In January I had the pleasure of sitting in on Marc Perrin's presentation of the wines of Beaucastel, Domaines Perrin, and La Vieille Ferme to the Vineyard Brands sales team at their annual sales meeting. (I followed with a presentation of Tablas Creek). The wines were beautiful, and the 2009's from the southern Rhone will be stunning. But what I took away from the experience was a deeper appreciation of how remarkable a family the Perrins are, both passionate about the tradition they inherit and willing to innovate and experiment to improve. This balance between tradition and innovation manifests itself in wonderful ways in the wines they produce, of course, but equally so in their marketing.
Far from the stereotype of technophobic French farmers, the Perrins have been at the forefront of new media, creating the Perrin Family Blog in 2003 and more recently diving wholeheartedly into Twitter (@Beaucastel) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/beaucastel).
At the January sales meeting, Marc played a draft of a seven-minute video montage chronicling a year in the southern Rhone. The video takes you through the annual cycle, from pruning to budbreak to ripening to harvest to fermentation and winemaking. I particularly love the vignettes of the family (and Claude, their cellarmaster) deliberating about blending decisions, but the entire video is wonderful.