Rodney Strong's Rockaway label has given samples of its debut 2005 Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon to a select group of bloggers in advance of its general release on September 2nd (and more importantly, in advance of release to traditional media reviewers like The Wine Spectator/Advocate/Enthusiast/Whatever).
Tim Elliott of WineCast has a nice review, along with links to the reviews from the other bloggers involved.
Stormhoek pioneered this approach, but it's a pretty bold move for a well-established winery like Rodney Strong.
The reviews and commentary are worth a read with your Sunday-morning coffee, along with this post from Tim reviewing the strategy itself.
Let me know if you are using or considering using this approach to marketing your wines.
UPDATE: all of the bloggers mention that the Rockaway allocation list is currently open. One way to measure the results of this program is simply by seeing how many signups they get, and how many sales result from those signups.
If you sign up for the Rockaway allocation list (I did!), you also got an invite to a private preview tasting at Rodney Strong, adding to the "I'm an insider" feeling, and allowing people to try before they buy. This is a really well-thought-out experiment by the winery. They can measure it, they can meet people that the program brings in, and they have generated additional buzz by being a Purple Cow.
UPDATE #2: Dr. Debs weighs in with more analysis of Rodney Strong's program.