Napa Valley Girl Makes Splash in French Wine Marketing

By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 17, 2008 2:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – France’s wine business is stuck in the doldrums, as American wines (and their aggressive marketing campaigns) explode onto the scene. But one Napa Valley girl is working to change that, by introducing stodgy French vintners to the modern concept of marketing. “A lot of what I do is psychological,” Jaime Araujo tells Gourmet. “Changing the identity of a wine that’s been in your family for four hundred years is hard, and it takes a lot of hand-holding.”

“France is a much more macho culture,” says the daughter of a Napa Valley winemaker, who speaks barely accented French. Araujo’s list of clients—many of whom have never ventured outside France or spent money on marketing—has doubled in each of the last four years. But instead of muscling in on the complex American market, Araujo focuses her clients on small-batch quality in neighboring countries: "People are saying, ‘If I’m only going to have one glass, I want a better glass.’ So price is going up—as long as you deliver quality.”

A view of Champagne vineyards near Epernay, eastern France.
A view of Champagne vineyards near Epernay, eastern France.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori, files)
Napa Valley has become a dominating force in the global wine market, to the chagrin of French grape growers.
Napa Valley has become a dominating force in the global wine market, to the chagrin of French grape growers.   (Getty Images)
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It’s a big responsibility, carrying that family tradition on your shoulders after four hundred years—something most Americans can’t quite grasp. - Jaime Araujo

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