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A Conversation with Juliana Colangelo

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A Conversation with Juliana Colangelo Photo: Wine Institute

By Fiona Fang

How does one succeed in the luxury, food and wine marketing industry?

In mid-July, I had the opportunity to meet Juliana Colangelo, a New York native who is now heading up the West Coast operations for Colangelo and Partners, a niche wine, food and luxury marketing and public relations firm.

Juliana Colangelo photo PicmonkeyJuliana Colangelo

Juliana Colangelo’s passion for good food, shaped by her familial roots, has led her to cosmopolitan professional experiences in New York – from stints in events management for a bartending agency to customer-facing roles at Eataly, a New York purveyor of Italian comestibles. Initially starting with Colangelo and Partners part time to help on food and wine events, her successes led to a milestone move to help start the firm’s West Coast office in March 2016, now growing with well-known clients in the wine country.

Juliana was initially introduced to me because our commonality: the Wine MBA program at Sonoma State University, from which she graduated and I am currently pursuing. This program, situated in the heart of California wine country, is the nation’s first wine business-focused MBA program. During her studies, she gained more industry exposure and built relationships through opportunities such as speaking engagements and networking.

What is the value of PR and marketing? It is not just for companies, but influences consumer lifestyle on a daily basis: she works with clients such as wineries through strategic marketing to reach consumers like you at your local wine shop, restaurant, and online, for instance. How you see a winery’s website, how they present to you and what makes you interested in not just their product, but stories, are all involved in marketing. 

Juliana has worked with a portfolio of luxury brands, ranging from boutique local companies to larger accounts such as Charles Krug and EJ Gallo, and even regional wine associations such as Wines of South Africa. She sees three main trends in the wine and luxury goods businesses: First and foremost, digital and online presence is clearly critical now and going forward. Moreover, she sees a convergence of retail channel and content – traditionally, you go to wine shops to buy wine, and learn about wines from books. These two areas are no longer separate. Wine companies are, for instance, offering informative articles and videos to engage with consumers, recommend and ultimately sell their products. Finally, she believes it is crucial for companies to increase the richness of their content with branding, especially leveraging social media and advertising to reach different types of customers. Marketing and PR professionals, she believes, must equip themselves with skills in digital marketing, social media, monetization and strategic advertising such as knowledge of running effective ad campaigns.

In today’s dynamic world, consumers are constantly changing. The PR representative wonders which brands speak effectively to them. Which wine brands, or food and luxury brands, have you found outstanding? Which have provided a valuable experience for you that keeps you wanting more? Companies which are not only unilaterally promoting their products, but building close relationships with customers, are leading the way.

Fiona Fang 100x150 MUG


Editor’s note:  Fiona Fang is a Wine MBA Candidate at Sonoma State University and worked as a business analyst for a boutique management consulting firm and several startups in Hong Kong before moving to California.

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