The Long Island Wine Council announced the appointment of Ali Tuthill as its first ever marketing director on April 7.
Before being selected for this position, Tuthill worked in several facets of media and marketing for media companies and marketing firms in New York City. In 2007, she served as an overseer for brand positioning and marketing in in PUMA’s lifestyle category. The council believes Tuthill will significantly aid the region’s rebranding effort and help realign their marketing plan with members’ objectives. “We’re very excited,” says Steven Bate, executive director of the wine council. “It will be a new and interesting time for all of us.”
Tuthill hopes to re-assert the public’s perception of Long Island’s wine region by conveying its character, complexity and deep-rooted heritage. “Everyone has an idea of what the East End’s all about, but it’s never been articulated for consumers to latch onto,” Tuthill says.
By visualizing the experience of the region through social media facets, Tuthill plans to establish a storyline unique to Long Island. “The goal is to get people to start paying attention and to fall in love with the region again,” she says.
The new marketing director is married to Royal Tuthill, a descendant of John Tuthill Sr., a member of one of the first 13 families to land in Southold in 1640. A Shelter Island native herself, Tuthill has always had strong ties to the community and a commitment to preserving the heritage of the East End. Serving as the council’s marketing director provides a direct way for her to give back to the community in which she and her family are so heavily entrenched.
The goal is to get people to start paying attention and to fall in love with the region again.
“Agriculture is a way of life out here,” Tuthill says. “We have to make sure that we’re honoring and paying homage to what has been done. A lot of the winemakers are doing it; they’re preserving this way of life. That is a means of sustainability.”
Since assuming her role as marketing director, Tuthill has been visiting three to four vineyards a day to discuss their business models, their thoughts on the region and what can be improved. With their input, Tuthill plans to develop an umbrella strategy to unite the vineyards’ goals and promote the region as a whole. “There are commonalities with every vineyard,” she adds. “Everyone wants the region to succeed; if we can tap into that, we have a unified voice.”
The Long Island Wine Council is nonprofit funded by grants and dues. Tuthill’s position as marketing director was made possible through a series of grants tied specifically to marketing initiatives to promote the wine region. Tuthill signed a year-long contract but intends to create a lasting impression for the region.
With Tuthill around, the future of Long Island’s wine region appears limitless. “This region is really coming to its own, and we’re on the cusp of something really fantastic,” she says. “It’s just going to take some fine tuning, and we’ll start to see the East End change into a destination for wine, and into a truly artisanal experience.”