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Peter Vella Wines

The Birth of Peter Vella Wines

There was an interesting precursor to our current Peter Vella wine. In 1984, a few marketing folks came over and told us they wanted to introduce an Italian wine using my name. At the time, there was a lot of white wine on the market, so we came out with an easy-to-enjoy, accessible white wine product called Pietro Vella. The wine was successful for a few years, until Bartles & Jaymes really started taking off. B&J took every drop of surplus wine the company could produce, so we had to drop Pietro Vella from our portfolio.

In 1993, we decided to come out with a wine in a box in order to compete in that emerging market. Our research showed that we had a tie between calling it a fanciful name and naming it after me. When Julio heard about the tie, he immediately made the decision to use the Peter Vella name because I was the winemaker.

Peter Vella the Celebrity?

There have been a few times when people have recognized me from my photo on the box, and asked for autographs, but for the most part being on the box hasn't made me into a celebrity, thank goodness. One time, I traveled down to NOWFE (the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience) with Kate MacMurray, Gina Gallo and Mike Martini. Gallo's PR department had organized for us to be on a radio show while we were in New Orleans, and when the host introduced me to the listeners, he said, "Wow, Peter Vella? You're a real person? I always thought you were like the Marlboro Man!" It's situations like this that remind me how important it is to have a sense of humor and remain humble.

Why Box Wine

We chose to go with the box because we wanted to provide the consumer with the ability to buy a lot of wine for an economical price, and we wanted to be able to have it be a single-serve product. You can have one glass of Peter Vella without leaving a partial bottle behind that will begin to deteriorate in taste quality over time. The downside is that it is more expensive for people to buy 5 liters of wine at one time, but the box technology truly allows them to enjoy their last glass as much as their first. They can get a lot more wine for the money they spend, without impacting the taste quality.

My Vision for Peter Vella Wine

When we developed Peter Vella, our goal was to create user-friendly wines. Again, as in early developmental work, the winemaking team was able to integrate all of the flavors to create softer wines that were easy-to-enjoy. And since then, we have always received good feedback about the wine blends. I have really had fun with the brand since we launched it in 1994. I help with responses to correspondence that our consumers send in, and sometimes I even spend time answering their letters personally.

My vision for the wine is that every glass you enjoy should be as good as the last because it has the right amount of flavor and body, and goes well with every occasion. The product is truly quality-driven. We are in this business for the long-haul-it is 14 years now that we have been making Peter Vella wines-so we stick to quality, instead of sacrificing flavor for a few pennies here and there.

Peter Vella wines have appeal for a lot of people, and that's the way we make it. We want Peter Vella Wine to inspire people to say, "Wow, what was that great flavor and taste? I think I will have another glass, the wine was so good." With these wines, we want to make an initial impact, but then have enough of a balance and soft finish to allow people to be able to enjoy a second glass without getting over-satiated on certain flavors, like can happen with some wines.

I like to think of Peter Vella wine as "people wine" because at every step in the vineyard and the winemaking process, there are people involved, doing the best they can to produce good wine. And then there are the "people" who like to enjoy Peter Vella. That is what sets Peter Vella apart, I think.

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