In April at the Napa Wine Marketing Symposium, wine-geek and social marketing genius Gary Vaynerchuk told winemakers, “I watch a lot of your engagements on social media and guess what you’re all about? Open house this, two bucks off now, do this, we’re tasting here, push, push, push, push, push. It’s all you guys do. … a social media campaign is not a one night stand.”
Gary may have left the public wine world, but these words still ring true and the excitement that he left for wine is still growing. Can you convert the average wine drinker into your next loyal oenophile? It’s time to try.
1. Soter Vineyards of Carlton, Oregon:
Sells tickets and gets everyone pumped about their events
On the weekend of November 11 & 12th, wine sippers can attend ¡Salud!, a tasting event that is now in its 20th anniversary. Soter Vineyards announces online ticket sales on their Facebook wall, a convenient way to round up customers who want to bid on one of the five cases of the exclusive Pinot Noir that’s only available at this particular auction.
Besides that, Soter is awesome at posting photos at the vineyard, tagging local businesses in posts, and keeping their fans updated about what’s going on at the vineyard. Even 3,000 miles away, you’ll feel like you’re basking in the Oregon sun, drinking wine with the crew.
Shelalara Winery in Coventry, RI does this also, with a different twist. Once in a while, their fans will be sent an event invitation asking them to come by for a free unlimited sample of their wines. Once tasters get there, they’re sure to walk out with a bottle or two and even come back for another tasting once they’ve had a taste of Shelalara’s unique frozen Wine Slushes.
2. Vintner’s Collective, Napa CA
Use photos to promote events and hold contests for wine club members
So Vintner’s Collective isn’t so much of a wine producer as they are wine collectors, but their boutique wine store and tasting room runs a very similar business model to the wineries that they promote and the wine clubbers that they subscribe.
I couldn’t possibly leave them out of this discussion, because they’re using some fantastic tactics for keeping their visitors and club members engaged, even when after they leave Napa.
After every wine event, they post all the pictures on their Facebook Wall and tag all the folks in them, just as if they were tagging regular friends. This encourages those friends of friends to see the photos and check out VC for themselves.
So, what about the club members that can’t attend the annual event, or their other regular parties? No problem, because they host a regular Facebook photo contest, asking people to post pictures of themselves with wines delivered from VC.
“The photo contest has really helped people feel like they are part of this community. They may not make all the parties, but they can have some input as to what goes on at VC simply by participating. It also is fun when new customers/club members recognize each other at the events or on a normal visit to the Tasting Room,” Christopher Briseño-Morgan, manager of VC’s Facebook page told us.
3. Adam’s County Winery: Ortanna, PA
Uses video to educate wine-drinkers on the process of wine-making
Adams County Winery has done a great job at putting together videos and uses Facebook as a platform to share them. In a recent post, a winemaker at the Orrtanna, Pennsylvania location does a funny video that gives customers an inside look at how much ‘hard work’ really goes on at harvest.
4. Cliff Lede Vineyards, Yountville CA
Keeps a photo journal of everything happening at and around the winery
Nothing beats feeling like a VIP while wine tasting, which is why when Cliff Lede Vineyards of Yountville, California built a brand new VIP tasting room “backstage”, they had no hesitation in showing it off with some beautiful wall photos.
They’ve attracted even more attention with snapshots of the decorated tables inside, the boat pier outside, and different varieties of food served at the exquisite winery. Additionally, they’re constantly posting photos all around the winery and on-location, even a whole album of photos during Harvest. It’s like a photo journal of winery happenings, which keeps fans feeling like VIPs no matter where they are.
5. Doukenie Winery, Purcellville, VA
Isn’t afraid to let customer leave a comment – sober or not
Many of the wineries on Facebook have had a customer or two thats ‘tasted’ too much, then decided to go online and type a review. The owners of Doukenie Winery in Purcellville, Virginia must believe that any publicity, good or bad, is still publicity, because they don’t seem to mind what’s said on their ‘Reviews’ page as long as visitors have an opportunity to give their feedback.
Unfortunately, according to a recent status update, Facebook’s removing the ability for businesses to have “review” tabs, so Doukenie asks customers to simply leave reviews on their wall instead. Having a place for past and future patrons to view how other people’s experiences were is always a plus for business.
Besides, having the immediate ability to rectify a bad review on your own page (versus an external site like Yelp) is priceless. And Doukenie’s loyal customers seem to step up and defend their favorite wine-maker every time as well, which is an unsolicited added bonus.
The words that come from the mouth of Gary Vaynerchuk are often brash, honest and 100% true. To close with another quote from the Symposium, Vaynerchuk warns, “It is time for every single person in this room, no matter what your brand is, to take full control of your brand and engage directly with the consumer. Don’t be in the position where you’re at the mercy of anyone between you and the consumer; the press, national retailers or the deal-a-day sites. You do not need to be in that position.”
What position should you be in? The position to take every one of your Facebook fans and turn them into wine club members, or case club members, or harvest volunteers. The goal is to take those once distant relationships and make them part of the family.