Co-founder and Strategic Counsel
Name some of the best-selling or best-known wines and spirits in the U.S. — Cavit, Chalone, Concha y Toro or Codorniu — and Jane Kettlewell has helped get them there. One of the top wine industry PR professionals in the country, she introduces, positions, revitalizes, re-launches and promotes brands. Her newest venture, Creative Palate Communications, builds on her over-20-year experience in the wine and spirits industry. Co-founded with Kate Corcoran, Creative Palate is a boutique PR/marketing agency focused primarily on the wine business – all with one thing in common: clients and producers that Jane and Kate believe in!
One of Jane’s unorthodox beliefs is that “big can be beautiful.” Over the years she has enjoyed the challenge of presenting higher volume brands to the media and trade who often reflexively follow the “small is better” line. Jane’s extensive media network includes contacts at top outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, USA Today, O, CNN, CBS, NBC, NPR, Bloomberg Business Week, Slate and Huffington Post. And her industry relationships, second to none, have partially been forged through participation in wine and food organizations including Les Dames d’Escoffier New York chapter, the NY Wine & Food Society and the NY Women’s Culinary Alliance.
Creative Palate clients benefit from this extensive network of media and industry contacts, many of whom, over the decades, have turned into personal friends. Jane is considered an industry insider. And, perhaps, that is not surprising considering she started her wine career as personal assistant to ultimate insider, wine industry legend Alexis Lichine, who asked her to move to the US from the UK. She then went to work for another industry mover-and-shaker, Wine Spectator publisher Marvin Shanken, when she took a job at Niki Singer PR. After half a dozen years with Niki Singer, Jane freelanced for six years, handling PR for prominent wine clients, including Palm Bay International, a leading wine importer (e.g. Navarro Correas, Jean-Luc Colombo, Santa Rita, Gosset Champagne, Planeta) from a dozen countries worldwide, to Ed Schwartz PR of San Francisco, at the time one of the premier agencies dedicated to promoting domestic wine producers (including Beaulieu Vineyards, Far Niente, Raymond and Flora Springs). Ultimately, Jane was recruited to work for Palm Bay on an exclusive basis, where she remained for more than 10 years before joining Banfi Vintners (e.g. Castello Banfi, Concha y Toro, Trivento, Bolla, Fontana Candida) in 2008 as Director of Public Relations.
After three happy, productive years at Banfi, she left to paddle her own canoe, going to co-found Creative Palate. Ironically, Jane’s first post-college job at financial services company American Express in London had an outsize influence on her future thinking and success. Having learned early on the importance of budgets and sound financial practices, Jane works closely with a brand’s sales force to help them achieve their goals; host events, tastings, sample programs and other activities under a strict budget; and evaluate promotional opportunities, sponsorships, donations and other requests through a sharp financial lens.
Combining all these different strands, Creative Palate is an opportunity for Jane to share her PR and marketing experience, financial common sense and creativity with clients she cares about in an industry she loves. Most importantly, it’s about having fun and not taking oneself too seriously. Of course, the latter is not an option when you are the mother of two sons — teenager Jas and university student Nicholas — who also help her stay current with the newest social media platforms and tech trends. Along with Polish-born husband, Piotr Kumelowski, they live in Forest Hills, Queens, where Jane enjoys running and entertaining at home.