Yes, I have.
This all started when my pal Edward Wallis of Wallis Family Estate sent me a link to Calwineries ("California's wine defined" -- now what the hell does that mean?), with which I was unfamiliar. It appears they are trying to build a community of people who are interested in California wines. A tough row to hoe, I think, given all the other "social media" avenues that are competing for your attention. But I digress.
I noticed that Calwineries has a blog, so I went there to see what I might find past the "official" face of their Web site. Blogs, in my opinion, give you a pretty good flavor of what's happening. If the blog is fresh and interesting, it says good things about the company behind it.
I love finding examples of video that's interesting to watch (since so many winery videos are like watching paint dry while water drips slowly on your head). In less than three minutes, you get a pretty good picture of how she approaches the problem. It helps that Heidi is well-spoken and photogenic.
(Note: I decided to watch the video for two reasons. I recognized Heidi Barrett's name, and the still image of the video looked like it wasn't going to be "corporate speak". Something to think about for your own video.)
Since I'd never heard of the video's creator, Adopt A Grape, I decided to listen to their introductory video as well:
Duane Hoff of Fantesca Estate & Winery is the man behind Adopt A Grape, and appears in the video.
Since it's my job to stay on top of new online approaches to marketing and promoting wine, I "adopt'd" a grape (it's free). I got to choose a grape from one of seven different blocks of grapes (2 Petite Verdor, 5 Cabnernet Sauvignon).
Although the above video was posted relatively recently (3 months ago), the Adopt A Grape site itself seems pretty quiet. The last update for my adopted block of Cab was in November of 2007, which certainly doesn't feel very fresh. The latest post on the Adopt A Grape site/blog is apparently December 18, 2008.
Any winery could do what Adopt A Grape is doing in creating a tighter bond between the winery and the (potential) customer. Of course, it takes a fair amount of effort to blog and create videos. Situations like that provide a business opportunity for someone willing to provide and manage the service. I wonder if Adopt A Grape was started with the idea of expanding to multiple wineries where people could adopt grapes. Since the signup contains an opt-in to learn more about Adopt A Grape wines, they were clearly hoping to build a permission mailing list where they could offer wine for sale (note the choice of words - you can only interest people in buying).
One goal of your winery Web site is to inspire enough interest and trust in people, so that they will give you their e-mail, so that you can contact them about more interesting stuff in the future (some of which might inspire them to buy some of your wine). One way to create interest and trust is with short, interesting video, and Heidi Barrett and "Laurie" Wood are two good examples from Adopt A Grape.