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When it was time to tell our story, our family vetted several Public Relations firms to search for one with political savvy and courage to stand up for the truth. Kimberly Charles and her team understood the politics that now surround food, and helped us navigate through hundreds of press requests to accurately convey the reality. The process was demanding, but the combination of Charles Communications’ attitude, passion and professionalism allowed us to accomplish our goal with smiles on our faces.
- The Gonzales Family
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For SakéOne, Charles Communications has proven to be a savvy, dynamic navigator for both traditional and social media channels. They are particularly adept at converging our brand messaging with new PR opportunities in the beverage alcohol media world.
- Steve Vuylsteke
Sherryfest Grand Tasting
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A dynamic, intuitive and knowledgeable team, Charles Communications has an incredible understanding of the wine world and its evolution. Experts in consumer marketing and communication, they understand how to improve our positioning in the overall wine world. We are proud to work together on both sides of the Atlantic.
- Jean Charles Boisset
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I have worked with Charles Communications for over a decade. The thing that I have always appreciated about Kimberly and her group is their ability to understand and embrace brands ranging from high end single vineyard projects to brands built to scale. They understand the different objectives these brands are created for, and build marketing and communication plans around these objectives. They listen, they comment and then they execute. They have become part of the Hooligan team.
- Dennis Carroll
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Having worked successfully with Charles Communications in years past we knew they were the right team to help us launch our new, Napa Cabernet project, Addendum. Kimberly and her team have solid relationships with all the top wine writers, bloggers and influencers and those relationships are increasingly important in this competitive and challenging business.
- Tim Snider & Ashley Parker Snider
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We love working with CCA! Kimberly Charles has put together an experienced team that’s focused, connected and has its finger squarely on the pulse of the wine industry. They’ve been integral in helping our brand development, media relations and social media strategy. I strongly recommend CCA!
- Mark McWilliams
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Crocker and Starr has just finished our first year with Charles Communications and we are really pleased with how well it has gone.. Kimberly Charles and her team have helped us to define and implement public relations strategies which have been important in improving our business. Included have been expanded contacts in the wine world, ideas and improvements in our internet approaches including our website, and advice and help in publicizing both our wines and our wine events.
- Charlie Crocker & Pam Starr
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Charles Communications is well respected in the wine industry as one of the leading public relations and communication consultants. Wente Family Estates became a client of CCA, and immediately saw the results and outreach they were able to achieve in multiple forms of media (print, broadcast and social). Kimberly and her team are creative, strategic and energetic in delivering our company’s public relations goals and needs. It has been a successful relationship and a pleasurable experience to work with them.
- Carolyn Wente
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We searched high and low for a marketing firm with deep experience in the food and beverage industry to handle public relations and media for our global series of wine events, Matter of Taste. Over the past year, the CCA team has done an outstanding job for us, providing valuable insights and media traction in each of our targeted markets, as well as introductions and connections beyond the scope of our work agreement. We are delighted with CCA and look forward to ongoing collaboration.
- Tobin Finegold
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CCA’s well thought out strategic communications initiatives have provided us with successful campaigns that have generated incredible coverage and engagement with top-flight media, trade, industry and consumers. The strong relationships that the team has with key influencers have been critical in providing us with the opportunities to communicate our story. It is a pleasure to work with CCA and we appreciate the innovative and dedicated ethic that they bring to our relationship.
- Camron King

Charles Communications Associates

CCA is an independent creative marketing firm that employs traditional public relations and new media strategies to assist companies, organizations and non-profits in the creation, development and marketing of interesting and compelling brands. Recognized as one of the most effective PR firms in the wine industry, we have an exceptional track record of promoting products in the gourmet, natural and organic food and beverage categories, from wine and tea to top shelf spirits and luxury goods. We consider ourselves fortunate to work with clients who share our philosophy of social responsibility in work and everyday life.

In The News

Emeritus Vineyards Wins USA TODAY’s Best Winery Tour 2017
Emeritus Vineyards Wins USA TODAY’s Best Winery Tour 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Emeritus Vineyards mari@emeritusvineyards.com | 707.823.9463 ...
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The Juice

Lost Wine Grape 'Tardif' may protect against Climate Change
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Writer Chris Mercer examines the French wine grape that could protect against anticipated heat waves
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All the Swirl

If You Can't Stand The Heat, Get Out of the Cellar
If You Can't Stand The Heat, Get Out of the Cellar
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The Napa Valley has recently taken a lot of heat – both literally, due to the serious temperature spike that hit the valley earlier this month, as well as figuratively from those who think the aberrant fluctuation spelled doom for the entire region’s harvest.  The media has been eager to report this story, which we can all understand – what’s sexier than a potential climate change story about America’s most recognized wine region? Fortunately for the consumer, cooler heads prevail for those of us on the ground, and I wanted to share the perspective from someone who has been around the vineyard block.

