The Washington Wine Commission is launching an advertising campaign in Florida.

The US$385,000 push, focusing on the city of Tampa, is the commission's first national advertising campaign.

The test market campaign, which runs until April, will feature print, radio and outdoor advertisements, coupled with in-store promotions and wine tastings at leading Tampa-area retailers to generate consumer awareness and increase demand for Washington wines, the commission said on Friday (3 February).

"Just like Washington state, we think Tampa is the perfect climate for wine," said Robin Pollard, executive director for the commission. "The WWC selected Tampa as our test market because the area has higher than average wine consumption and features similar demographic characteristics to many other mid-sized cities across the country.

"However, Florida wine consumers have relatively low awareness of Washington wine. By launching our first national ad campaign in a 'clean' test market, we can see the degree by which our efforts can move the needle."

Jeff Gordon, owner of Gordon Brothers Family Vineyards in Washington and chairman of the commission, said increased competition made it vital to differentiate wine regions in the minds of consumers.  

"Last year, the Washington state wine industry launched a new branding campaign to address our two main image challenges: confusion between our state and Washington D.C. and the common misperception that Washington's climate is too wet to grow quality wine grapes."

He added: "We're excited to take our campaign national this year and educate Tampa Bay wine lovers about Washington's ideal climate, unique viticultural landscape and award-winning wines."

Washington state is the second largest producer of wine in the US, with more than 400 wineries, 350 wine grape growers and 30,000 vineyard acres.