Academy of Wine Communications-FLX: February Meeting this Thursday, 2/25/10

AWC FLX members Kim Aliperti, Billsboro Winery & Erica Paolicelli, Three Brothers Wineries & Estates taste Ravines Wine Cellars '07 Dry Pinot Rose'

Update: February meeting canceled due to winter storm warning for the region.  We’re working on setting up our next meeting for Thursday, 3/18/10.  Watch here for more details.

February’s meeting of the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Academy of Wine Communications will be held on Thursday, February 25, 2010 at Three Brothers Wineries & Estates at Stoney Lonesome Wine Cellars on Seneca Lake, 623 Lerch Road in Geneva, NY.  The meeting will be held from 10:00 AM-12:30 PM with breakfast provided by Three Brothers Wineries & Estates.  Attendees: feel free to bring a bottle to share during the meeting and RSVP for new members is greatly appreciated ASAP to Melissa Dobson at (917) 816-5424 or melissa.dobson@avantguild.com.

Topics to include:

  • Identifying wine influencers
  • How to turn wine blog reviews into sales $$
  • New York Cork Report: Mini-Rieslings: Hazlitt Hopes To Take a Major Step With Customers http://bit.ly/cm6Ydf, alternative packaging
  • Viticulture 2010 takeaways: Erica Paolicelli of Three Brothers Wineries & Estates
  • Vino Visit and Cellar Pass

If you haven’t joined us yet, check us out. Wineries and wine marketing groups that have attended include: Heron Hill Winery, Splash The Finger Lakes, Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, Damiani Wine Cellars, Ravines Wine Cellars, Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, Anthony Road Wine Company, Three Brothers Wineries & Estates, Sheldrake Point Vineyard and Cafe, Red Newt Cellars, Rooster Hill Vineyards, Shaw Vineyard and New York Wine & Culinary Center.  Bring a favorite bottle and your notebook, it’s a great excuse to get out and talk wine marketing over a glass of vino with Finger Lakes winery owners and marketers.  See you there!

Social Media Quick Tip: Tag Your Favorite Wine Brands on Facebook

This is old news for some, but if you haven’t explored the status tagging feature (similar to photo tagging) on Facebook, take a few minutes and check it out.

Status tagging can help your winery’s Facebook fan page to become more engaging and vibrant.  Facebook users can type the “@” symbol before a Facebook fan page name that they’re a fan of along with the first few letters of the fan page right after the @ sign, and Facebook begins to populate your friends names and fan pages for you to click on, creating a direct link to the page (or personal profile) and also appearing on that fan page or profile.

For example, you work for a winery.  Your personal profile oftentimes has updates about your day at the winery, but those updates don’t make it over to your winery’s fan page because you’re running short on time.  Here’s what you can do to save time and get your fan page updated more easily.

1. Go to your personal profile.

2. Type your update text into the “What’s On Your Mind” box and be sure to type @xyzwinery within your update text.  You’ll see choices pop up after you type the @ symbol.  (ie Just finished bottling  2008 @xyzwinery Cabernet Franc with barely a bottle broken!)

3. Click on the appropriate fan page link after the @ symbol and finish your update.

The update will now appear on both your personal profile page and the winery’s fan page if they allow links from fans to show on their wall.  If your winery doesn’t allow links from fans, I highly recommend that you do so by adjusting your fan page settings.  Organic content from fans is the lifeblood of a successful fan page.

I bet you have some Facebook-savvy customers who will follow your lead and tag their updates about you and their wine experiences with you.  Let’s help each other out and tag other wineries and businesses on Facebook when we’ve visited them.   (I don’t seem to have the ability to status tag from my blackberry’s Twitterberry app just yet)

Photo credit: respres flickr photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/respres

Academy of Wine Communications:Twitter Basics Immersion for Wineries

Winter Beauty on Keuka Lake

Our next meeting of the Academy of Wine Communications here in the Finger Lakes will be followed by an interactive Twitter Basics Immersion for Wineries for AWC members.  The meeting and seminar will be held at Ravines Wine Cellars on Keuka Lake thanks to their offer to host us and let us utilize their wireless connectivity.  Date is still TBD but watch for info soon.

Update: Meeting and Twitter Immersion date set for Wednesday, 1/27/10

  • Topics for Twitter Immersion to include:
    • No question too simple, be sure to ask those questions that have been keeping you from engaging more frequently
    • Basics of Twitter, hashtags, Tweetdeck, what are people saying?, following and joining conversations
    • What to do everyday to get the most from Twitter
    • Topics, what are engaging topics? How not to tweet only “sales-y” content, getting the most from Twitter conversations

    Would love to have this be interactive, so if you’re an advanced Tweeter, it would be great to have you stay and participate to help other members if your schedule allows.

