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July 09, 2009


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Interesting article. I also wonder about how much of the struggle that luxury wines are having is due to the other factors that the economy exposed, namely 1) that there are a lot of very nice $10-$30 wines out there, 2) that some of these wines had gotten very high in price - $150 on up and 3) that people are now trying the wines that got silly scores a few years ago and are going "really? $400 for that? It's OK, but...."

Michael Homula

Good post. I just talked about this the other day on my blog and the real problem is the way the smaller, and in some cases larger, wineries and winemakers are using social media. They use it as thought it is another advertising/marketing vehicle and the unwritten rules of social media don't support that.

Social media works, and people trust it, when it is transparent, authentic and engaging. Blasting your wine links, ads and special offers is the quickest way to get unfollowed, blocked or ignored. If the wineries and winemakers will get engaged in the SM communities through education, free guidance, discussions etc. they will see HUGE ROI from using social media to talk about their wine. As of now however, very few if any are doing this well.

If anyone is interested in my post you can find it here - http://www.pullingthecork.com/2009/07/pain-in-the-bottle-luxury-wine-sales-suffer.html

I hope you don't mind me posting the link.

JD in Napa

Anyone happen to see Dr. Vino's Thursday blog, which posted on the same WSJ article? The comments were very interesting. While there were many positions on the value of social media for wineries, many of us commented on Alpha Omega's apparent lack of SocMed savvy; it made me wonder why WSJ selected this winery as an example. SocMed can be a great tool for wineries, when used correctly, as Mike notes, above. There are many examples of SocMed being used well, but Ao's twitter/ Facebook "presence" is unremarkable, at best.

Speaking of SocMed, I see that St. Supery hired Rick Bakas as their Director of Social Media Marketing; it'll be fun to see what Rick does at St. Supery.

Dennis Eagles Nest Winery


I believe there were several points/views that Dr V did not include in his post but were covered effectively in subsequent reader comments.

It's important to note from a systems engineering perspective, that Social media is NO winery panacea – it’s another way to connect with their constituencies.

I support Joe Roberts (1 Wine Dude), Mark Norman’s, and Lee Trauple’s comments following the Dr's blog.

Our winery is located in a wonderful wine grape growing region but is afflicted with a dysfunctional (some say repressive) local government (Recall the recent national press and pubic outrage about a $100K permit demand for a preacher to have a weekly bible study at his home?)

As a Boutique (read small) winery we offer a unique and intimate luxury wine, and wine tourism vacation experience that guests love and appreciate but beyond the repression of a $250K tasting room permit - we needed a creative venue to reach potential customers.

Amongst Boutique/small wineries, we’re progressive in several areas including use of Web 2.0 including pubic and private blog sites. We even use Southdown Babydoll sheep to control weeds in our vineyards - another story.

Lee Traupel's comment in Dr V's blog points out the elements of social media are mutually supportive. In our case, Twitter augment our other established Web 2.0 venues.

No single 144 character Tweet can convey the detailed contents and photos in a blog post, and a well written but unknown blog post benefits the knowledge of no one – but a tweet can provide a link or alert followers to current activities.

An important point is adding value for the social media audience - I don’t like to be marketed to 24 hours a day. Many of our blog posts are informative in the general wine education context – corkage fees, grape growing, sustainable farming, how to hold a wine tasting party… wine, etc.

Participating in Web 2.0 does have a cost for small wineries. I coined a phrase “Feeding the Web 2.0 monster” to account for the the workload in employing Web 2.0 technology.

We held our premier streaming tasting video yesterday complete w/Operatic Arias as intro - huge time investment in that.

WEB 1.0 vs Web 2.0 - As former site developers/designers in the days of Web 1.0, my family recognizes the ongoing time demands of maintaining current content and a relevant website, nothing has changed for Web 2.0.

To be sure, posting to Twitter, our blogs, and e-mail are additional tasks beyond our core business of grape growing, wine making, selling & shipping wines but for us, it’s an necessary means of communicating with our customers and future friends.

The unique Web 2.0 element in our small operation, is you are communicating directly with the owners and winemakers.

Hello Vino Jim

I like seeing the chatter going on about social media/marketing concerning the wine industry!

I definitely think wineries need to be present in the social media landscape to keep their finger on the pulse of younger consumers and how they are absorbing information before purchasing products. However, they need to put the work into their accounts and not look stale on the Web. If they are realistic and formulate a routine presence on say Twitter and Facebook while promoting interaction on in conjunction with discounts and offers for participation...they should see direct sales more frequently.

In addition, some wineries are warming up to mobile solutions for Point of Sale issues. We're actually trying to tackle this area and assist the overwhelmed consumer through Hello Vino (www.hellovino.com) if you'd like to check it out. We love hearing ideas and thoughts...trying to make it the best it can be.

Hello Vino Jim

prop hire

This is the best post on this topic i have ever read.


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