Because he can.
Because he does.
And because he has mad Web 2.0, Social Media and interpersonal skills:
Vote For the DirtySouthWine
Looking forward to this wine meets social media in practice study…and how it turns out!
Posted in blogging, California wine, imagination, inspiration, lifestyle, marketing, online community, online marketing, red wine, review, Wine 2.0, wine lovers, wine tasting, wine video, tagged wine marketing on May 7, 2009| 5 Comments »
Posted in blogging, California wine, Hahn estates, inspiration, lifestyle, marketing, red wine, white wine, Wine 2.0, wine lovers, tagged planting, santa lucia highlands, Vineyards on April 30, 2009| 11 Comments »
IF you thought you knew what the Bloggers Tasting Forums were all about, you may be surprised by the next in a series of Blogger/Winery meet ups. Next month Hahn Estates is dedicating approximately 1.6 acres as “The Bloggers Block”. The prime vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation will be planted throughout May. Bloggers attending the Tasting & Planting Forum in May will also plant their own vine in the Bloggers Block. The opportunity to learn, explore and share wine experiences I believe not only adds to our wine-ophilia, but more than almost any product, wine brings people together to learn, share and explore more.
Some thoughts from Bill Leigon, President of Hahn Family Wines on creating the Bloggers Block (which I hope will aka “Writers Block”). Here Mr. Leigon talks about how the Bloggers Block came about:
We had done a special incentive trip for our distributors a few years ago where the winners came to CA and got to plant their own PN vine with a plaque on it. In addition there has long been a history of certain wineries allowing consumers (usually wine club members) to “own” a vine. They join the club and buy a case of wine from their vine. One day while talking to Andy he mentioned that we had 1.6 acres or so on the knolls in Smith Vineyard that we could plant. In our interactions with the blogging community I learned that they are wine savvy and very interested in learning about wine. Great wines start in the vineyard. What better way to learn than to help plant a vine, take part in the process and follow the development of your vine over time.
This Bloggers Forum will be Hahn’s second such blogger event. Other wineries (St. Supery) have followed suit hosting bloggers for information and education and sharing. A few more thoughts from Bill Leigon:
Thus we are not selling anybody anything and I thought this would be a great way to enhance our outreach while providing a valuable educational experience. I believe that the blogging community is a vital part of the future of the industry. In the many debates of what is or isn’t ethical in regards to the winery/wine blogger relationship what seems clear to me is that the best, most ethical thing we as a winery can do is provide the blogging community with quality products, quality information and quality wine experiences regardless of race, sex, color, creed or brand of wine. We are using our vineyards because that’s who we are. I believe that the more the blogging community learns about wine, the better it is for all of us.
Bill Leigon gets wine and he also really gets social media:
It is a vital connection; just like the winery/wine writer connection; the winery/wine buyer connection; and of course the winery/consumer connection. It does us no good to create great wines if no one knows about it. I just can’t drink that much. The wine business is a relationship business. We must create an emotional connection to our consumers. We do that through many means and I believe Social Media is a major part of creating that connection.
When I was a young salesman starting out I received advice that I have never forgotten. The VP of Dreyfus-Ashby said to me, “Bill, the wine business is a relationship business. You sell one bottle of wine to one person, one at a time.” I didn’t know what he meant then, but I learned over time. The internet and Social Media allow you to do that only it accelerates the number of people you can reach to a degree that I can’t even comprehend. It allows me to establish a relationship and an emotional connection to someone in Germany that I have never met face to face. It allows me to create connections with multiple people in multiple countries simultaneously and in a very personal way.
Yep, pretty much.
Posted in blogging, California wine, Hahn estates, online community, online marketing, WBC, web 2.0, Wine 2.0, Wine Bloggers Conference, tagged Blogger access, Blogger Certification, Bloggers Lounge on January 13, 2009| 43 Comments »
Conversation among wine industryprofessionals, marketing strategists and wine bloggers this week includes talking about some kind of Wine Blogger Certification, or a standard that ends up with a Seal of Approval in order to quickly and easily provide bloggers access to events, wineries, industry programming and so on. I can see why some business people might seek such a …label, but I wonder about a simplified structure and I have many questions about how, why, wherefore.
