Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Social Media Quick Tip: Introduce Your Twitter Team

Cork'd Twitter Team Page Showcases Each Member as "Who's Talking?"

As you know, social media engagement is all about personal touches.  Remember this when thinking through your social media presence, including Twitter.  As much as possible, introduce and humanize your Twitter team.  Here are a couple of great examples of  brands who have added special touches to their Twitter strategies, going beyond a standard Twitter presence to introduce and promote their Twitter teams.

The Capital Grille

A simple, dedicated Twitter page for The Capital Grille’s Master Sommelier, George Miliotes invites web visitors to engage with George on Twitter.  The Capital Grille’s main navigation bar also includes a button linking to George’s twitter profile.

Cork’d

The team at Cork’d, an unpretentious wine consumer review site, designed a Twitter background that shows “Who’s Talking” from their company’s Twitter profile @Corkd (see above).  Each Cork’d team member signs their initials at the end of their tweets to let followers know which of the four of them tweeted.  I liked this so much that I recommended it to my clients at Vin65 and we implemented it onto our new @vin65team Twitter page.

It excites me to see brands embracing the opportunity to engage with their customers and clients on Twitter by adding these types of personal touches to their marketing strategies.  Have you seen any others that you like or have you implemented some into your branding?

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

 

 

Winery Marketing: “Trust Agents” Outlines How to Win Hearts and Minds

Chris Brogan and I_Nov2009

Chris Brogan & I at SM2Day Conference

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a huge fan of Chris Brogan and the book he co-authored with Julien Smith entitled “Trust Agents.”  (And Chris’ blognewsletter…) Okay, I know I’m gushing.

This isn’t meant to be a blatant push for Chris and Julien or their book.  But one of the things I believe you come here for is my opinion on discoveries that can help you to grow your business and keep you on track to continue to engage with and build a community of enthusiasts for your winery brand.  I understand that your days are busy so I love to bring you resources to help you to do that.  Being a solopreneur affords me the flexibility to watch out for things for you that I strongly believe can help you to tell your winery’s unique story to those who want to hear about it the most and will in turn tell their friends about you.  “Trust Agents” outlines best practices for using the web to build influence and teaches you how to earn trust and build relationships that can benefit you and your community.

If you’ve been reading my posts on social media, have attended workshops or webinars but still feeling like you’re not sure what to do next or if you can improve results on what you’re already doing out there on the web, Chris, Julien and “Trust Agents” offers guidance and actionable steps.  And there’s a really cool story about J Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma and how one of their staff members won the trust of tech blogger Robert Scoble and got him to buy a case of wine from the winery after winning him over.  Plus, there’s a bit on Gary Vaynerchuk and how he makes us want to buy his products.

The book was also recently listed as one of the recommended books for those interested in digital marketing for the wine industry by Paul Mabray, founder and Chief Strategy Officer at VinTank in a post on John Corcoran’s Think Wine Marketing blog.  If you’d rather listen to an audiobook version, there’s one available via Amazon.

Have you already read “Trust Agents?”  What are the takeaways that resonated most that can be applied to a winery’s business plan?

Seneca Lake Wine Touring on a Beautiful Fall Day

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Cynthia, Janelle and I at Red Tail Ridge Winery

It’s not often that I have the opportunity to have a “girls weekend” like I used to before I met Rich, and I definitely miss my girl time.  (Don’t worry, Rich is well aware of this and was brave enough to offer not only to host my friends for the weekend, but also to drive us for our wine tour on Saturday  :) )

It really is a blast to get together and explore the beauty of the region along with the wines and especially to see who likes and dislikes each of the wines we taste together.  The only things I knew about my friends Cynthia and Janelle’s wine personalities was that they both dig Sokol Blosser’s Evolution, an Oregon State produced, stainless-steel fermented  blend of nine grape varieties: Muller-Thurgau, White Riesling, Semillon, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Canelli, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner and that they’re both partial to drinking California reds ranging from Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon.

We ventured out on what was supposed to be a rainy, windy Saturday afternoon but turned out to be sunny and warm, starting at Red Tail Ridge Winery.  The first thing we noticed was the privacy and beauty of the winery setting.  It’s set back from the road and the tasting room is small and intimate.  This was my first visit to Red Tail Ridge and also my first taste of their wines.  Our group was partial to the whites over the ’07 Estate Grown Pinot Noir and I explained to my friends that the style of Pinot Noir here is much different than from other regions and that with their palates being accustomed to West Coast Pinot Noirs, a Finger Lakes Pinot Noir would be of a unique style that they may or may not enjoy.