So I ask my friends and advanced Tweeters (Tweeps), what tips can you offer to Academy of Wine Communications members in Finger Lakes Wine Country who are just getting started on Twitter?  Or have set up profiles but are feeling stuck?  Your comments and suggestions, if they’re good :) , will be presented during our session and you will receive mad love from our group and maybe gain a few new followers.  Muchos gracias!

Happy 2010 from Family, Love, Wine!!

Frying Cheese Pierogis for Christmas with my little sis

Wishing you all of the love, success, happiness and new wine discoveries in the New Year.  I hope to continue to evolve both my business and the content here to bring you more consistent and helpful info.  I’d love to connect and help you with questions via Twitter @MelissaDobson, on Facebook at facebook.com/MelissaDobsonPRMarketing , or via email at melissa (dot) dobson (at) avantguild (dot) com.  See you soon!

Very best to you always,

Melissa Dobson

Academy of Wine Communications-FLX: Invitation to our next meeting

Attendees to Our Info Meeting at Heron Hill Winery

Attention Finger Lakes wine PR & marketing professionals:  This is an open invitation to you to our next meeting on Thursday, 12/10/09.  Hope you can join us!  UPDATE 12/7/09: Meeting location is at Ravine’s Wine Cellars, 14630 State Route 54,  Hammondsport, NY 14830. Please RSVP to melissa (dot) dobson (at) avantguild.com before 12:00 noon tomorrow if you’ll be attending.

Hi all,

For those who haven’t discovered us, the Academy of Wine Communications is a group of wine communications pros based in Napa, CA (history http://academyofwine.org/awc/about/history/) with a developing chapter here in the Finger Lakes. Our goal is to bring wine communications professionals together to share and discuss hot topics and the latest developments in the wine PR & marketing industry. Additionally, the AWC strives to provide resources to wine writers and bloggers. We held our first small info meeting last month and now moving forward with our next meeting. We’re planning monthly meetings through April and then will reassess meeting frequency during busy season.

The next meeting of the Academy of Wine Communications-Finger Lakes Chapter is set for next Thursday, 12/10 from 12-1:30, meeting location is still TBD. If you have or can suggest a winery (preferred) or restaurant (that serves a lot of local wines of course!) where we can either bring in our own lunches or order lunch, please reply back ASAP. Also, if you plan to attend, please email me back by Monday to RSVP so that I can plan for the appropriate venue.

Here’s what we have lined up for our next meeting:

* Hot topics

* Recent wine PR/marketing challenges

* Best/worst practices

* Blogger relations

* Chapter Officers

* Meeting calendar through April

* Open floor (as time allows): share current initiatives, recent events ie Spit & Twit, books, resources etc. (please feel free to bring any books, websites etc. to share)

Don’t forget, you can list yourselves on the AWC site’s wine PR directory http://academyofwine.org/awc/resources/wine-pr-directory/

I’d love your help in spreading the word to anyone involved in Finger Lakes wine PR and marketing interested in attending our next meetings. The main home page for the AWC is academyofwine.org, check out the resources tab for: Job Board, Useful Links, Social Media including blogger relations tips. We’re also updating on the Academy of Wine Communications Facebook Fan Page. Your suggestions and feedback are welcome there too. (Will be closing down the AWC-FLX fan page very soon, so please join the main AWC page)

Hope to see you all soon.

Thanks so much!

~Melissa

melissa (dot) dobson (at) avantguild.com

Humbled Wine Consumers Want Luxury Products Made by Real People

Visitors at Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards (photo provided by Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards)

Recently, this excerpt resonated with me and I thought of you.  It’s from “What Will 2010 Bring for Fine Wine Sales?” the preliminary findings of Silicon Valley Bank’s  Annual State of the Wine Industry Report for 2010-2011:

“…the fine wine business at some point in the past decade began to believe the product was about an expensive purchase and ego-based conspicuous consumption. The industry now finds a humbled consumer still wanting luxury products, but products made by real
people
, and not just expensive brands without a soul. Each producer has to figure out new ways to touch every one of its consumers in an authentic manner. That is the good news for an industry connected to family business, the earth, and hand made production.”

