Winemakers and Vineyard Managers are the artists and magicians in our industry. Yes, they call on science a great deal too. And their alchemy yields a precious libation revered and exulted in rituals both daily and sacred; from the family meal to religious rites.
We honor their time in the vineyard, the cellar and the lab and always want more of them. Their unique perspective, experience and connection to the vine practically makes them our only and best channel into the mysteries of our wine experiences. Coming together and sharing is already a precious gift of presence; add wine to the experience and there is an immediate physical in-the-moment awareness that heightens the sharing. Simply and truly connecting.
Social networking is that experience, increasing your opportunity for connecting in meaningful and substantial ways. There are many examples in business online, but look to no other proof than that of Barak Obama’s campaign. While engaging Americans with all the traditional campaign tools, “It super-charged those traditional methods with the best online strategy ever employed in a national campaign…” (see TechPresident). The online experience is the channel primed for growth, value, contribution and community in the wine industry. A direct interface both massive and intimate for communicating story, images, video, events, and the science and artistry of making wine to the people all over the world who love wine.
It comes down to relationships. Marketing and Social Networking have the tenants of relationships, community, connecting, engaging (and user generated content), thanks to Web 2.0 that make it successful. By now, many SMO folks are tired to those terms, but they hold true. The technology allows people to connect on platforms and groups like LinkedIn, the Open Wine Consortium and facebook. And the in-person connection that these social groups afford may be accelerated and made meaningful in a world where corporate giants are depersonalizing more of our consuming experiences. Finding restaurants, bookstores, wine shops and grocery stores where you meet the owner, know the manager and connect with the sales person are all but gone. And it was those connections cultivated over time that made the experience rewarding, serving not just our purchasing needs, but our extended human interaction needs across our community.
Enter social networking. Across vast populations all pressed for demands on their time, money and energy, we can find ways to connect with like-minded individuals and groups. We may also share information, stories, reviews, experiences, events and eventually, in person, a bottle of wine. Wineries (their winemakers, vineyard managers, owners) have an opportunity to connect with the online wine world, including consumers, wine bloggers and a variety of Web 2.0 wine companies, all of whom are crazy-passionate about wine and wine people. Wineries have the opportunity to contribute to the community, add value and participate in the most effective means of growing business: giving more, delivering more, leading more, where becoming an industry leader means building a model in our industry for business relationships across the world of wine consumers. And connecting even for a few precious minutes a day or each week with the artists/scientists of the vine, the winemakers and vineyard managers would be an amazing gift of a relationship that wineries may share.
It is an exciting time in the wine world.