Long Island's Palmer Vineyards Makes Major League Pitch with Yanks, Mets Radio Broadcasts

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Palmer Vineyards, on Long Island's North Fork, joins the Big Leagues with its largest marketing effort to date, sponsorship of "vintage moments" segments during Mets and Yankees radio broadcasts.

Palmer Vineyards on Long Island's North Fork is trying a new pitch.

The awarding-winning North Fork winery has signed on as the official winery of both the New York Yankees and New York Mets Radio Networks, beginning this week and continuing through the remainder of the current season. Palmer is the first winery ever to sponsor a Yankees or Mets radio broadcast.

The deal extends Palmer's attempt to win over a largely beer-oriented audience, an effort that began earlier this year with a deal to be the only wine sold at New York Islanders hockey games at the Nassau Coliseum.

"I believe that the mind set that only beer goes with sporting events is wrong and we have joined with the Yankees and Mets radio networks to spread the word that wine and sports are natural companions," said Palmer Vineyards owner Robert J. Palmer, a veteran advertising executive and former president of RJ Palmer Inc., a media services agency.

Both networks, operated by CBS Radio, during the course of the game broadcasts, will insert "Vintage Moments" in each team's history sponsored by the Palmer winery. Announcers will describe historical moments, which most-often, will be tied into current play. "We'll make it appropriate," said Noel Wax, general sales manager of CBS Sports Radio Network.

The Yankees draw an estimated 1.8 million to 2.1 million listeners per game through their flagship station WCBS (880 AM), according to Wax. Mets broadcasts reach 1.3 million to 1.5 million listeners through flagship station WFAN (660 AM).

The commercials, written by Palmer and produced by CBS Sports, variously end with contact information for the winery, credit to the New York Wine and Grape Foundation and an invitation to try Palmer's private label wine produced for Gallagher's Steak House in Manhattan, a long-time gather place for sports industry legends.

Mr. Palmer, declined to place a value on the ad buy, but said, "This is the biggest single advertising/promotion that we have done in more than 20 years. "The winery produces an average of 19,000 cases (228,000 bottles) of wine annually.

In addition to the radio spots, CBS is serving Palmer in its luxury suites at both Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium and the network plans to offer bus tours to Palmer's winery in Riverhead that will depart n select dates from each ballpark during harvest time. The Islanders also plan to offer a Palmer Vineyards tour in September.

Established in 1986, Palmer Vineyards, the most-awarded winery on Long Island, has been described by New York Times wine writer Howard Goldberg as "Long Island's most important winery." The Palmer Vineyards tasting room on Route 48 in Aquebogue, modeled on an old British pub, offers a spacious deck overlooking the vineyards. For more information about Palmer Vineyards go to http://www.palmervineyards.com or call (631) 722-9463 ext. 10.

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Alan J. Wax of WaxWords Inc.
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