Keeping this in mind, have you adjusted your PR, marketing and social media efforts to speak to these discerning consumers?  I realize that these types of individualized, personal interactions can be very time consuming.  However, a combination of recurring touches can help your winery to connect with its enthusiasts, their friends and your new customers.  Make your campaigns about them, not all about you.  Thinking about a new event concept or wine club offering?  Ask your customers for feedback, what they like about your current events and wine club, what they would like that’s different, what a comfortable price point is.  Let them get to know your people, your winery dog, your wine club members, that special something that you have to offer that sets you apart from the winery up the road.  And of course, talk about the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on daily at your winery,encourage and answer questions on your Facebook fan page, become a resource of wine information.

My husband and a couple of girlfriends and I took a day and toured a few wineries on Seneca Lake recently.  After our second tasting, we sat out back at one of a group of tables set up for customers to sit and enjoy a bottle on the patio.  We struck up a conversation with a group next to us.  They were regulars to Finger Lakes Wine Country from Maryland.  They were loose with their feelings after a day of tasting and didn’t hold back.  My husband Rich asked them what kept bringing them back to the region, always curious about these things after numerous conversations with me about it.  The most vocal of the bunch didn’t hesitate.  She said point blank, “What brings us back and makes us buy wine here?  It’s all about selling the experience to us.  We visited one winery where the wines were not good at all, but it was a fun place, we enjoyed our time there so we bought some wine.  Then there was another new winery with a young husband and wife as the owners.  They told us their story on how they’re just getting started, we liked their wine but more than anything, we liked them and wanted to buy wine from them, so we did.”

Another example of the loyalty that personalized marketing can make for wineries is illustrated in comment #1 by JLBrown in this recent post by Eric Asimov on the NY Times’ wine blog “The Pour” titled “The Mystery of Marketing” :

The dumbing down/dunderheading of wine marketing makes me crazy.

Want to see a vintner that really gets wine marketing? Check out Hafner Vineyard (http://www.hafnervineyard.com/). I was introduced to their wines several years ago by a direct-mail piece that was so unforced and so evocative of their product that I bought. And bought. And bought. I have become a raging fan.

The product is wonderful, but the personal touch to marketing really sets them apart. They understand that wine is a personal experience, and that they are in the enjoyment business. They do everything possible to make obtaining and enjoying their wines a special, personal experience.

— JLBrown

Okay, these are just a couple of examples, but as much as wine quality is important to sustaining a winery’s business, please don’t forget how important your back story, your dreams and aspirations, your “one thing” that sets you apart, those personal touches by real people…are to your customers.  A few quick things to think about:

  • Does your website, email and newsletter copy come from an authentic voice or does it sound stiff and corporate-y?
  • Does the “About Us” page on your website tell your personal story and philosophy and does it have pictures of the people and maybe the four-leggers that are the core of your winery brand?
  • How does each “touch” feel to your customer?  Will they want to come back to you for more of that feeling and share your story with their friends and family while opening a bottle of your wine?

I wholeheartedly feel that here in the Finger Lakes, the people here, the experience provided, the beauty of the region, the family-owned wineries that feel like home are also very important to many wine tourists as they carefully weigh out where and with whom they’ll spend their money in challenging economic conditions.  What brings your best customers back to see you and purchase wine from you regularly?  What are you doing to emphasize those qualities?

Happy Thanksgiving!

As you’re rushing around today, getting ready to gather with your family and friends for Thanksgiving tomorrow, let me stop you for just a moment to say thank you.  I sincerely appreciate your interest in my posts and the fact that you continue to return here, even though my posting schedule is oftentimes sporadic.  This blog houses my passions, both personal and professional, and being a bit of a creative soul, passion oftentimes comes in spurts.  I plan to continue to improve the content here as I learn and grow and I hope that it helps and entertains you.

Pictured above are the bottles I’m bringing along for this Thanksgiving weekend.  The 2008 Red Tail Ridge Barrel Fermented, Estate Grown Chardonnay is a gift for my sister to congratulate her on a big promotion she just got.  Anthony Road Tony’s White is for those who enjoy a bit of sweetness in their whites and the 2008 Bloomer Creek Reserve White Riesling blend will accompany Thanksgiving dinner.  When I select wines to share, I tend to think about the style preferences of those I’ll be popping the cork with, not just what I prefer.  I enjoy mixing it up, bringing some of my favorites and new discoveries. What are you bringing to share over the holiday?  (Disclosure: I purchased all of the bottles shown)

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!!

Melissa

 

 

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