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Posts Tagged ‘wineries’

I believe wineries and bloggers have a LOT to offer each other.  And together they have so much to offer consumers.  So I’m looking for all the ways wineries and bloggers are currently connected (if at all) and new and improved ways for them to evangelize the beautiful power of wine.  2984691767_d77379b462_m

There are bloggers who are paid to write for wineries.  Many wineries are savvy enough to reach out to bloggers and invite them for tastings or send them wine samples to review and blog about.  Some event producers are offering dramatically reduced rates for bloggers to participate;  sometimes it is the wineries’ sponsorships that afford that economic arrangement (think Wine Bloggers Conference or Wine 2.0 events).  And I’m just starting to hear about (and host) Bloggers Tasting Forums with wineries.

The Bloggers Tasting Forum is an opportunity for bloggers and wineries to sit down together, taste wines, get access to vineyard managers and winemakers and have conversation about, well, wine, the industry and the passions they share.  I’m hosting one such event in early December (DM/e-mail  me if you’d like to come and are a food or wine blogger) looking for opportunities to work together and add value to our wine experience and share that with (nay, convert others) who are interested in wine.wine_small_2

Other possibilities I see for wineries and bloggers to come together?  Host a guest blogger for a month: either pay them or the charity of their choice for them to write about your winery, winemaker, wine, vineyards, etc.  Events:  sponsor or offer scholarships to various wine tasting events to help bloggers get there.  Host a guest blogger to pour in your tasting room for a day.  Ok, this may be a strange one, but especially if there are winery tours available, what an amazing way for a blogger to learn and connect with the company/family and your consumers for a day.  Kind of like an exchange program. (no, you wouldn’t write for their blog 🙂  Include bloggers in focused research or think-tank like conversations about planning your year, events, marketing.  Again, maybe a stretch, but I think they offer expertise in areas we can lose sight of from inside the winery operations.  And they will know consumers better than almost anyone…because they are the wine industry’s BEST consumers.

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Wineries are already jumping in, but we’re at the beginning of the Wine/Web 2.0 Convergence.

What do you think?

How do you see wineries and bloggers working together for everyone’s benefit?


People Photos courtesy of Russ Beebe THE WineHiker

Wine photo from Google Images

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Winery Proprietor, Blogger, 21st Century Wine Man

Jeff Stai: Winery Proprietor, Blogger, 21st Century Wine Man

Are you a winery for bloggers? That means you support, acknowledge and encourage bloggers to engage with your winery.  How many blogs do you subscribe to? Talk about? Do you know any bloggers by name? Face?  I think I’m starting a new campaign, a regular post about Wineries for Bloggers.  Wineries that acknowledge and support the work of wine bloggers will also be recognized and appreciated for their forward thinking, progressive business acumen and twenty-first century-ness.  Wineries that put Social Media to use are leaders in the wine industry and will be noted.

I’ve been polling bloggers about what they want from wineries for the wine industry.  It was an informal poll via e-mail, twitter, conversations, and blogs. (I’m no Nate Silver www.fivethirtyeight.com, hence, informal poll) While I currently work for Hahn Family Wines, I publish this blog separately, outside of my work there.  (in essence, I sometimes feel like I straddle both worlds, the wine marketer and the DIY blogger.)

Bloggers’ requests are pretty obvious and seem so simple considering their influence, passion and dedication to their work.  Which brings me to another point:  So many wine bloggers do it for love.  Blogging likely doesn’t qualify even as a second job and most are lucky if their costs are covered by ads or supplemental support.  There is a LOT of discussion going on about credibility in their industry, thanks to the first ever North American Wine Bloggers Conference, and that conversation will continue I’m sure.  Rest assured, bloggers are not “bought” and are careful to reflect honestly their tastes, interests and values.  They are a fun, educated, decent bunch of people we should all be so lucky to call friends.

Back to the question at hand:  How can wineries contribute to the wine blogging part of our industry?

Here’s what bloggers said: 2996275573_806732a3cb

Wine Bloggers want acknowledgement, appreciation, respect.  Frankly, many wine bloggers are as influential as any press, newspaper or print media when it comes to wine.  They should have similar access, special blogger tasting forums, events, passes, discounts and wineries that are proactive in reaching out to them.  But that means you have to know them.  This is wine marketing and social media at its finest.  Twentieth century marketing as Marta Kagen put it was “The old communication model…a monologue.”  Social Networking is the new communication model which is, she says, “…a dialogue.”  The numbers that back up this assertion are ridiculous, as in overwhelming, in support of a new model.  (see What the F**K is Social Media)  By all means, approach bloggers to come join you, but get to know who they are and what their blog is about.  And if bloggers are coming to you, wineries, they are passionate about the industry and what you do, say yes!  Can you spare your winemaker for 5 or 10 minutes? Or maybe the Vineyard Manager?  Say “yes!” Anyone who is invested in the story, the vineyards and the juice.  Welcome the wine bloggers.  Understand that most wine bloggers will likely know more than your average tasting room employee.  Maybe not about your brand, but about a diverse cross section of the wine world in general.

Look, even if they don’t LOVE your wine, they’ll appreciate your courtesy, customer service and other merits.  Wine is such a personal and varied product.  And wine bloggers are here to stay.  The most recent count has the number of wine blogs near 1,000 world wide.  I believe audiences will sort the quality, humor and content for themselves.  Bloggers that aren’t meeting standards just won’t last.  The internet is an ultimate democracy;  yes, access is fairly easy, but those with influence have something valuable to say, to contribute and possibly they have a good editor.

My recommendation to wineries is to start reading wine blogs.  Subscribe, engage, connect.  “In 2008, if you’re not on a social networking site, you’re not on the internet.” (from What the F**K is Social Media)  You’ll have to catch up someday.  Wineries that don’t know any better will learn the hard way.  Wine brings people together and so does social networking.  There is a perfect convergence of populations here;  One where wineries, bloggers and wine consumers win.

Are you a winery that supports the blogging industry?

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Thanks to the following bloggers/twitterati for contributing to the conversation: @winebratsf, @juicecowboy, @sonadora, @winequester, @jugshop, @alexlewis, @scaldron, and many others across the bloggosphere.  Thank you for your contribution to the wine world.

And special thanks to Ward Kadel and Megan Kenney for sharing their Wine Blogger Conference photos.

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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.

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