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Wine Buzz: Lodi rolls out 'LoCA' campaign to promote wine

Published: October 19th, 2011 12:00 AM

Lodi is going LoCA.

That's the name of a new national advertising campaign that kicks off today, with the mission of getting more Lodi wines in consumers' glasses.

Short for "Lodi, CA," the LoCA campaign is rolling out in such leading wine magazines as Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, along with San Francisco Magazine and local publications including The Bee.

The campaign's being funded by the Lodi Winegrape Commission, which represents Lodi-area grape growers, and developed by Sacramento's Mering/Carson advertising agency. While Lodi grows about 100,000 acres of wine grapes – about double the amount seen in Napa – the goal of the campaign is to give greater identity to Lodi's wine region.

"The core marketing objective is to create awareness and elevate the status of Lodi wine," said Lori Bartle of Mering/ Carson. "The 'LoCA' idea puts a new twist on a name that literally means 'Lodi, California.' It puts you in a more contemporary sort of place."

Lodi can certainly use an image makeover. It's not the most picturesque wine country, given its fairly flat landscape, and its culinary offerings can hardly compete with Napa, which attracts about 4.7 million tourists annually.

Look for the campaign to highlight Lodi as a place that's full of passionate people who are "crazy" about wine. (That's where the loca comes in). They'll also promote Lodi as a region that's affordable and welcoming with a down-to-earth vibe.

In early focus groups, the "LoCA" term tested well. Among the comments: "It makes me think they are hip and with the times." … "Makes them seem more accessible maybe."

Some Lodi growers are embracing this public relations boost. Richard Lauchland, a fourth-generation winegrape grower from Lodi, can't remember such a concerted effort to promote the region. He also served on the campaign's advertising and promotions committee.

"I'm very excited and think the campaign itself is a fun and interesting way to get to know us," said Lauchland. "We're doing fantastic things that we want people to know about, and hopefully that'll improve sales of wine and bring new customers."