The very counter-culture nature of blogging defies this kind of labeling and classification. The bloggoshpere is the untamed frontier and an exciting place to find opinions, stories and recommendations. I have certainly heard people post that “some bloggers just want free (stuff) wine”. But as I have spent some time reading wine blogs and actually spent time with the wine bloggers themselves, it is not an easy (usually unpaid) job to wine blog. Any level of credibility or readership is hard earned and maintained by a level of quality, personality and humor.
I have been a regular advocate for blogger access to the wine industry in the same way we grant access to traditional media and press. Wine bloggers have an outreach that can potentially go deeper and beyond traditional print media…at least in the wine industry. Just recently Hahn Estates hosted the first Bloggers Tasting Forum and ZAP will have a sponsored Bloggers Lounge offering bloggers free access to the 2 day event. So far, these beginnings have suggested tremendous success in blogger/wine industry relationship building. The expectation is that this access will directly benefit not just bloggers and wineries, but the consumers. With greater access to information, recommendations and outreach, we aim to convert more people into wine lovers everywhere.
So, how would you classify bloggers? They are a complex and various group of wineophiles from all over the world. The current count is over 1,000 wine blogs and growing. How would you define which ones get credentials for the wine events and which ones don’t?
And what if the wine blogger…a really great one…isn’t interested in the credential? Most of the wine bloggers I have met are stunningly smart and busy with day jobs, families, hobbies and fully packed lives. And as I have said before, they do their wine blog strictly for the passion of it. The Wine Bloggosphere is better off because of them. I would hate to see them squeezed out by beaucracy or obstacles that have less to do with a passion for wine and more to do with sorting that helps marketers achieve ROI.
What are your thoughts?
Graphic courtesy of Google Images.
Bloggers are micro-niche alpha consumers. ” WTF?” you say? Bloggers are a gold mine not just for reviews for a product but also for access, resources, information and possibly discounts, specials, events, connections and more.
Let’s start at the beginning: micro-niche? Take wine bloggers, for example; there are hundreds of wine bloggers world wide that each have particular strengths or focus. If you like pinot noir there are blogs for that micro-niche, do you like the Central Coast of California wine country? Looking for something more international? Perhaps Spanish or Portuguese? There are bloggers for most wine passions out there. (Right now you’re reading a blog specializing in wine marketing and social networking.) Ok, so now you get the idea for micro-niche. For me it points to a depth of field, experience as well as infinite fun, experimentation, and exploration.
Next, the alpha consumer: It is defined in Neologisims as “one who starts a trend or picks it up very early, often long before the rest of the population, usu. used as a predictor of economic trends“. I’ll apply it slightly differently to the wine blogging world because the timing on wine is different than say, new electronics. Bloggers are the alpha wine consumers because:
Essentially I’m suggesting that wine bloggers’ influence can support or direct wine buying trends. And now that there are social meduims on line like Twitter Taste Live, the Open Wine Consortium and Wine 2.0 where these conversations between bloggers and consumers are aggregated and duplicated in addition to their individual blog posts, I believe their influence will only grow. For the wine world and especially for consumers, I think that’s fantastic because bloggers are knowledgeable, passionate wine geeks sharing their wine experience. They go through a lot of bad wine and less than hospitable wineries to tell you about the great ones. Nothing beats sitting around with friends experimenting with a tasty flight of new wines and then telling the world about it. After that, I’m looking to convert casual wine tasters into passionate wineophiles.
It’s the kind of person to person connecting that brings meaning to the experience. Anyone that thinks you’re selling them something will just go away, turned off. Brand development is taking a 180 degree turn-about. Gary Vaynerchuk says “give a shit about your community.” Marta Kagen who created the What the F**K is Social Media slide share presentation reported that 78% of people trust the recommendations of other consumers. (Compared to the 14% who trust advertising claims. Both from the Nielsen “Trust in Advertising Report) Who do you trust?
I’ve said it before: Find the wine blogs right for you, then subscribe. But don’t just stop there. Share what you find. Make connections, leave a comment, share a post with a friend, send the link to your dad. It will feed the next time you are together sharing a bottle of wine, whether you’re talking about the USC Trojans’ latest victory or discussing the finer points of terrior, and US vineyard soil vs. France’s Bordeaux region. US wine markets are just coming into their own as Americans embrace wine into daily life. Better yet, information and social connectivity has never been so hi-tech, easy and accessible online. Blogs provide the centralizing content that connects what we’re passionate about with each other.
Special thanks to Shana Ray for the photo.