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Drink to comedy: J. Lohr partners with Juice Media to bring millennials into the fold 

Typically, when one thinks of a wine connoisseur, it is a middle-aged or older person that comes to mind. Millennials are rarely thought of as wine drinkers, but J. Lohr Winery in Paso Robles is hoping to change that through a series of comedy videos titled #YouKnowJLohr.

J. Lohr partnered with Juice Media to create the series, which consists of six consumer videos and two internal J. Lohr sales videos. They found their actors by approaching Los Angeles-based comedy troupes the Groundlings, Improv Olympics, and Upright Citizen’s brigade. All eight videos were shot in the span of five days.

“I came up with the idea of all the characters in situations involving wine,” said Dina Mande, director and founder of Juice. “Either choosing wine in the grocery store or restaurant, bringing a wine to someone’s house, hosting a girls’ night, cooking at home, or sales reps selling wine to accounts.”

This is not the first time Mande has worked with J. Lohr. Their relationship began in 2010 when she helped produce their video made in response to winning Wine Enthusiast Winery of the Year. Four years later, Juice created a video series in order to promote J. Lohr’s Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir. In #YouKnowJLohr, the focus is on their Riverstone Chardonnay and Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon.

“They got a great response using comedy before and wanted to create another comedy series,” Mande said.

The series not only promotes those two specific wines, but also delves into a little bit of J. Lohr Winery’s history. In one video, titled “Wine Wingman,” the main character explains to the camera that one of the reasons he knows he chose the right wine to impress his date is that Jerry Lohr, founder of J. Lohr Winery, was a pioneer in the wine business, “like Batman-level status.” He then goes on to explain how, 30 years ago, while many winemakers were traveling to Northern California to start their wineries, Lohr “faked them all out” and went south to Paso Robles instead.

Of course, no matter how informative it may be, working on a comedy project tends to invite comedic situations beyond what the audience sees.

“The dog in ‘Me Time’ is Hayley [Thomas’] dog, Mavis, who actually started nibbling on the cheese plate in the middle of a take, totally surprising our actress, Karina Yzobel,” Mande said.

You can watch #YouKnowJLohr online now at jlohr.com/youknowjlohr.

Fast facts

• The year’s annual Wine, Waves, & Beyond raised more than $28,000 for Glean SLO, which gathers excess produce from around the county that is then distributed by the Food Bank of SLO County, and more than $7,000 for Still Frothy, which supports Central Coast youth through community service projects, mentoring, surf contests, and college and competition advancement scholarships. The event has raised more than $170,000 for SLO County charitable organizations over the last seven years. The eighth annual Wine, Waves & Beyond will happen March 31 to April 2, 2017. For more info, visit winewavesandbeyond.com

• The San Luis Obispo branch of the county library will be closed for renovations starting Oct. 1 and be re-opened sometime during January of 2017. The renovations will add a floor to the building, making space for new automation functions and a larger children’s department, among other upgrades. The conference room at 995 Palm St. will serve as a temporary library during the renovations. To learn more, visit slolibrary.org

• The SLO Ballerz unicycle basketball team recently returned from San Sebastian, Spain, and the world championships of unicycling, Unicon 18. The team won the silver medal in the basketball tournament with a record of 11-2, falling to four-time world champs WOOM of Lyon, France. There were 10 teams in the tournament and more than 70 countries were represented among the nearly 2,000 competitors at Unicon. To learn more about SLO Ballerz, visit sloballerz.com

Katrina Borges wrote this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send news tips to strokes@newtimesslo.com

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