Best in Class for Vina Moda’s Barbera

The Value of Wine Contests

We asked wine maker Nathan Vader about the competition and how it fits into their overall marketing strategy.   Wine competitions come with a cost – usually from $60-100 dollars and require sending in a half case of the wine to be judged. Vader says they’re choosy about which contests they enter, and only go for those that have the potential for far reaching exposure within the targeted geographic market.   For Vina Moda, that means contests held by the California State Fair, and highly regarded publications like Sunset and the San Francisco Chronicle. This ties into their sales program, which is all customer direct – i.e. tasting room and wine club sales only – you won’t find their wine in retail locations.

grapes and hands

All hands on – sorting grapes at Vina Moda’s 2014 harvest | Jason B Smith

It’s a strategy that has helped create a loyal following for the boutique winery (about 1000 cases are produced annually across all varietals), and does double duty in introducing more people to Calaveras County. Any readers that want to try the winning wine will need to make the trip to the Murphys tasting room and the logical next step is to become wine club members. Then, it’s a matter of continuing to produce great wine and throw great wine club parties, says Nathan, who is completing his 18th year in the wine industry.

Vina Moda Winery
Inside the tasting room | Calaveras Winegrape Alliance

While the October issue of Sunset has only been out about a month, Vina Moda has seen quite a bit of interest and positive feedback from the attention. In fact, they’ve already sold half their inventory of the 2012 Barbera. So if you’re wanting to get your hands on some, you’d better act fast.

crush pitchforking grapes

Crushing white wine grapes at Vina Moda | Jason B Smith

Vina Moda is not the only Calaveras winery winning awards. Our wines have won so many awards that we’ve put together a Calaveras County Wineries Awards and Accolades guide that you can download free. This list shows the quality and variety of wines available in the county… but doesn’t represent all of our wineries because not all of them enter competitions. The list is especially impressive given that many Calaveras County wineries are small, boutique, family-owned and operated.. and they’re competing against some huge wineries, some with international name recognition. We think you’ll be as impressed as we are!