Artist Ann Rea
Sipping, Savoring, and Sharing with Women for Wine Sense
WWS 2010 Grand Event This Saturday we celebrated the 20-year anniversary of Women for Wine Sense at the Grand Event held at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, California.  The sun was shining down on my paintings and I had the opportunity to  celebrate with a great group of women from across the United States, several from Texas and Rochester, New York. We lunched in the barrel room where huge wine casks lined the walls.  Each cask has a bronze plaque mounted on the front to honor a different person who made wine history.  I passed by Dr. Harold Olmo’s plaque.  This took me back to when I first started painting vineyards and to my connection with this rich history. Those first vineyards I painted belonged to Dr. Harold Olmo, who was a grape breeder and viticulturist, who played a key role in the development of the California wine industry starting in the 1930s. I know his daughter, Jeanne-Marie Olmo.  I was looking for a safe place to paint and Jeanne invited me to paint on her family’s farm.  It’s a diverse landscape that includes a creek, alfalfa fields, and an organic vineyard. Jeanne invited me to come and go as I please. Jeanne is a fantastic cook and a warm fun-loving person who welcomed me.  She and so many women have supported my artistic aspirations, like Amy who this weekend helped my schlep my paintings and prints because of my wounded back.  And who edits my copy so she can and does enthusiastically tell the story of the artist and the story of the paintings. This Saturday I felt fortunate to meet even more fantastic women. Women and Wine Sense is a wonderful organization of women who work in the wine industry or who are wine aficionados.  I wanted to give back.  So I made Women and Wine Sense beneficiaries of my company’s “Giving Forward” program as a way to share some of my growing success, successes that have been helped along by many women, by many people, in my life.
The Truth is the Best Marketing Strategy
meadowood "The painting arrived yesterday in great shape and we really love it. The colors are amazing and you really capture the essence of the vineyard at 'twilight'.  I admire your talent and will enjoy "Twilight Vines" every day. The painting is really a focal point in our living space. Thanks so much for a very satisfying "collecting" experience." - Bob Werner (online collector) If you’ve visited my site you can see that I collect spontaneous endorsements from my collectors.  When I was trying to craft copy for, I struggled.  It sounded forced and inauthentic.  I thought about the fact that we’re all a little weary of reading advertising speak.  Then it dawned on me: the truth is the best marketing strategy. So I began to publish my collector’s spontaneous endorsements. And I remembered that I had already created a famous marketing strategy based on the truth. This was before I understood the foundational principle of online social marketing.  Of course, the idea is not new. Within six months of graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Art I was working at a design firm who was responsible for creating the retail environments for the then new GM Saturn car. I was flown to St. Helena, California to participate in a brain storming session at the beautiful Meadowood Resort, to construct the marketing strategies for the GM Saturn car.  I was chosen among my male counterparts because they were targeting young professional women, and they where competing with Honda.  My male counterparts referred to me as a token.  It gets better. Even thought GM was targeting young professional women, I’m sorry to say that I was the only woman in attendance, and I was largely ignored.  I withdrew and the facilitator eventually noticed this and asked why.  I stated boldly, “Because you probably won’t listen to me” mirroring my experience at car dealerships.  That hushed the room. Now the rules of a blue-sky session are that you cannot criticize an idea, only add to it.  He said, “Well you have to contribute, we flew you out here.”  Fair enough, maybe these men were ready to listen?  “Why don’t you sell the car for the same fair price to everyone and stop this horrendous haggling process.”  The room erupted.  One of the top ten GM dealers from Texas sitting across from me actually stood up, he was about 6’5” and big, with a pie plate sized belt buckle.  He proceeded to pound his fist and shout, “That will never work!”  Well, clearly it did.  And who knows where GM would be today if they had continued to listen better to their market. The experience helped me realize that one day; I’d figure out how to best market my own art.