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What’s in a Name?

I took interest in the recent Virginia LOVE champagne for wineries. Few wineries took part in the contest and the big winner was Blenheim Winery in Charlottesville. Actually they garnered over 3,000 votes during the one-day contest while other wineries gathered between 5 and a couple hundred votes. It was an overwhelming victory that prompted some to write that Blenheim Winery won because Dave Matthews, owner, asked people to vote for it. Comments were curious. Obviously Dave Matthews has some name recognition even though one voter asked who was he. As far as the winery goes, unless someone told you the winery was owned by Dave Mathews you may never know.


A visit to the winery is wonderful. A large glass floor permits visitors to observe the winery operations below. The tasting counters are against a glass wall overlooking vineyards. Throughout the tasting room there is little if any evidence that the owner is the Dave Matthews of the Dave Mathews Band. You’ll notice some of his artwork on some wine bottle labels, but only if you knew that Dave is also an artist.


There are other wineries that are named for famous people. Often the rich and famous are not afraid to use their name for the winery. Think Gretzky in Ontario. That winery has name recognition and if it were allowed in the Virginia contest it could easily have managed thousands of votes simply for those who love “the Great One.” Another winery with name recognition is Francis Ford Coppola Winery. The director has many wine enthusiasts who order his wines. Name recognition helps in a popularity contest.

Was the Virginia Love contest a popularity contest? Perhaps, but on the other side Blenheim Winery has a wonderful tasting room and is visitor friendly. Although the winery is owned by Dave Matthews, he doesn’t use his fame to influence the winemaking at Blenheim. He simply told the winemaker to make the best wine she can. Blenheim won the contest and that’s OK.


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