Case Study - Que Syrah

One introduction leads to a profitable media relationship

Opened in August 2002 by a group of friends and wine lovers, Que Syrah Fine Wine shop focused on small production winemakers, good producers who may be ignored by larger retailers, filling a need on the north side of Chicago. Sommelier Shebnem Ince came on board within a month of opening and set the shop apart from larger competitors.

Ince was referred to Cascade to help generate awareness, hence increasing sales. 

We made one important introduction - Ince to Chicago Tribune wine writer, Bill Daley, who liked her different and fresh take on wine. 


Like most small retails stores, Que Syrah didn't have a large marketing budget. Cascade Communications was asked to assist in getting high profile media exposure for a minimum budget.


Que Syrah's general manager, Shebnem Ince, was a well-versed, well-spoken certified sommelier who hand-picked wines for the store, and personally planned unique tastings to attract new customers. She made an excellent expert spokesperson.


Create a traditional public relations program to create awareness of Que Syrah, and put it on the Chicago map of top wine stores, utilizing Ince as an expert.

  • Developed comprehensive press materials kit for the store

  • Wrote detailed media alerts for each, unique tasting

  • Introduce Ince to key journalists who would refer to her on a regular basis

  • Worked with Ince to determine best, most cost-effective marketing alternatives to support PR  campaign.

  • Make strategic introductions and set up the sommelier as an expert


A small, neighborhood specialty wine shop with an equally small budget. Cascade chose to be as targeted as possible with media generating the biggest bang for their buck.

In just 18 months of working with Cascade, sales quadrupled and so did staff. Customers, and Tribune subscribers, began calling from around the country, opening up their mail order business, which they never had before.

Other media: Crain's Chicago Business, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Red Eye, Chicago Red Streak

  • Inclusion in 36 local media stories in 18 months.

  • 24 of which were Chicago Tribune

  • Met sales goal for the year by end of Q2.

  • Double holiday staff to manage sales in store and by mail to Tribune subscribers across the country.


Chicago, IL 

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© 2021 Cascade Communications Public relations agency and marketing communications for small business and startups. Offices in Chicago.