SIP + SIP Feature
The Social Side of Hertelendy Vineyards
WRITTEN BY Fran Miller


Published On: June 27, 2023
photos courtesy of hertelendy vineyards

While wineries worldwide recognize the value of social media (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) in their marketing campaigns, some ‘get it’ a little more than others. The occasional photo post of a dusky, sunset-illuminated vineyard might make for a pleasing IG feed, but Ralph Hertelendy of Hertelendy Vineyards has learned that to truly capture viewer (or customer) attention, it helps to kick things up a notch.

The former Hollywood actor—you might recognize him in the first ever episode of Glee—knows a thing or two about entertainment, and he infuses his Hertelendy brand with both his personality and the performative, from his ornate family coat of arms logo to wine labels that change color, glow in the dark, and seemingly come alive via augmented reality (AR) animation. He’s currently working on a label that will physically move within consumers’ hands. And for the past few years, he has doubled down on his social media accounts, creating imaginative “Marvel-themed” videos and a particularly whimsical St. Patrick’s Day greeting featuring his baby boy bouncing joyously over a rainbow.

“I’m really trying to push the envelope of what’s cool and captivating,” said Hertelendy, who traded Tinsel Town for Howell Mountain in 2013 to follow his wine passion. He is very nearly a one-person operation, wearing every hat: winemaker, salesperson, and marketing exec. “I like to provide a total sensory experience.”

Those ‘experiences’ include strategized quick clips and reels, such as the IG post in which he pulls back the curtain on green screen technology as he flies through the air as Superman, a glass of Hertelendy wine in hand. He features videos of celebrities and stars at the Emmy and Oscar parties to which he was invited to feature his New World varietals that borrow heavily from his Hungarian family’s Old World traditions. And his expert use of graphics is well-illustrated in a recent IG post celebrating his first 100-point score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, whose editor Joe Czerwinski described the 2021 Hertelendy Legend as “big and bold, welling with intensity.”

And lest the impression is that Hertelendy merely caters to social media-loving millennials and Gen-Zers, he contends that it’s the baby boomers who greatly appreciate his creative content. References to Grease and Back to the Future, for instance, have generated the ‘interactions’ and additional followers so greatly valued on Instagram, helping to create a marketing buzz that he hopes eventually will result in increased wine sales.

The greater wine world is already taking notice. He’s added nine new nationwide distributors over the last few months, and his wines are served at restaurants such as The French Laundry, Tarla, and Morimoto. “There’s definitely a buzz,” said Hertelendy. “People seem to love the creativity, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. I like to blaze the trail of what’s possible, both with my marketing and my wines.”

For more information
@hertelendy_vineyards // @HertelendyVineyards
#hertsogood  #flirtwiththehert