Wednesday, March 07, 2007

When I say Napa Valley, What do you think of?

I was thrilled to be back in Napa, CA (population 73,085), which is located about an hour north of San Francisco. My wife and I had visited it several years ago and were enchanted by Napa and the surrounding area. I was there for another of my Capitol Bancorp talks. I’ll have more on this most innovative of community banks later this week.

Chuck Dickenson, a local attorney and director of Napa Community Bank, one of the Capitol Banks, was born and raised in Napa. He told me, “In the 1970s this community and entire valley made a huge leap when we went from prunes to vines. Robert Mondovi was the visionary who started the modern wine industry. What really started it going was when he went to Paris in 1976 and won the French Paris Tasting. My mother was on that trip and carried some of his wine over for him.”

“He owned the Charles Krug Winery with his brother but split with him and set up the Robert Mondovi Winery,” Dickenson went on. “He was in his 50s when he started this revolution. Today 40,000 out of 67,000 jobs in the county are related to that wine industry that he revolutionized.”

Anywhere that you go in the developed world, if you say Napa Valley, virtually everyone will associate it with premier wine production even though it wasn’t the first to produce wine nor is it the largest. But, they’ve done a tremendous job of developing a brand and promoting it around the world.

What is your brand? What are you doing to develop it?

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