Consumers Can Give Some Very Unique Wine this Valentine's Day: Cellar360 Offering Bottles Signed by the Winemakers and Dipped in Chocolate

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Cellar360, a wine retailer, in order to provide competitive and unique products for Valentine's Day, is offering wine bottles signed by the winemakers, and dipped in chocolate.

With the economic climate tight this year, consumers are witnessing retailers going the extra mile to get their business this Valentine's Day. One wine retailer, Cellar360, approached nine international winemakers and one sports legend to sign their wine bottles for gifts and is even dipping wine in chocolate.

Called the "Signature Series", Cellar360 is offering a collection of wines signed by the individual winemaker. These are then wrapped in tissue paper and gift boxed along with the tasting notes. Winemakers include the 2005 and 2008 Wine Enthusiast Magazine's "Winemakers of the Year" Peter Gago of Penfolds and Margo Van Staaveren of Chateau St. Jean. Other powerhouse celebrity Winemakers include Ed Sbragia of Beringer Fame, Kevin Morrisey of Stags' Leap Winery and Jon Priest from Etude, among others.

Perhaps the most interesting signature, however, is of golf great Greg Norman, who owns wineries in Australia as well as the States. Cellar360 was able to get Norman to sign a case of his 2001 Reserve Shiraz from Australia.

"We realize that people are thinking harder about where to spend their money," explains Sales Manager Susan DeMatei. "As retailers, we need to go the extra mail to provide something truly unique to gain their business."

And unique they are, with some signatures only available on a case or less of wine. DeMatei doesn't expect this will be a reoccurring promotion. "The Winemakers were hard to pin down," laughs DeMatei. "And, in another month we'll be in bud-break for the 2009 harvest and they'll disappear for 8 months!"

Another example of creative packaging is dipping a bottle in eight ounces of chocolate. "I was reaching out to my local Napa chocolatier for our typical 'wine and chocolate truffles' gifts, when we thought, 'how cool would it be to dip the entire bottle in chocolate?'" After some experimentation, they came up with a perfect pairing -- a dark artesian chocolate over a Souverain Dessert Syrah. This port-like wine from Sonoma is cleaned and wrapped in cellophane, then dipped in chocolate and gift wrapped. Instructions come with the wine on how to pull off the inner cellophane so the wine comes off in decadent chunks around the bottle.

"I gave one to my mother's bridge club as a test run," says DeMatei. "It was a huge success -- they want five more!"

The "Signature Series" is only available online at The Chocolate dipped Dessert Syrah is available online or at the San Francisco Store.

Cellar360 is a retail store situated in San Francisco's historic Ghirardelli Square. The store boasts a state-of-the-art wine and culinary education center, tasting bar, wine shop and private event space. With more than 350 wines from the best viticultural regions of five continents, Cellar360 provides guests with an international wine country experience without leaving the heart of San Francisco.

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Susan DeMatei
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