Posts Tagged ‘The New York Cork Report’

TasteCamp East: Voracious Wine Bloggers Taste Throughout the Finger Lakes

Ravines Wine Cellars Morten Hallgren sharing '07 Ravines Argetsinger Vineyard Riesling and wife Lisa's skillet breakfast pizzas

This past weekend, I was among a group of wine bloggers who participated in the 2nd TasteCamp East, this year in the Finger Lakes.  The local wine industry is the inspiration for this blog and my business as I’ve mentioned to you before.  I had nothing to do with the selection of our region as the host of this year’s TasteCamp East, but of course I was pretty ecstatic that it was chosen from several other regions by TCE organizers at The New York Cork Report.

Tom Higgins of Heart & Hands Wine Company

I consider many of you my friends and part of a significant, vibrant and beautiful industry in New York State.  I have also developed friendships with several wine bloggers since attending the Wine Bloggers Conferences and meeting many of them via Open Wine Consortium, Twitter and Facebook. This year’s TasteCamp East brought these two worlds together and I enjoyed hearing the unvarnished feedback and impressions of the region and its wines from the perspective of wine bloggers, craving info on the world of wine and winemaking intricacies and eager to educate their audiences about their discoveries.

Fox Run Vineyards winemaker Peter Bell

Posts and photos started appearing pre-TasteCamp and several bloggers posted live updates and pics via their mobile phones, bringing followers along with us as we navigated through the region, lake by lake, meeting with and tasting an array of wines and food selected for us.  I noticed excitement from some of the winery owners and staff pouring for attendees because of the keen interest and knowledge level of the wine bloggers.  It’s not every day that over 30 wine enthusiasts travel to the region from several states and Canada with pen, wine journals and lots of questions!

Anything Wine's John Witherspoon

Most of the wineries greeted our group with enthusiasm, but the ones who stood out most, from what I’m hearing so far, are the ones who brought their stories front and center, educated this wine savvy audience on their winemaking philosophy but also remembered to share a bit of their personal selves and beliefs, including their struggles and challenges.

Sam Argetsinger of Argetsinger Vineyard

If you missed out on following along, check the New York Cork Report posts tagged “tastecamp” which will be updated with a list of the bloggers posts and check out FLXTwits and the #tastecamp hashtag’s results on Twitter Search.

Thank you to Lenn Thompson and Evan Dawson at the New York Cork Report for organizing TCE and all of the sponsors and wineries for hosting us.  This was my husband Rich’s first wine blogger weekend as my date and we enjoyed seeing the region from a new perspective.

Wineries: the agenda that Lenn and Evan created for us is a good guide for the types of personalized, intimate experiences that your more advanced wine customers would enjoy.  Vertical tastings, wine and food pairing and a BYOB in a casual gathering place (ie on a boat ) went over well this weekend.  Bloggers, any other types of events that you’d like to see more of?

Social Media Quick Tip: Post Quality Content on Twitter

photo courtesy of Heron Hill Winery

photo courtesy of Heron Hill Winery

If you’re a winery public relations and marketing person or owner who wears this hat, your head may be swirling with questions about how social interactions on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are changing the way we “pitch” bloggers and writers and land coverage.  I know that it’s at the top of my list of things to pay attention to and I’ll continue to share what I discover with you here.

This social media quick tip demonstrates a very simple example of how a local winery’s public relations person posted content onto Twitter and had it picked up by a local wine blogger, landing a photo featured in his blog post within an hour of their exchange on Twitter.

The winery PR person is Kitty Oliver at Heron Hill Winery, who has consistently been one of the region’s most forward-thinking public relations and marketing representatives.  The blogger who picked up the photo and got permission to use it via Twitter is Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor at the New York Cork Report. (Disclosure: I have contributed posts to The New York Cork Report for the Finger Lakes)

The exchange occurred last Friday morning with Kitty posting photos of the snowfall at Heron Hill Winery to Twitter.  Evan spotted the photos, liked one and found it relevant to his post about the effect that unseasonably low temperatures followed by predicted Indian Summer conditions will have on the vines and grape development here in the Finger Lakes. Within a few minutes and via Twitter post, Evan secured permission from Kitty to use the photo for his post.

Kitty shares tips from her experience with using Twitter to engage with wine writers, bloggers and enthusiasts for Heron Hill:

“Twitter has been a great tool for Heron Hill Winery as far as getting information out quickly. We’re connecting directly, if a media person or consumer  needs more information we go from there. Posting pictures has been helpful too, I can show people what I’m talking about, especially when it comes to harvest. People want to SEE the grapes, SEE the crush pad and SEE the people behind the wine. You have to be yourself on Twitter because people can sense sincerity and relate to it. It requires a personal touch and you have to be ready to engage, learn and share what’s really going on. Your relationships will be better for it. It takes time to learn the Twitter ropes, but once you get it, it’s a lot of fun and a great tool.”

Evan’s advice for those venturing into social media:

“Social media starts with being social. Profound, I know. Seriously, though – you’re not going to develop a strong and loyal readership through social media unless you show people you care about them. You read their stuff. You react to their posts. You answer their questions. You show some personality. Over time, we’ve been able to develop a strong following that responds when we have questions or need help. In this case, we didn’t have to ask Heron Hill for photos — they were savvy enough to post them. But had we simply tweeted about a need for harvest photos, I have no doubt we’d have a virtual pile of them within minutes. And that only makes our blog better.”

There’s still some work to be done in my observation.  Some Twitter peeps are showing up just when they need something and to promote their own interests and then disappear without really interacting or helping anyone else.  Although that may provide a bit of benefit, showing up consistently and following Kitty and Evan’s tips lead to much more robust engagement and benefits for you and your brand.