The most important thing to understand is that this weather is unusual but not unprecedented.  Every region has tough vintages for various reasons (much of Burgundy and Bordeaux will see almost 40% of their 2017 crop lost due to early season hail). Due to Napa’s abundant sunshine, perfect diurnal range, and infrequent hail, we are so used to comparatively near-perfect weather conditions that the wine often can make itself.  It’s in years like this where we winemakers need to prove our mettle, and be extremely strategic in our vineyard and cellar decisions to ensure the consumer detects no fluctuation in quality.

We would call this a year for the winery versus the vineyard, or “a winemaker's harvest” – it’s up to us to shepherd the grapes with care and skills that can really only be learned after a lot of years under the belt, namely, experience. I recall serious heat waves in 1997 and in 2004 (not to mention alternative calamities like the cold rains of 1998 and 2011) and the lessons I learned from them which are being duly applied as I type. Let’s not forget that in many circles, that 1997 is now remembered as one of Napa’s greatest vintages of all time.

Crocker & Starr Winemaker Pam Starr photo Joe Hendricks

Crocker & Starr Winemaker Pam Starr photo Joe Hendricks

So let’s talk technique. The greatest advantage of smaller production winemaking is the level of attention that can be applied to each grape from vineyard to sorting table.  In hotter years, the grapes desperately need to be hand sorted, to remove any clusters that have deyhdrated.  At Crocker & Starr,  for our 20th anniversary in 2016, we invested in a state of the art sorting system which has a gentle destemmer and vibrating sorting table created by Burgsthaler Machine Works.  With this invaluable addition, our team is hyper-sorting this year, resulting in a  30% reduction in production, but a finished wine of equal if not superior quality to our best vintages.  

We also use a trellis “lyre” system for our 40-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon vines and a modified “Y” system for the newer blocks. These architectures position the shoots so that the berries and soil are protected from the steady afternoon sun and can take the best advantage of the cooling breezes.

Ensuring the grapes don’t get parched is also key. Another advantage we have over our old-world counterparts is the ability to irrigate when necessary. This is why we rarely have the outcomes that Europe had with their cripplingly hot 2003 harvest – we can take advantage of work-around measures that are not allowed by law in Europe (often to their detriment, if you ever have a chance to taste some of those wines). A drip-method watering system is used when needed during hot summer days, as well as for establishing new vines. In rare cases, old vines are also given a drink at the end of a dry season to ensure they make it to the next one.

Assistant Winemaker Evyn Cameron poses next to healthy 2017 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Sauvignon photo courtesy Crocker & Starr winery

Assistant Winemaker Evyn Cameron poses next to healthy 2017 Crocker & Starr Cabernet Sauvignon photo courtesy Crocker & Starr winery

Finally, our skilled winemaking team takes advantage of all the innovative viticulture practices at our disposal. Harvest should always occur at night so that the grapes arrive cool for destemming. Extraordinary attention is also paid to the health of the vineyard: our team has established a border of wildflowers to harbor good bugs (that will protect the crop), we’ve planted organic crimson clover for honeybees, and created a buffer zone between the Napa River (where the predatory bugs live) and the vineyard.

Crocker & Starr's wines have enjoyed great critical acclaim over its 21-year history.  I personally have made wines in warmer vintages both at here and in my previous winemaker positions - this is the joy and the challenge of producing a fine wine that comes from only one crop in a given year.  Some say that wines made in warmer years, are best enjoyed within their first 10 years in the bottle while cooler vintages are meant to age in one's cellar.  That may be the case (like with 2003 Bordeaux), but the 1997s are still singing beautifully, 20 years on.

This is why we love wine. It’s the only beverage that is truly celebrated for its variations year after year. I look forward to tasting our 2017 wines in 2018, 2019, 2022, 2027 and 2037. I hope you’ll join me.

Pam Star, Owner & Winemaker Crocker & Starr Winery, St.Helena, CA 


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RT @winehooligans: Head Hooligan Dennis Carroll speaks Monday at the #WineIndustryFinancialSymposium. Tune into his insightful https://t.co…
21h
#WineWednesday a day later but no less enthusiastic delicious #Cabernet from the Rodfather himself @JosephSwanWines https://t.co/hr4vLyfJCi