Our overall favorite wines were the ’08 Estate Grown Semi-Dry Riesling (1.8% RS) and the ’08 Semi-Sweet Riesling (4% RS) and I mentioned in jest that I’m one of those wine drinkers who professes to prefer dry wines, but in fact I like a bit of sweetness as long as there’s nice structure, balance and acidity which both of these Rieslings have.

Our day included stops at Anthony Road Wine Company from which we posted pictures to our Facebook pages. Anthony Road Wine Company is among our favorite wineries and we enjoy their reds and whites across the board and always highly recommend them to newbies seeking Finger Lakes winery recommendations.   We agreed that the value discoveries to please a crowd were Tony’s White made of the Cayuga White grape ($8.99)  and the new 1.5 liter offering called PN II Red Table Wine (around $15), from pinot noir grapes that are the second selection of the sorting process.  I told the girls that although I’m enmeshed in the wine industry and love and appreciate special bottles like anyone else, I’m truly an everyday wine drinker in that I’m driven to find wines to enjoy of a high QPR and save my special bottles for sharing at get-togethers or to celebrate with.

We also visited Glenora Wine Cellars, where we discovered that Cynthia much prefers sweeter reds and doesn’t like sparkling bruts.  This is where Janelle and I disagreed with her and both chose ’07 Pinot Noir Rose’ and newly-released ’08 Merlot.  We had an incredible view of Seneca Lake from the back tasting bar and we had a blast watching Cynthia grab up every pair of Santa Pants wine holders they had out on the floor.

cigars, wineries, seneca lake, wine 014

Our last stop was to Fulkerson Winery.  We’ve consistently been treated very well each time we’ve tasted at Fulkerson and Vincent is one of our favorite red hybrids in the region.  The tasting room is spacious and beautiful with bright sunlight streaming in the large windows.  We had the opportunity to say hello to John Iszard, Wine Sales and Marketing Director at the winery and, of course, the topic of interest among my group of Buffalonians and John was football.  We “admitted” to our love for the Buffalo Bills and I wished him luck in cheering for his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.  It’s just this type of banter and low-key conversation that I have come to cherish among the members of the Finger Lakes wine community.  During our day, we spoke to a group of out-of-town tourists who are regular visitors to the region.  They reiterated the importance of wineries selling not only their wines but the experience of each winery and their backstory.  More on that in a post to come.

Winery Visits: Rooster Hill Vineyards, Keuka Spring Vineyards

On a recent fall weekend, Rich and I spent a couple of nights in modest digs on Keuka Lake with great friends of ours.  The house is on the Northwest side of the lake and featured access to a large deck poised above a bluff overlooking the lake.  The weather was quite chilly and windy but we bundled up and made the most of our short time there.

Our friends hadn’t been to the wineries here in the Finger Lakes before and we were eager to have them experience wine tastings in a relaxed and un-rushed manner.  After a big breakfast, we headed out to our first stop and a favorite winery of ours, Rooster Hill Vineyards.

RoosterHillTasting_Sept09

Amy and Dave Hoffman and the staff at Rooster Hill consistently provide a quality wine tasting experience.  I hadn’t alluded to my fondness for Rooster Hill wines across the board to our friends, I was interested in their opinion of the experience and the wines.  Amy guided us to Marsha, one of her weekend tasting room staff who has recently studied via WSET and engaged us in a thorough tasting from whites to reds and concluding with port.  Our friends complimented Marsha on her easy, educational approach to leading the tasting and were inspired to learn more about wine because of the relaxed manner in which she talked to us about the wines.

Marsha had us taste both the 2007 Rooster Hill Gewurztraminer and 2008 Rooster Hill Estate Gewurztraminer and there was a noticeable difference.  The ’08 is bolder with a fuller mouthfeel and longer, honeyed finish.  Among the reds, the ’07 Rooster Hill Estate Cabernet Franc shone in our opinion.  My husband prefers reds and is oftentimes lukewarm about reds beyond his go-to bottle of Chianti or Sangiovese, but he was quick to remark that this wine impressed him.

