The founder, president, CEO and driving force behind Capiche, Chris Cook took a few minutes out to catch us up on the motivation behind her work in the wine industry and share with us where her team is headed.
Interview with Chris Cook
Grab a chair and a glass of wine for a fun chat with Chris about the wine industry.
Q: I understand you are a student again—now in the viticulture and enology program at the Southern Oregon Wine Institute (SOWI). What’s your interest in the wine industry?
A: I’ve become increasingly aware that the Southern Oregon wine industry is not only growing by leaps and bounds but is also gaining international recognition. I’m a passionate wine connoisseur and have explored wine marketing in past blog posts such as this. Given the escalating need for marketing and my decades of expertise in marketing and branding, I think I can offer the Southern Oregon wine industry something unique.
Q: How do you intend to serve Oregon wineries?
A: Most of our 120 regional wineries are too small to have a full-time marketing professional on staff, yet all of them would benefit from strategic marketing planning and implementation. The SOWI program is helping me learn all the ins and outs of the wine industry, and I plan to use this knowledge to best serve wineries in the region as the go-to wine marketing consultant.
January 13, 2017
Southern Oregon’s Applegate and Rogue Valley listed as one Forbes’ top 12 wine regions to visit in 2017! (The Top 12 Underrated Wine Regions to Visit in 2017: A Month-by-Month Guide)
January 7, 2016
“The story of Oregon wine no longer begins and ends with Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, as many of the state’s most exciting new offerings hail from Southern Oregon.” (Ashland, Oregon, Is One of the World’s Top 10 Wine Travel Destinations)
October 1, 2015
“Southern Oregon: Meet the undiscovered wine country of your dreams. … you’ll find about as many types of good wine as you would in your beloved bottle shop.”
July 3, 2014
“We found a relaxed, blossoming wine country with empty roads and crowd-free tasting rooms … pouring excellent versions of an impressively wide range of varietals.”
Q: What evidence do you have that Southern Oregon is becoming recognized for its wines?
A: This Mail Tribune article does a pretty good job of highlighting the region’s burgeoning reputation for wine and heightened media coverage in recent years, stating:
The fruit of the region’s vines has drawn accolades from the Atlantic to Pacific, capturing the hearts of wine columnists and judges. Reports in The New York Times, Sunset magazine and Wine Enthusiast, plus an avalanche of medals in this month’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, are creating reasonable expectations the coming travel season will attract more and new wine tourists.
Q: Are Southern Oregon wines winning awards?
A: Are they ever! The San Francisco Chronicle awards are among the industry’s most respected, and with our local wines winning big, the Chronicle featured Southern Oregon’s wines at its February 2017 Grand Tasting, an event that drew thousands.
This year, Southern Oregon outpaced the rest of the state, winning more than 50% of all the medals awarded to Oregon wineries. Pretty impressive, as Southern Oregon only accounts for 20% of the state’s wine production! Cheers to Umpqua Valley’s Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards for winning Best in Class for their 2015 Gruner Veltliner.
In 2016, Best of Show awards went to Foris Vineyards’ 2014 Pinot Gris and Pebblestone Cellars’ 2014 Ellis Vineyards Viognier. Other Southern Oregon wineries, in Applegate, Elkton, Rogue Valley and Umpqua Valley locations, scored in a total of 134 medals in the Chronicle’s competition. Another nine entries earned double golds and 15 garnered golds. All those entries were available at the grand tasting.
As the Mail Tribune article noted:
“From the wine growers and winemakers, we’ve really stepped up the game now to the point where we are producing world-class wines,” said Pebblestone Cellars owner Dick Ellis. “I think that can be coupled with a message going out telling the world through social media, advertising and different forms of marketing that this is a real destination to come. It’s great publicity, very good timing. As we get more and more people coming here as a destination wine area, it will help to get the word out of what kind of wine we’re producing here.”
Q: How do you plan to work with Southern Oregon wineries?
A: I’ve been learning about the industry and getting to know the wineries. I’m a member of the Southern Oregon Wineries Association and am on its Marketing Committee. I also am on the Marketing Committee for the Oregon Wine Experience. Last year, the Capiche team attended the Oregon Wine Symposium in Portland for the first time. This year, we were presenters! The topic was “Walk the Talk: Bringing Your Brand to Life in the Tasting Room.”
I’m excited to get to know the players and figure out how I can best help them market their wines while building even greater recognition for the region.