Collaboration Pays Off

Local wineries are reimagining their business models, and the state of the industry as they move forward into the sales and marketing of wine during turbulent times.

Winery professionals have realized that they need to rapidly recover revenue. They need to fundamentally rethink how to structure their business plans and position themselves for long-term success in the industry.  

It has been impressive to see how fast wineries have adapted to this new business environment. We’ve seen wineries create opportunities for increased visibility through social media and virtual tastings, they have shown great agility in getting product in the hands of customers with free shipping and direct delivery. Building customer connectivity has been paramount for the sales and marketing of wine in 2020.

NW Wine Collaborative, a local winery owned by JJ Compeau; known by many to have a big entrepreneurial spirit, quickly realized the opportunities for those who are willing to change the way they do business. 

“Seeing how the pandemic created challenges for many small wineries, it made perfect sense to reach out to friends to discuss doing something different. The overall goal of my brand, NW Wine Collaborative, is to work together.  This was the perfect time to fulfill that goal,” says Compeau.

He asked long-time friends from Wit Cellars and Hightower Cellars if they would collaborate on a single wine. They agreed immediately. 

Wit Cellars (We’re in It Together) in Prosser also positions themselves as a winery whose mission is to succeed in an environment of collaboration. Gina Royer, co-owner of Wit Cellars eagerly accepted the opportunity to work with Compeau. “It takes a village to survive this mess, so that’s why we’ve been trying to help promote others as much as possible.  Coming together in unity with a wine that ranges from Red Mountain to Red Willow not only shows the beauty of the Yakima Valley, it shows the value of working together to support each other through these challenging times.”

Compeau was one of the first to sell Hightower Cellars wine more than 20 years ago.  The winery located on Red Mountain is known for producing exceptional red wines. Owners Tim and Kelly Hightower regularly embrace collective marketing programs, this partnership fits their brand perfectly.

The 2018 Collaboration is a blend of 41% Syrah, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and a hint of Petit Verdot, all barrel selected from each individual winemaker. 

After three hours in the decanter, this deep, ruby colored Bordeaux blend offers aromas of red plum and rose petals with herbal notes. This is a dry wine that is full in body, with medium plus acidity and fine, medium tannins. The palate is incredibly smooth with flavors of cherry, dried fruit, tobacco, and black pepper on the finish. The structure of this wine is exceptional and gets better in the decanter. A great value at $28.

The wine has been featured as a “sneak peek” at local restaurants for the month of September.  “I wanted to support the restaurants and decided to release it to them first,” says Compeau.  

The official release: Harvest Day Soirèe, is Saturday, October 3rd at Birchfield Manor. The poolside wine release has two time slots: 12pm-1:30pm and 2:30pm – 4pm.  Tickets are available at with proceeds going to support the costs of medical treatment for Evelyn Allen, a young girl battling stage IV cancer.  The wine will be available for purchase at the event or at 

“We all feel good about this partnership. The comradery is amazing in the Washington Wine Industry. We are in it together,” says Royer. 

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