It’s in the Mail… The History of Winery Mailing Lists

Getting on a top winery’s mailing list can be harder than scoring tickets to the Super Bowl.  Indeed, there are now waiting lists to get onto mailing lists.  How did such coveted access begin? The quick story starts in the 1940s, when Fred and Eleanor McCrea purchased a Napa Valley homestead called Stony Hill. In 1954 they released their first wine—a 1952 chardonnay which cost $21.69– a case (tax and delivery included). Although the state of California did not yet keep viticultural records, fewer than 200 acres of chardonnay probably existed at the time.  Fred, who was a Mad-Men-style advertising executive, marketed his chardonnay via handwritten letters to friends. That Stony Hill private list of customers—kept on index cards—was the first winery “mailing list” in the Napa Valley.

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