Hahn Family Wines: A Case Study


Hahn Family Wines

Moving A Wine Brand Upmarket


Hahn Family Wines

Media Coverage

Forbes, The Zoe Report, San Francisco Chronicle, Uproxx, Wine Spectator, VinePair


Brand Positioning, PR, Digital Marketing



The Hahn family played a leading role in Santa Lucia Highlands viticulture for over 40 years. When Nicolaus (Nicky) Hahn, first purchased land in the 1970s, he was keen to see its potential as a renowned wine region and led efforts to officially establish SLH as an official AVA. They grew to become owners of one of the largest shares of planted vines in the area. The goal was always to produce distinctive wines worthy of competition on a global scale. By 2014, the Hahn family knew it needed to take the next step to raise their own reputation to achieve their goals, tapping Benson Marketing Group to lead them in this process.

Our Services

Brand Positioning
Press and Public Relations
Digital Marketing

The Challenge

Transition Hahn Family Wines’ reputation from a $12-15, mid-sized producer to a luxury Pinot Noir and Chardonnay specialist at $30+ per bottle.

Redefining and solidifying Hahn Family Wines’ Brand Position

We started work with the Hahn team on a Brand Messaging Plan, which was revised as time and the status of the company progressed. This Plan served as a key support system for the company’s new directions and its evolution as a leader in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA.

Hahn Family Wines’ certainly had a great history in the area and pedigree to work with, and they had excellent viticultural and winemaking teams in place to produce truly high caliber, ultra-premium wines. They just needed people to recognize this and see them for the refined Pinot Noir and Chardonnay specialists they could be, and not just a reliable producer of wines with great quality for value ratios.

Nicky Hahn was no stranger to building and running a successful business and wine brand, it was taking all of the rich material of their story and transforming it into the brand position they needed to inhabit to reach their potential that needed a boost.

So how do you take a solidly performing value wine brand and move it into another echelon?

The Solution

Creating a Strategy that Drives Results

Drawing on the rich history of the Hahn family, and the incredible potential of the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA to break through as a reference point for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Benson developed a strategy that would get Hahn Family Wines and its messaging out in front of key press and other gatekeepers. By leveraging all channels to tell this well developed story, we were able to amplify the perception of Hahn as a reference point in the desired category.

  • Messaging Focus: Align brand with the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, an exciting area for discovery of exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Extend messaging through all channels; sales, DTC, digital marketing, as well as PR.
  • Education: Create a “masterclass” seminar on the entire SLH AVA for use by Hahn’s winemaker and CEO at any speaking opportunity.
  • Press Trips: Coordinated media trips to include Hahn’s neighbors in the Santa Lucia Highlands, thus encouraging broader reaching feature coverage and cementing Hahn as a reference point in the area. These trips included an exclusive, week-long “California Road Trip” to the state’s leading Pinot Noir AVAs.
  • Media Blitz: Periodic trips to target cities by winemaker and CEO to meet with press, and interviews in both trade and consumer lifestyle media.


  • 100+

    Media Placements

  • < $10


A Benchmark Producer in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA

Through carefully crafted brand positioning, and full court press media work, Hahn realized a full transition from $12-$15 wine producer to benchmark status in a California wine producing area known for premium production. Their SLH brand, rose in price to $30 a bottle and became what they were known for. Press results which saw them on the front cover of Wine Spectator, and coverage in Forbes, San Francisco Chronicle, Vinous, Vine Pair, Mashed and more paved the way. Nicky Hahn was also recognized as Wine Enthusiast’s inaugural “American Wine Pioneer” Wine star award, for his role in establishing the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation.