Can social media save the day for wineries?

125298482_d311563fcc_mToday’s Wall Street Journal has a piece on the luxury wine market that’s either sobering or heartwarming. If you’re in a producer, it’s probably sobering to read more about the sluggish sales, depressed prices for wines, the prospect of lost pricing power in the future, and possibility of increased merger and acquisition activity. But if you’re a consumer who is into high-end wines, it’s heartwarming to have the possibility to scoop up bargains, as one wine consumer does in the story.

The article suggests that “some of the newer operations [wineries] are using new marketing techniques to cope.” A case study:

Alpha Omega, a boutique winery in Rutherford, Calif., has begun using online services Facebook and Twitter to reach out to its customers. The winery three years ago began targeting consumers directly, and the strategy is now paying off; revenue is up 40% so far this year, compared with a year ago, in part because it doesn’t have to share many revenues with a distributor, says co-owner Robin Baggett.

Call me a skeptic, but I fail to see how the winery’s 296 friends on Facebook, 407 followers on Twitter and no blog can really help them move their wines (even if one of their tweets had a Palin-esque all caps consisting simply of “I love WINE.”) Their range of wines, crafted by winemakers Jean Hoefliger and Michel Rolland, starts with a $28 rosé and moves up to a $480 three-pack of reds in a wooden case. The WSJ article states that wines north of $25 are experiencing “a sharp falloff” so there must be some other secret sauce at Alpha Omega.

If it’s selling directly to consumers and bypassing distributors, then great. But I would imagine in this case that the 20% discount to club members speaks more loudly than their tweets.

Can social media really save the day for wineries? A story making the rounds these days is that the internet devalues everything it touches. But if both luxury and non-luxury wineries can somehow make social media work to increase their profitability while lowering prices to consumers, then that would be a heartwarming tale for all.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

50 Responses to “Can social media save the day for wineries?”

  1. Dear Dr. V.
    Methinks you’re discounting the viral aspect of Facebook and Twitter here. Assume AlfOmg posts a cool sale item on Facebook, which goes to their 300 Fans’ walls. If ten percent of their Fans punch the “like” button on the post, then 30 newsfeeds now post up the item; if they comment, the same happens. If these 30 Fans have 100 friends each, there’s 3000 more people seeing the original post. Same with RTs in Twitter. The Fans’ friends might just click on the link to go to the sale, without becoming a Fan or Follower of AlfOmg. A simplification, but it probably happens. The challenge is tracking the processes to show the value from SocMed activities.

  2. You need both.

    Without social networking, you won’t effectively reach the changing dynamic of the younger wine consumer.

    Without discounts or lowering prices, you won’t sell much luxury wine in the current market.

  3. Its not that social media will sell wine..but it will help a winery keep in touch with their clients / customers. People like to do business with friendly merchants. If used properly Facebook can keep a winery connected with their “friends” (please read as clients). The changing nature of our society is headed towards a new culture. Walk the street in almost any American city and you will see people texting friends, talking on their cell phones and in general connecting with their “friends”.

    The newer generation of cell phones allow for a Facebook and Twitter app on them and the latest cell phones will be bringing vastly different apps that will further this shift in culture.

    Yes…social media will help wineries if they understand the changes and don’t try to use them as simply new billboard or traditional advertising media.

  4. The cost of running a Facebook or Twitter operation is pretty low in terms of time and money, particularly compared to traditional advertising or direct mail. Freely posting updates on Facebook is practically free product placement. It can certainly help with brand loyalty over time, as you perhaps to associate Winery X with your real friends and family.

    For wineries that are trying to become a more integrated part of the surrounding community, you’ll see lots of notes about musical events, art showings, and special tastings with just a couple days’ notice. Ridge Vineyards, for instance, occasionally posts something like, “We just opened a magnum of 1977 Lytton Springs at our tasting room. Drop in today and mention Facebook for a sample while it lasts!”

  5. i agree with all of the previous comments. while hard to quantify the EXACT value that is driven by engaging in social media platforms as part of one’s marketing efforts, it’s hard to truly ignore or completely discount the effect it has on driving actual sales and/or buzz. i cannot speak to my experience with specific wineries, but with regards to retailers in my city – i follow a good number of them on Twitter and I am ‘friends’ with them on Facebook. Through these platforms/communities, I am able to keep up to date on latest store events (e.g., tastings) get a glimpse into the personalities of the managers/owners of the retailer and i feel more compelled to spend my money at the storefront as opposed to going to a big box store. i can’t imagine this being too far out of the reach of wineries to have the same connection with its customers (to Mark Norman’s point above). great food for thought though.

  6. JDinNapa, I am not sure the hope/dream of getting retweeted, “liked,” upvoted, or otherwise disseminated through social media always bears out quite the way you say. You have to have something truly compelling to say to get that sort of response.

    Let’s look at the winery featured in the WSJ article. How many times have they been retweeted?:

    ZERO. Not even once. They’ve got one reference, in which someone recommended their tweets on a #followfriday. That’s not exactly huge reach. (Maybe they’re huge on FB. I haven’t looked. But that seems unlikely.)

    And don’t forget that something like 90% of Twitter users give up within a month of signing up. So the 400+ followers on an account might really only be 40, for all we know.

    That doesn’t mean that social media can’t work. Quite the contrary, it could be a great way to reach out to new consumers, but they have to offer something interesting and different. I admit I’m still figuring out how to use these tools effectively myself, both as a publisher and a reader.

    But if we’re talking about commercial benefits of social media, and if wineries (or any other commercial enterprise) really want to credit social media for growth in sales, then they need to show proof. Just saying you’re on Twitter isn’t enough. Are they using special landing pages for Twitter/Facebook-only deals? You can track this stuff. I hope they actually are, and aren’t just claiming that social media is the second coming.

  7. In looking over recent tweets for @AOwinery, it doesn’t look to me like they “get” Twitter much at all. Just blurting out thoughts isn’t what will help their branding. They need to supply interesting content, which is why this is called “content marketing”, and engage their customers and potential customers in conversations. If they do this right it can help them a lot.

  8. Just being on Facebook or Twitter does not make a winery effective at using social media. There’s an art to engaging customers in these spaces.
    Luckily, wine is an inherently social thing, so it’s well-suited for social media.

    Wineries are discovering what many other companies are discovering, and that’s the subtlety of INbound marketing vs. OUTbound marketing.

  9. I concur with the other comments – social media can be effective for wineries. I recently published data regarding winery pages on facebook (, and the most important factor expressed is the “connection” and better alignment with their customers. I will follow up shortly with the results of a survey on the same subject.

    What social media is not is a panacea for poor marketing, product inadequacies, financial shortfalls, or simply bad company management. Social media is all about connecting and establishing a dialogue with current and/or prospective customers. If there is poor content or a weak or simply no message, then there won’t be any dialogue.

  10. Even reading the title of this blog makes me a bit skeptical. Social Media is just one piece of the overall wine selling machine. It is a tool to get your message across. But just having followers or friends doesn’t mean that your original message will be heard. Social Media is all about having good content to begin with, then (like Rick said), it is an art form to get that message across.

    My problem with the winery in the WSJ piece or many of the “social media” wineries in our local Sonoma County PD is that these examples just lead to copycat brands who just post link after link or go after many followers without having an actual connection. These copycats then don’t see results and say social media marketing doesn’t work.

  11. Sure, social networking can be great for a winery IF it is done right. Look at Heron Hill in NY. They have a twitter and facebook and a blog. They talk about different aspects of wine making, up coming events, and profiles of employees. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your fan base and a reminder that they are there and making good wine for us.

  12. Social Media is another channel, another outlet, another medium. It is not the “be all, end all” and a singular marketing focus on any avenue would be dangerous for a business (winery or not). That being said, if used appropriately Social Media can be POWERFUL communication tools. Wineries need to be a part of the _conversation_ though, and to converse they must become part of the online community (as Rick & Richard state above). Providing useful, helpful and relevant information (that’s part of the winery message anyway) is another way to expose the winery and wine brands to consumers (and on the PR side journalists and online media that could become aware of the winery). Why would a winery choose to shy away from that?

  13. I especially like what Mark Norman wrote above

    “social media will help wineries if they understand the changes and don’t try to use them as simply new billboard or traditional advertising media.”

    The use of these tools are to connect with your consumers on a personal, level which will ultimately increase their loyalty to your brands as well as increase the lifetime value of that consumer.

    The key is to listen, monitor and ENGAGE with these consumers.

  14. Purely anecdotal story here:

    A month ago, we had a huge windstorm here in Memphis, something that lasted only a few minutes but left 100,000 without power and did lots of property damage. Over the days that followed, Facebook became a great way to keep track of how people were doing around town.

    Shortly after the storm, when it became obvious that this was another “Hurricane Elvis”, I posted a quick recap of damage in my neighborhood with wishes that everyone else was OK, hoping to hear from acquaintances around town.

    Minutes later, the first response was from an Italian winemaker who was worried about me, thinking that we were looking at Hurricane Katrina-level destruction.

    It’s a minor footnote in the grand scheme of things, and has nothing to say about the objective quality of the wine or increased sales figures, but whenever I have one of those wines in the future I’ll remember that moment of kindness that would not have been possible without this newfangled world of social networking.

  15. Dear Dr. Vino,

    I think you are right on the spot like most of you.
    Facebook and Twitter are part of a global strategy to make sure that we are in close contact to our clients and that we are aware of their needs and taste.
    For me, it is really important to be as close as possible to the consumer and relationship marketing is really important thru twitter, facebook, wine club and the tasting room.

    Alpha Omega

  16. It’s possible the Journal article was simply poorly edited, making it appear that the winery’s good results arose from directly from social media marketing tactics. More compelling is Alpha Omega’s affirmation above that the strategy is about taking a direct-to-consumer approach in which social media tools are part of the mix. Social media is actually a lousy direct marketing medium, and is much better at raising awareness and building affinity than actually bringing in the sale. This is why it’s maddeningly hard to quantify its results.

  17. I think it important to not discount social media, just as it was silly to discount blogs 10 years ago. Particularly in the current economic environment, it’s important to have a way to reach your market in a cost-effective way, and FB/Twitter cost nothing. It still benefits to focus on more traditional media, however if just one tweet sells just one case of something you’ve released, then why not?

    As a wine-buyer for a Wine Bar, and as a blogger, I personally love getting FB updates, etc, of day-to-day winery goings-on, I feel it enhances my connection to wineries which certainly makes it worthwhile on there part to be doing it.

  18. Good thing that I used the caveat “Could happen” in my earlier comment. Mark and others are right about Ao’s lack of RTs and other Twitter “successes”. I checked out their Facebook page and found no compelling context. In fact, their page is a User Profile, rather than a business-oriented page (e.g., Fan Page), meaning that even if they HAD content, all types of viral opportunities would be missed. Hmmm…looks like a case study for an upcoming blog. While SocMed certainly has the potential to build a community for Ao, it has to be used appropriately.

  19. It’s an interesting discussion regarding the use of social media. It’s hard to quantify how effective FB and Twitter are simply because no company is going to be willing or able to discontinue all of their other advertising to allow us to do a proper study of the impact.

    Having spent some time being responsible for social media for a real estate company it’s amazing how little info is out there regarding wine in comparison.

    Very few, if any wineries are using social media correctly as they are tending to simply post updates instead of interacting with customers.

  20. I keep seeing references in this thread to social media campaigns costing nothing and that isn’t true at all. While there may be little or no media costs, there is certainly a very significant time (labor) cost associated with managing it. If SM is to be approached seriously with a set of goals, then it will not be properly handled in just a few minutes a day. If that is your expectation you will have disappointing results.

  21. Dr. V. –
    Thanks for the cool and timely post. Certainly generated a lot of comments and perspectives. It’s always interesting to see what others think about the SocMed/Winery angle. I think we all agree that there’s potential, but it takes time and a good strategy, and traditional marketing avenues should not be abandoned. We’ll be hearing a lot more on this topic.

  22. […] …Can social media save the day for wineries? […]

  23. I’m glad that so many of you don’t think of social media as the latest and greatest form of marketing or, worse, sales. Here’s a funny take from tech writer John Dvorak on the subject:

    (Btw, he cites a 6% click through rate on his tweets, which even strikes me as high.)

    Jean, thanks for stopping by. Maybe you could elaborate on the Alpha Omega efforts in “relationship marketing” and convince several of us here that the AO social media approach is not as flat-footed as it seems? And what, in your view, has driven revenues sharply higher at AO, in stark contrast with other luxury wine makers in the story?

  24. Excellent link, Dr. Vino, thanks–John Dvorak hits the nail on the head when it comes to all of a company’s activity on the Internet–how is this helping you make more sales? This can be through a stronger brand, btw, so it doesn’t have to be entirely direct effects, but if all you’re doing is spending time and money to spin your wheels then you aren’t helping yourself–you may even be hurting if you are in some way giving your product away or deeply discounting it (think newspapers).

  25. Can you move products with SM? Dell did.

  26. Thanks for everyone’s comments. Obviously a great subject for discussion! Just wanted to add that with all marketing efforts, any expenditure (in $$ or in time) requires ROI. The ROI can be measured in Return on Investment (increase in sales, uptake on an offer, joining of mailing list) or Return on Influence (increase in fan base on Facebook, followers on Twitter, connections on Linkedin), whereby both are measurable, and both should be measured. Return on Investment usually focuses on current sales, whereby Return on Influence often helps to gauge potential future sales. If there is no increase in ROI at all, then the activity needs to be adjusted or dropped entirely. Marketing at its finest is a game of setting goals and strategy, measuring and adjusting. I think the measuring and adjusting is particularly applicable in social media.

  27. Lane – I could see that working better with a wine retailer than a winery, such as “closeout of the day.” But even then, they could do the same thing with an email blast or a site with an RSS feed.

    Thanks, Phil!

    Btw, it occurred to me: which winery has the most followers on Twitter? Or on Facebook? Leave your replies here or hit me @drvino.

  28. On Facebook it is Duplin Winery of North Carolina .. as of 6/23 it was 3613 fans …

  29. Great comments by all here. And props to Lisa Walter and Evan Cover for citing two key components of social media, engagement and conversation. Social media allows businesses the ability to interact with customers on a one to one level on a scale never before imagined. This allows tailored messaging to those who matter most—those with conscious care (positive or negative) for your product or service. What could be better than that?

    And no, social media alone will not precipitate massive growth, but it’s a powerful tool in the arsenal as part of the overall marketing mix.


    Philip Woodrow
    Director of Marketing Communications
    Hahn Family Wines

  30. Duplin seems to be doing a pretty good job engaging their customers, especially on FB. Their Twitter experience seems rather new, but it looks like they are trying.

    Content! Give the consumer information they will find valuable and/or entertaining.

    Engage them! Have conversations with your customers and potential customers.

    This takes LOTS of hard work.

    The 3 tier system does make direct sales and special promotions via SM more difficult than for Dell but not impossible.

  31. I disagree with your analysis of the effectiveness of Social Media’s impact on Alpha Omega’s ability to generate more revenue. As others have pointed out, Social Media doesn’t exist in a vacuum, like all marketing processes it has much more impact if integrated holistically with other marketing processes. I looked at their “Tweets” and they are not conveying much value, sense of urgency or have a lot of creativity in them. One of the challenges using Twitter is building consistent “messaging” that has value in it, coupled with an occasional “Tweet” that adds some personality to the brand conveyed on Twitter. And, consumers don’t always want to hear just about your brand/company – you can add value by informing them of related events in the area that they might be interested in, encouraging them to visit and perhaps swing by your vineyards during the trip. Part of the process is building community around your brand and buzz. I would also point out the search engine optimization value that is starting to emerge in Twitter usage; i.e. it’s important to use keywords on the front of Twitter posts, as Google, MSN and Twitter are starting to pick up the Tweets/posts and index them for search. Meaning, anyone who builds up a strong clickstream of Tweets is going to start generating keyword rankings moving forward, which is a great way to generate high quality traffic. Finally, using Twitter as a micro blog is a wonderful thing; meaning, your “Tweets” can be pushed out to lots of other sites – accelerating “word of mouth” and leveraging economies of scale for costs. As others have pointed out, this generates incremental traffic, much broader brand awareness and SEO results. The challenge for many vineyards and others is that the technology and processes deployed via Social Media like Twitter is already outstripping the capabilities of businesses that want to leverage it – some thought and process have to be invested in Social Media to make it successful and it isn’t always easy to show marketing ROI. Speaking of the latter, anyone using Social Media should have Google Analytics set up for their site, enabling them to get some snapshot of referred traffic and using’s free traffic counting to see how much traffic a Tweet is generating. This will help to substantiate the efforts and costs invested in Twitter and other Social Media Platforms.

  32. […] revenue is down to cutting out middlemen costs and how much is down to improved sales. Blogger Dr Vino is a sceptic, […]

  33. Coming into this a few days late but I strongly agree with Joe Roberts (1 Wine Dude), Mark Norman’s, Lee Trauple’s thoughtful comments.

    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 about a $100K permit demand for a preacher to have a weekly bible study at his home?)

    We are a Boutique (read small) winery offer a unique and intimate luxury wine and wine tourism vacation experience that guests love and appreciate. We’re progressive using Southdown Babydoll sheep to control weeds in our vineyards, and amongst small wineries, a leading user of social media. Social media allow us to reach out and inform guests of our existence and our truly unique offerings.

    Trained as a systems engineer, I recognize and agree – as Lee Traupel points out immediately above, the elements of social media are mutually supportive – on our case, augment our other established Web 2.0 venues private and public blogs. No single 144 character Tweet can convey the thoughtful 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.

    Adding value for the social media audience is important I don’t like to be marketed to 24 hours a day. I find automated Direct Messages (DMs) in Twitter offensive. We try to reply to all personal DMS we receive and have made many new friends and blog converts via Twitter. Many of our blog posts are informative in the general wine context – corkage fees, grape growing, sustainable farming, how to hold a wine tasting party… wine, etc.

    A phrase I have coined, “Feeding the Web 2.0 monster” concisely sums up the workload in using Web 2.0 technology. 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 element in our small operation is you are communicating directly with the owners and

    Social media is no winery panacea – it’s another way to connect with our constituency.

    Thanks for this opportunity to share here and I encourage all to drink more red wine – in moderation – it’s good for your health!!!

  34. […] Wordier Note (but ya gotta read it!):  In his Wednesday blog, Tyler Coleman (aka Dr. Vino) pulled a paragraph out of a Wall Street Journal article on the […]

  35. As usual, I have a few things to say on this subject and should offer the disclaimer that my company, Women & Wine creates content campaigns, promotions, sweeps, contests and offline events for companies seeking to market to a niche audience who loves wine, food and travel on the net.

    But first,let’s go back to the beginning.

    Think of the people who are on a winery’s mailing list. How did they get there? They probably (assuming a greater than 50% chance) at some point visited that winery, tasted with someone who gave them insight and intimate details about the wine, drank enough to feel good all over and then purchased the wine – and probably joined the wine club.

    While you can’t replace that intimate experience via the internet (frankly I’d rather share a glass in person anytime) it’s getting harder and harder for the consumer to find that experience in their own backyard. While there are a proliferation of wine shops, internet sites selling wine, etc. the likelihood of a consumer feeling loyalty to a brand – like they would if they visited and enjoyed the experience – is not there. And in most cases, tastings are with a sales rep or distributor not the winemaker so they really seem to blend into sameness.

    So what to do next? Use these communication “tools” (yes, that’s what they are)to give your fans and followers a more intimate experience. Invite them to visit and offer them special things. Create bonuses that your readers will want to share with their friends. Or content or video.

    Share the intimate details of your winery and the winemaking experiences with your consumer will serve to remind them of why they enjoyed your wine or make them want to visit you or buy the wine to have a more enhanced experience when they’re drinking it.

    And yes, give them some kind of discount (you are afterall by-passing any intermediary so this is really to your advantage) and hope that you can make the site or tweets interesting enough that your followers and fans will respond with purchases. The most difficult thing will be how to overcome the lack of availability in the local area where they reside so there should be someplace on your page where it links to where they can also buy the wine locally (most people aren’t doing this) or where it is served in restaurants. Otherwise, it’s meaningless.

    Where it all breaks down is ‘will your site make it into their fave 5?’

    Most likely not.

    And while someone like GaryV might inspire the wineries or regions to think they can also get to almost 1 million followers (he’s at 600K and counting) he’s been working at it for over 5 years now and presents a sense of immediacy to his viewers.

    At W&W we opened our platform in January to permit anyone to post their own content to inspire, entertain and educate consumers about their brand, their passion, and to share their stories, photos and videos. I think that there will be consolidated platforms for this in the future. Right now the social media aspect of this industry is expanding – so there’s a lot of noise out there. Don’t just ‘join the noise’ -make some music.

    The example of a really good recent effort was announced yesterday by the Napa Valley Vintners Association. They realized all of the traffic they were getting and have now offered a place for people to see all member winery events in one place. There are very sophisticated tools on the new site so it looks like a great place for wineries who belong to invest their effort in keeping it current.

    Wineries like everyone else on facebook and twitter need to find as many outlets as they can to tell/sell their story.

    Whether all of this effort will result in the support of more people purchasing premium wines will only be determined by two things:

    1) are people who previously bought premium wines going to miss that experience by now randomly buy/drink lower priced wines that might be less satisfying as their way of trading down and step back up (assuming they don’t already have enough in their cellar to last a lifetime) and

    2) is premium wine, like expensive hair cuts, designer handbags, jewelry sales, etc. going to be permanently put into a category of ‘special occasion purchases’

    I know that I would personally rather not drink a bottle of a wine of highly suspect origin bought through the grocery store or elsewhere just because the price looks appealing – to me it’s a waste of money.

    But the prices of premium wines are constantly being “marked down” on sites like WineSpies and others then the consumer will have good reason to wait to find these wines at a more affordable price if and when they want them.

    And as the owner of a wine store Wine Valet at Two Rodeo Drive – we only have 85 wines on the shelves at one time – and support the website price of the winery in our store. And no, it’s not because we have high rent (we don’t).

    Yes, our biz is way off but we believe that it is our job and obligation to give the consumer a hands-on selling experience, to try to meet every winemaker whose wine is on our shelves and to support the wineries with our efforts. But even our most loyal clients are “cutting back” or “drinking what they have” so it’s a tough market to say the least.

    And while we’ve been recently shown a lot of “second labels” from wineries recently, we always buy with price and taste in mind meaning you don’t have to buy the most expensive wine to drink beautifully made wine.

    What will help the market for premium wines is for restaurants to declare National BYOB days where consumers will want to buy a premium wine for the purpose of drinking where they know the corkage will be waived and do it on a consistent basis.

    Yes, I do still believe in the tooth fairy.

    You can reach me at

  36. A lot of food for thought. In the past year, we have completely rebuilt our website to offer something that was outside of the norm with regard to wine producer websites, and one that focussed on blogging info about the winery, its operations, travels, and the people who work there as a central focus.

    That side of things is a work in progress. One thing I do know is that once you go down this path, content is king, and just putting any old drivel up isn’t going to do anything to build a brand or win over consumers. As mentioned by a number of people on this topic, this applies to Facebook, Twitter and your blog alike.

    That said, for a small producer this type of communication is essential for building brand recognition. You don’t have the budget of the big guys and with the number of avenues to market and publicity in the trad media decreasing all the time I think if you fail to take advantage of this resource then you are missing out on a valuable opportunity.


  37. I agree with Julie that Social Media is simply a tool. You can use it well or not at all, like any tool.
    There are tools that wineries use with their distributors and/or retail clients. One of these is what we call ‘market visits’, this is when the winemaker or sales manager visits a specific region to market their wine via training sessions with distributor staff, retailer visits and wine dinners.
    Some of these trips are more beneficial than others but if done right, they do sell wine.

    But if a winery is looking to increase their direct to consumer sales, and therefore their own profit margins, then yes, having a social media strategy is beneficial.
    And no, social media cannot survive in a vacuum. The winery must also have a strong ecommerce platform and website, as well as an engaging wine club and tasting room outreach program
    Cheers, Amy.

  38. Hey Dr. V,

    Great article to get some chatter going about social media/marketing!

    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 Twitter and promote interaction on Facebook 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 ( 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

  39. Interestingly we sell more wine via my husbands personal Facebook page than we do our Fan Page. It all comes down to a personal connection with the winemaker – no different than in-store events, winemaker dinners, festivals like Pinot Days, etc.

    Margaret Ryan
    Olson Ogden Wines

  40. People want to have relationships with other people not things. This is why a name and a human face is better than a company name and a logo.

