14 Hands Winery is counting 15 years of successful wine-making business. With a wide range of product line and a great story, the winery is setting a remarkable example to the industry’s startups. Today, I have the pleasure of talking with Amanda Wygal, Director of Brand Marketing for 14 Hands Winery.
14 Hands was initially introduced in 2005 as an on-premise brand to provide fine dining establishments with the perfect ‘by-the-glass’ wine with fruit sourced primarily from the Horse Heaven Hills in Eastern Washington. The success of the brand created a broader national demand for the wines and in 2010, 14 Hands entered the off-premise market.
The brand has grown and adapted according to consumer demand. From launching with three restaurant-only wines in 2005, to entering the off-premise market 5 years later and opening its own winery and tasting room in Prosser, WA 5 years after that, the brand has consistently responded to demand. By 2017 14 Hands reached 2 million cases in the national market and in 2018 began to tour the country with a horse trailer converted into a wine bar as part of the “14 Hands Run Free Road Trip.” The trailer poured “frosé” and other popular varietals at music festivals and food and wine events, bringing the spirit of 14 Hands to consumers across the United States.
The most recent evolution of 14 Hands was the addition of canned wines to the lineup in 2019, expanding the brand’s presence in the convenience store channel. 14 Hands in cans gives 14 Hands fans the same product they know and love, but for on-the-go and when, where and how they want it.
The Unicorn Rosé Bubbles Can was based in several consumer insights. First, the preferred varietal of wine in a can is sparkling rosé and second, we’ve seen the unicorn trend resonate with millennial consumers for some time now. We married the two together with an effervescent rosé bubbly in a can designed to fit seamlessly into the consumer’s lifestyle. The wine offers notes cranberry, pomegranate, and Bing cherry, giving way to a juicy crispness and refreshing finish. It can be enjoyed chilled straight from the can, poured into a glass, or made into a refreshing bubbly cocktail!
14 Hands wines are inspired by the spirit of the wild horses that once freely roamed eastern Washington, the location of the 14 Hands vineyards and winery. Measuring just fourteen hands tall — a “hand” equivalent to the width of one’s palm — these tenacious little horses would travel down from the hills every day to drink from the mighty Columbia River and graze along the riverbank, then return to the hills to cool off at night. Washington’s wild horses are symbols of the free spirit of the American West.
These really are unprecedented times, and of course, the winery‘s priority is the safety and well-being of our employees and customers. We are incredibly sensitive to the stress and uncertainty people around the world are feeling, but also recognize that our consumers may be interested in some lighter content and ways to engage with others from the safety of their homes.
With our tasting room closed, we‘ve amped up our virtual presence, hosting a number of live conversations on Instagram; including a tie-dye tutorial and a game of this-or-that where our Instagram followers chose their favorite junk foods to pair with 14 Hands wines.
We will continue to look for opportunities to connect with our customers and ensure that they have access to all of their favorite 14 Hands wines in-stores, online and through delivery services like Drizly.
I think regardless of industry, it is important to be curious, seek to understand what is important to your consumers and use that information to continuously evolve your product portfolio and the way you reach and engage with consumers. All industries are facing rapid change and the beverage industry is no exception.
My advice to anyone interested in joining the beverage industry is to put the customer first. In my experience, the products and brands that are the most successful are those with a continuous focus on both understanding their customers and creating products and experiences that exceed expectations.
For more information visit 14 Hands Winery’s website.