Sour Grapes in Colorado Wine Assignment

LOS ANGELES After filing two unsuccessful protests with Colorado’s State Purchasing Department over its recent decision to award the Colorado wine industry development board’s public relations contract to Riester-Robb, CTA Public Relations said it has requested a hearing with the executive director of the State of Colorado, Troy Eid, to reverse the state’s assignment.

Riester-Robb in Denver was selected to handle the account in June, following a review that included finalists CTA and Fresh Ideas Group in Boulder, Colo., according to CTA. Annual billings are $45,000-50,000.

Carl Thompson, owner of CTA in Louisville, Colo., said the shop is arguing the decision because Riester-Robb is “an Arizona agency” headquartered in Phoenix, with no category experience or wine media contacts. He also claimed that Riester-Robb does not pay corporate income taxes.

“Our protest has nothing to do with Riester-Robb,” Thompson added. “Our issue is with the process and how the wine board awarded this contract.”

Riester-Robb president Tim Riester said the shop’s owners are required to pay tax on all of its contracts handled out of Arizona. He added that while the agency does not have other wine clients, it has a relationship with food and beverage publications through its work for tourism clients like the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, Utah Travel Council and Deer Valley Ski Resort.

“We’re delighted to have been chosen to represent the Colorado wine industry development board and we’re anxious for the people who lost to move on so that we can start helping these folks,” said Riester.

Representatives for Colorado’s purchasing department could not immediately be reached.