We had hopes of enjoying a bottle together near the fireplace back at the house after the guys indulged in a couple of Rocky Patel cigars after dinner, so we selected the Rooster Hill Vineyards NV Port to accompany the fire and cigars after consulting with Amy,  also a cigar lover,  about our plan.  She told the guys to dip the end of the cigar in the port and then smoke it.  We were sold.  After all of that planning though, the girls didn’t make it late enough after the fire put us to sleep quickly, so we’ll be bringing the Port to our next get-together.

We then ventured out to Keuka Spring Vineyards, just down the road from Rooster Hill.  This was a first time visit for us and we were lured by a long-time curiousity about Keuka Spring Vineyards’ wines and large terrace with view of the lake.  I had a feeling that we would stop our day here in order to enjoy the terrace with a bottle of wine and some snacks we had packed.  We enjoyed our tasting with Bill and found that my friends favored the ’08 Keuka Spring Vineyards Gewurztraminer while Rich and I went toward the ’08 Keuka Spring Vineyards Riesling.  We purchased a few bottles including a chilled bottle of the ’08 Gewurz to drink on the deck, broke out our snacks and grabbed Karma from the car to settle in for a bit.

Judy, Jeanne and Mark Wiltberger took time out to stop by our table to talk and pet Karma.  Rich and our friend Mike participated in the intimate Red Wine and Chocolate tasting and came back from it quite happy and full.  I think Rich was skeptical to pairing red wine with desserts being a die-hard milk and chocolate type of guy, but he remarked that this experience opened his eyes up to the ability of red wine to pair with the nuances of chocolate and other desserts.  The desserts for the event were created by Butterwood Desserts out of West Falls, NY which is coincidentally very close to my father-in-law’s neighborhood outside of Buffalo.

It’s funny, we’ve been buckling down, growing my business and saving for a house, so we haven’t been out to the wineries as much as I would like lately.  I’m grateful for the time we do get out and it’s a reminder of what motivates me to write this blog: the welcoming nature of the people here in the Finger Lakes wine industry, new experiences centered around wine and the ability to share those things with people you love.

group_KeukaLake_Sept09

Social Media Quick Tip: Follow 1000+ Wine Industry Tweeps with a Few Clicks

wht_joel-300x300

One of the benefits of the social media revolution is the ability to connect with the many smart, good-hearted people in the wine industry who are visionary and push forward to create better communities that are of value to us as participants.

Last week, Joel Vincent founder of the Open Wine Consortium, a social media platform for wine industry members, VinTank and Joel’s Tech Adventures blog created a list of over 1000 members of the OWC who are also on Twitter via an application called TweetML.  There are 11 groups of around 100 members listed and by clicking each of the links after entering your Twitter account login info, you can easily begin following other wine loving members of the Open Wine Consortium instead of having to manually search them out.

By doing so, your Twitter community becomes vastly larger to meet and mingle and I noticed a lot of chatter on Twitter about the quick increase in wine followers that came after Joel posted the links.  Sure there will be more tweets to scan through but we’ll get used to that and that’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to connect and stay connected with new friends who love to hear us talk about wine, life and our passion for the industry.

Social Media Quick Tip: Add Social Media Info to Signage

july 2009, wbc, personal 055

I bet a bunch of you are already all over this one.  I spotted this signage from Faust Winery in Napa Valley during the Grand Tasting of Napa Wines at Quintessa during the recent Wine Bloggers Conference.

This is a simple, low-cost branding strategy to promote your social media efforts.  Once you get your customers there, you know what happens eventually: they’ll start talking to you and hopefully providing valuable information on their likes and dislikes, preferences and experiences with your wine brand.

Although this sign was on a table at a tasting, you can also create signage that is representative of your brand’s look and feel and post them in your tasting room, create postcards, add your social media info to your business cards, print out pages and include in the bottom of customer shopping bags, include in your shipment boxes.

