Pete’s Red Pinot Noir and Pete’s White Pinot Grigio. This is a very unique program because there are only currently 11 other colleges/universities that have their own private brand of wine. YSU Pete’s brand wines are in many local grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores, etc. The target market for this product consists of individuals that reside in the Youngstown metropolitan area, especially alumni of Youngstown State University. This product is a great quality of wine and is commonly purchased for graduation gifts, Christmas gift or even just memorabilia.
Working with Marisa Sergi
Throughout my internship I have had the privilege of working with Marisa Sergi, the Chief Operating Officer at L’uva Bella and the founder of RedHead Wine. She has taught me a plethora of creative marketing strategies that have given me a completely different perspective on how to market a product. The wine industry is such a competitive market, companies are constantly fighting for shelf space in stores. There are so many different types of wines and even more companies that manufacture or sell it. Marisa has done an outstanding job marketing her RedHead Wine Brand and setting it apart from other competitors. She has taught me a very important concept of soft selling. Being able to sell a product to someone without demanding them to buy it is one of the many different ways Marisa appeals to her current and potential customers. An example of this is when she posts live videos while she’s in stores that carry her wine. In the live videos she tells her customers to check out a specific sale or event that is going on in that particular store along then mentions to check out her display of wine while they’re there. This strategy benefits every party involved. Marisa has taken me under her wing and has given me useful advice on how to network with other people on many different platforms. By helping me create a LinkedIn account and teaching me how she uses it, has given me a better idea of how to use LinkedIn properly to enhance my network.
My Internship Experience
The experience this internship has provided me has been eye opening. I was given the task of creating a marketing plan for the YSU Pete’s Brand wines. While working on this project throughout my 10 weeks with L’uva Bella, creative marketing strategies were not the only pieces of information I learned. Working closely with individuals that own/run a business and learning what it takes to keep a business running day to day was knowledge that will help me with my future endeavors when I start a business of my own one day. Working on a marketing plan and learning a plethora of useful information about things such as how retail works, distribution of products, pricing, and establishing a brand has made this internship so much more dynamic then I imagined it would be.
4 Important takeaways and interesting facts I have learned from this internship at L’uva Bella Winery.
- Knowing and understanding your customers
Typically, newer wine drinkers or young people tend to like sweeter wines. As their palate develops, they begin to like dry, less sweet wines. This isn’t true for everyone; however, this is a popular trend that occurs with wine drinkers. Understanding this concept is critical for figuring out how to market each product based on its tasting notes. Focusing on what each group of customers enjoy allows our marketing efforts to be more personal.
- Trends for Wine
Fall and Spring Juice seasons are incredibly important for L’uva Bella. A large portion of the companies’ sales occur during the months of August through December. This is because wine is more popular during this time. People enjoy sitting next to a fire enjoying a glass of wine, purchasing juice to make wine on their own, or even watching a football game with a glass of wine. All of these activities are done during this prime time which is why wine sales increase.
- Types of Wine/ Tasting Notes
There are thousands of different varieties of wines. L’uva Bella currently makes 42 different types. I have learned that the names of the wines are either the type of grape that wine is made of or the name of the region the grapes were grown. For example, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon are all types of grapes. Champagne, Bordeaux, and Burgundy are all regions in France that grapes are grown in. I thought this was an interesting piece of information that I thought I would share for those who may not know!
- Wine Making Process
Through discussions I have had with the head winemaker, he gave me insight on how wine is made. There are thousands of different techniques to make wine. The way wine is filtered, racked, stored etc. all differs from place to place. A company such as L’uva Bella that sells the same juice they use to make their wine, to other wineries. The final product that each winery creates will taste completely different even though they used the same juice. This was confusing to me at first because I once thought if you use the same juice, all wines made from it will taste the same. I was completely wrong.