Never let it be said that good ideas can't come from airline in-flight magazines. That's where Roger Menard, president of John Laing Homes' San Francisco division, read a profile about COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts in nearby Napa, Calif. When he did, a light-bulb came on. “I thought about the diversity of our buyer profiles for Roubion [a 72-unit community of estate homes priced from the low $2 millions] and how we could meet their needs,” says Menard.

The resulting partnership with the nonprofit purveyor of the wine-country lifestyle goes well beyond the occasional cooking demo at an open-house event. COPIA has consulted on prep-kitchen layouts and appliance selections and is available to help homeowners design and stock in-home wine cellars. The latter offering is one of several “free” services COPIA is providing as part of the deal (in exchange for an annual charitable donation by the builder).

LIVING THE LIFE: Partnering with experts in wine, food, gardening, and the arts perfectly suited  Roubion, an enclave of 72 estate homes that's attracting buyers who appreciate  the casual, wine-country lifestyle.
LIVING THE LIFE: Partnering with experts in wine, food, gardening, and the arts perfectly suited Roubion, an enclave of 72 estate homes that's attracting buyers who appreciate the casual, wine-country lifestyle.

Laing plans to eschew conventional community centers for smaller, culinary hubs at future Bay Area communities to host family gatherings, cooking classes and demonstrations, and wine-tasting events for homeowners. The two partners have also leveraged their respective locations, advertising, and events to promote each other and the partnership, generating traffic for both entities.

“We are their market, and our buyers are the types of people they want to attract,” says Menard. “Our buyers relate to all of what COPIA offers and stands for, and [this venture] takes our marketing program to the highest level.”

Roubion opened in late October of last year.

CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: Partnership with a local nonprofit group; Partners: John Laing Homes, Newport Beach, Calif. (San Francisco division), and COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts, Napa, Calif.; Advertising agency: EMC Creative, Danville, Calif.; Cost: Undisclosed

Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Francisco, CA.