If you’re a winery who is already promoting your pages this way, I would love to have you upload your photos to the fan photos section of my Facebook fan page.  That way we can see each other’s signage and use the photos for info on how to fan each other’s pages.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a smiling staff member to promote the info either.

july 2009, wbc, personal 054

2009 Wine Bloggers Conference: Fewer Words, More People Pictures

Live Blogging Fast & Furious

Live Blogging Fast & Furious

There’s been so much buzz about the Wine Bloggers Conference in Napa and Sonoma, CA this year.  With close to 300 attendees (and 75 waitlisted) the WBC has been a dominant topic of conversation for months now among many in the wine community.  There have been several posts already as I’m late to the game.  But I had to show you the Wine Bloggers Conference in pictures.  Recognize anyone?

Jeff Stai aka El Jefe-one of the best social brand builders in our industry

Jeff Stai aka @eljefetwisted-One of the Best Social Brand Builders in Our Industry

Here we are at the Russian River Valley Winegrowers After Party

Here we are at the Russian River Valley Winegrowers After Party

Jeff Lefevere Diving In Before Live Blogging

Jeff Lefevere Pouring for Dinner

Murphy-Goode's Hardy Wallace Bringin' On the Fun

Murphy-Goode's Hardy Wallace Bringin' On the Fun

Bottleshock's Marc Lhormer-Double Fisted

Bottleshock's Marc Lhormer-Double Fisted

For truly exceptional blogger photos, see Bricks of Wine’s Eric Hwang’s photostream.

Winery Resource Alert: The State of Wine Industry Social Media

logoVinTank

More than likely, if you’re reading this post, you have an interest in gaining a detailed understanding of social media platforms and those that are most relevant to the health and happiness of your winery’s business. A group of the industry’s top thought leaders at VinTank, Derek Bromley and Tom Wark have compiled the first whitepaper specifically for the wine industry entitled, “The State of Wine Industry Social Media.”

The paper contains some tech-speak that may look a bit scary at first, but hang in there and read through to the end. These guys are in-the-know, have strong relationships in the wine industry with bloggers, traditional media and developers and seek to help you, the winery principal, to navigate and gain an understanding of the social media landscape. Facebook, Twitter, Wine Blogs, Wine Social Networks, Gary V and Wine Library TV are detailed specifically pertaining to their relevance to wineries and wine retailers.

Paul Mabray and team are eager to receive questions or input on the report and can be reached at: ADDRESS: 1250 Main Street Suite #270 Napa, CA 94559 • PHONE: 800.605.8265 • WEB: vintank.com • EMAIL: info@vintank.com
TWITTER: twitter.com/vintank • FACEBOOK: http://bit.ly/14R1mf

Or comment on the Tasting Room blog at pressdemocrat.com http://tastingroom.pressdemocrat.com/default.asp?item=2375378

A special thank you to the VinTank team for mentions of myself, my client Andrew Kamphuis at Vin65 and senior strategist and wine blogger friend, Michael Wangbickler, on their thank you page.

UPDATE (5/12/09)

If you would like to listen to Paul Mabray discuss some of the key findings of the report, check this out http://www.newwineconsumer.com/2009/05/vintank/

TasteCamp East-Which Winery Had Bloggers Lined Up to Buy?

Christopher Tracy and Allison Dubin lead our final tasting during TasteCamp East

Christopher Tracy and Allison Dubin lead our final tasting during TasteCamp East

There are a few key takeaways that left an impression on me after TasteCamp East on Long Island this past weekend. One of them is that I couldn’t help but notice that of all of the stops we made, there was one winery that managed to easily pry open the wallets of several participating bloggers (including me). The winery I refer to is Channing Daughters.

I discussed this briefly with some of the other bloggers and the difference is two-fold:  the wines are approachable in price, and the enthusiasm of partner/winemaker Christopher Tracy is contagious and makes you want to buy wine from him…lots of wine from him.

I didn’t expect to purchase much wine on this trip because I had flown in and stayed a few extra nights in Manhattan which meant lugging a large suitcase all over the city via hired car, Long Island Railroad, and taxi (you get the picture) but even that didn’t stop me after our visit with Christopher, partner/general manager Allison Dubin and their winery dog Remy.  I think that this is worth noting for those wineries who are looking to stand out.  Quality/Price ratio and a charming, funny, HUMAN winemaker who can enthusiastically lead a tasting in a comfortable and engaging setting.  That’s what sold me.  I’ll seek out the wines of Channing Daughters and they will move to my list of favorite wineries to purchase from and pay attention to.

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