Wineries on Twitter: Mt Baker Vineyards
The goal of this series is to connect with wineries and wine business that use Social Media (Twitter and Facebook) effectively. These interviews can serve as a catalyst to help other wineries and wine businesses to see the benefits (and pitfalls) of joining the social revolution.
How long have you been using Twitter?
A: I have been using a personal account on twitter since June of 2009. The winery page I started only two or three months ago.
What prompted you to dive in?
A: I was in California pouring at the Great American Food and Music Fest when I made the decision to get on the social media train. I was struck by the high percentage of people asking about our web presence. I became absolutely convinced of the need for a Social Media presence though through conversations with @mattsito. He got me motivated, and gave me great tips about how to start.
What type of strategy or approach do you use when posting content?
A: I am focused mainly on striking up conversation with people I find using Twitter Search, on my personal account. Engaging in talk about wine and wineries, music, food, beer, MLB, etc. The winery twitter and Facebook accounts I use to engage with up to the minute developments at the Winery. Pictures of events, harvest updates, release news, etc.
What have been the benefits of using Twitter/Facebook? (increased traffic, increased brand awareness, customer connection, etc)
A: I feel like the use of Social Media has been incredibly beneficial. We are located about 15 miles from Western Washington University, as well as being on the route to the most well known snowboarding mountain in the state. We have seen a marked increase in the number of college students and the snowboard crowd coming through our tasting room. Also, it has been a lot of fun to keep in touch with regular customers, who we normally only see once or twice a year at events, on a daily basis. It has been beneficial to learning about what gets our customers excited as well! Whether it’s a couple of funny pictures of the cellar crew on Halloween posted on Facebook, or a quick note on new releases, the comments are amazing to read!
Is there a single success story that you can point to with using Twitter/Facebook?
A: I don’t think that there is any single thing I can point to. Social Media has felt like a snowball growing as it rolls down a hill. It seems like it is constantly growing as the content posted gets better, people tell their friends, and the conversations draw a more diverse crowd. Momentum builds fast.
What do you think is the single biggest barrier to why we don’t see more wineries actively using Social Media tools?
A: More will follow suit in time, remember we are an industry of deeply rooted traditions. Changing patterns about how we market can’t change overnight. Once an innovation catches on though, it will develop very quickly.
What advice would you give to wineries joining the stream or getting back into the stream?
A: My biggest advice is to use Twitter and Facebook to engage your fans one on one. Don’t use the tools to broadcast your sales pitch. People can un-fan, un-follow just as easy as they can become interested.
Briefly tell us about your winery, a new release, or something unique about you?
A: Mount Baker Vineyards is located 12 miles East of Bellingham, on the Mount Baker Highway. Our tasting room is open 7 days a week, 11-5. We produce approximately 16000 cases of wine per year with grapes sourced from choice spots in the Yakima Valley, as well as our Estate Vineyards planted in 1978. Typical yearly production includes up to 30 different varietals. We have a lot of fun, and our doors are always open to people interested in wine/winemaking/grape-growing.
What is your favorite rock band and why?
A: Favorite rock group is a hard one, it is just like asking my favorite wine! What am I pairing it with, how’s the weather, etc? However if I had to pick just one it would be the Pixies. Completely unique sound! Gets me pumped up during crush!