  41. […] as our recent discussion showed, overt marketing is mercifully likely to fall on deaf ears in these new media. But these business […]

  42. […] my post “You Have to Work to Maintain Your Social Media Presence”, I mentioned a blog that Dr. Vino posted on a Wall Street Journal article.  It’s very interesting to look at that […]

  43. […] a new page.  You need to do something that makes sense, and is intuitive.  For example, when Dr. Vino posted on the Wall Street Journal article a few weeks ago, the whole thing was about Alpha Omega’s use of […]

  44. […] Can social media save the day for wineries? […]

  45. 1. Technically, popular use aside, social media refers to sites like YouTube; sites like Facebook, Twitter, and the thrice-damned MySpace are social networking sites.

    2. Were I the wineries involved, I’d first stop creating sites with Flash. Pages created with Flash, for all their eye-candy, can’t be linked to–you can’t send a friend or fellow writer, or oenophile a link to a specific page, most of the time, and because of the way text is used, Google doesn’t spider Flash.

    3. Use a Web site, and print ads, and communication with wine writers on and off the net for actual news, content, information, and announcements.

    4. Use FaceBook and Twitter for short, very brief statements and questions that have a link *to the Website*.

    5. Remember that a community of wine drinkers will convince each other to try your wines. Foster community, and your PR will improve as imbibers convince each other to try your wines, come to your events, and participate. Good customers can equal or beat good marketing.

  46. I agree completely with Mark Norman. Such an interesting debate. Take a moment PLEASE and rethink this further beyond perspective.

    Social Media is the tip of the iceberg…We have to understand that coming consumers are modelling a different global social conscience, rising new values, conceiving a new world hierarchy, embracing the Gaia Hypothesis.

    Such an unprecedent and exponential global synapsis through the escalating use of virtual tech plataforms forming infinit virtual communities which final mission is the clear empowerment of human share of voice.

    This is the “future present world” which is redefyning and challenging the business management and marketing pilars. At this point, when human voice is already aligning to embrace further technologies (Web 3.0, Web 4.0!!), the discussion shouldn´t be if Social Media use is relevant or not, IT IS!!!

    The undermined discussion should be: Are we authentic?, Do we have a fundamental committed cause?, Do we deliver social value?, We have genuine products? We share values with identified communities? IF WE DO…the strategy HOW, WHEN, WHERE to engage is already responded. It is our mindset what is challenged.

    Marina Miro
    Marketing Manager for Argentina
    Trivento Wines & Vineyards
    Concha y Toro

  47. The main advantage of social media for wine is that it allows consumers to get wine recommendations from people with whom they have a relationship and whose opinion they trust. But without the constraint of having to live near that person.

    When I buy wine at retail stores, I often ask the opinion of someone I know, whose opinion I trust and who knows my tastes. This can be copied by extending this to social media.

    The trick would be finding someone who fits those criteria. For example, Robert Parker asigns points to wines according to his palate. I pay no attention to them for many reasons but the main one being that his tastes and mine do not align very well. So it would make no sense for me to join in any social media site that he sets up. For many others who follow his opinions, it would work.

    But it will be no panacea. I think that the ‘relationship’ nature of social media would make the effects very distributed over many different wines. I believe that social media will become yet another tool for wineries, retail stores, distributors, regional organizations, etc. But it wont really ‘save the day’ for too many. It may save the day for a few who already have a good product that will appeal to enough people but is simply lacking the connection to consumers.

  48. […] is a part or all of Grgich’s social media strategy. But, as we’ve discussed before, social media are no panacea for wineries, especially since they are too often a regurgitation of marketing pabulum. At best, social media […]

  49. It is easy to confuse social media with social news because we often refer to members of the news as “the media.” Adding to the confusion is the fact that a social news site is also a social media site because it falls into that broader category.

    But social news is not the same thing as social media anymore than a banana is the same thing as fruit. A banana is a type of fruit, but fruit can also be grapes, strawberries, or lemons. And while social news is social media, social networking and wikis are also social media.


  50. I think it is important to have a comprehensive online marketing strategy. I think even the online market can help luxury brands, because the fact is, is that a lot of the people that can afford it, have a Facebook. Maybe before having an online presence devalued the luxury market, but not today. One can even bid online at Christies, while browsing through their online catalogs! I recently wrote a blog post on how some Temecula wineries are using social media to not only increase sales, but establish a loyal consumer base. Check it out here:


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.”

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: