Doggie Lovers Wine Club Showcases Dogs and Wine

Isn't this fun?!?!?! Thanks to Andre M. for barking in this article from the OC Register on a new movement in wine. Wine label makes...

Joy  |  Aug 3rd 2007


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Isn’t this fun?!?!?!

Thanks to Andre M. for barking in this article from the OC Register on a new movement in wine.

Wine label makes stray dog a celebrity
By TOM BERG
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

LAKE FOREST – The guests arrived at 2 p.m. and were greeted with white-Stilton-with-apricot cheese, relish trays of stuffed olives and grilled portobello mushrooms.

Liz Hueg was pinching herself with excitement because the nation’s latest wine celebrity was in her house. Sitting in the corner!

Oh.

My.

God.

I was jumping up and down, Hueg says of the rush she felt on learning she could host this party. I was crying. We had a little (pre-party) party at my office.

Hueg’s no wine snob, but suddenly she found her nose tilting in the direction of a national trend sipping celebrity wine.

Director Francis Ford Coppola has long sold his own Napa Valley varietals. But now you can buy Mario Andretti’s chardonnay; Joe Montana’s cabernet; and Dan Aykroyd’s merlot. Sting and Madonna own vineyards. KISS and Pink Floyd adorn labels. And TV stars from such diverse series as “The Sopranos” and “Daniel Boone” regularly pitch their own labels.

Hueg’s guest of honor wasn’t in that league. Not yet. But there was her face, on the $24 bottle of cabernet sauvignon being poured for a toast.

As glasses clinked, the guest of honor sat back, good-natured but quiet. She sampled the barbecued steak, a spot of wine (to be polite), then simply watched. Only later, as the crowd dispersed, did she get vocal. Only then did she get up and trot around and bark.

Like a good German shepherd.

SHOWERING WITH STRAYS

Celebrity wines have crossed a new threshold. They’re no longer just about rock stars, movie stars and pro athletes. They’ve gone, quite literally, to the dogs.

We wanted to create a personal wine experience, says Matt Hahn, 47, co-founder of the Buellton-based Dog Lovers Wine Club, which features a different member’s dog on the label each month. It’s not just about the wine it’s about the labels and the stories.

One month, it’s Petunia, the 65-pound German shepherd who had shriveled to just 33 pounds on the street before Hueg rescued her. Another month, it’s Ripley, a golden retriever who had to be wheeled around by her owners when she got old. Then it’s Brooklyn, a rescued papillon mutt with a marble in place of one eye.

Members submit photos and stories of their dogs at www.dogloverswineclub.com. Each month, Hahn creates a new label while co-founder Fleet Hamilton creates a premium wine from guest winemakers, like Santa Rosa’s Deloach Vineyards (named Winery of the Year nine times by Wine & Spirits Magazine).

Ten percent of the proceeds go to the Humane Society or nonprofit dog rescue group of your choice, provided it’s registered with the club.

The everydog concept escalates a recent trend in the $9 billion-a-year U.S. wine industry toward folksier labels for those who don’t take their wine too seriously.

Kangaroos, penguins and crocodiles started hopping, waddling and crawling onto wine labels about four years ago, says Danny Brager, vice president of AC Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol team in Mission Viejo creating a $600 million market known collectively as critter labels.

It’s about making wine labels less pretentious, less snooty, says Brager. You should be able to pronounce the label and have some idea what it means without being a linguist.

The doggie wine club takes it a step further, personalizing those critters. They’re real. They’ve often been rescued. And they come with a good story. Like the time Liz Hueg’s husband walked in on her and a stray dog in the shower naked.

Follow this link to read the rest of the article.