WAWine Wows the Wine World

Wine and conversation are natural allies. The more one flows, the more the other grows. Wine is a social lubricant and connecting adhesive that brings parties to life and people together. For three hours on June 3, a little thing called Twitter brought thousands of wine lovers together for one purpose; celebrate Washington Wine. While #WAWine may not have been the largest of this year’s tasting events by volume of tweets or number of tweeters, it arguably propelled the largest amount of wineries and businesses into action.

Twitter events are still in their infancy and range from specialized single winery focused events on TasteLive.com to worldwide emphasis events like #Chardonnay hosted by Rick Bakas of St. Supery Winery.  The May Chardonnay event established a benchmark with over 600 people contributing 2700 tweets. Our goal with Washington focused taste and tweets is to educate wineries on the benefits of using social media and to provide a collective state wide event leveraging the momentum of many to bring worldwide attention to Washington State wine. Each event widens the net of participation and awareness.

Success Is Consumer Participation

While big twitter numbers are fun to see, and is certainly an area to give greater focus in the future, the success of WAMerlot and WAWine is consumer participation AT the winery or event location. I like to evaluate each event by looking at the strengths and opportunities.

Strength in Numbers

  • 105 wineries and 10-20 retail locations were involved at various levels for WAWine (one out of every six Washington Wineries)
  • 370 people on Twitter and about 50 people on Facebook contributed 1850-2000 updates about WAWine.
  • Between 1000-1500 (approx) people attended various events across the state
  • WAWine was a trending topic in Seattle for most of the three hour event.
  • Aggregating the number of followers by the main participants puts brand impressions over ONE MILLION.

For me the highlights that bring the most excitement were the collaborative events that were held by the Cascade Valley Wine Country in Wenatchee and Lake Chelan with 15 wineries representing these smaller areas and close to 100 people celebrating between both locations.  The other highlight is how the Walla Walla community came together at Olives Café with 17 wineries hosting a crowd of over 100.

Opportunities for Future

WAMerlot was the beginning, WAWine was an expansion of the idea and a future event (probably in the fall) will provide many opportunities to enhance the idea and continue education. For WAWine we provided several resources to assist wineries in the promotion of the event (Press Release, Tasting Room flyer, video primer, blogger contact information, etc). For greater success of future events, we’ll focus on the following:

  • More lead time communication with wineries
  • More aggressive PR to media
  • Wineries leveraging Facebook and Email lists to ‘promote’
  • Collaborative community events (similar to Walla Walla and Cascade Valley Wine Country)
  • More winery connection to wine bloggers

Was WAWine a success? Yes, in huge proportion! Considering that zero money was spent in marketing dollars and the use of Twitter, Facebook, Blogging and Email motivated potentially a few thousand people to drink Washington Wine for a night, the event was a phenomenal success. I believe we’re just scratching the surface.

WAWine Posts you Must See

I want to give a huge thanks to my main partner in crime, Sean Sullivan from www.wawinereport.com and the event sponsors www.washingtontastingroom.com and www.washingtonwine.org. Events like this could not be successful without the collective support of the entire wine writing community across the state (and even some across the country). While support certainly went beyond the co-supporters, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Washington Wine Writers  
Josh Wade
Twitter: @nectarwine
Sean Sullivan
Twitter: @wawinereport
Barbara Evans
Twitter: @seattlewinegal
Kori Voorhees
Twitter: @winepeeps
Catie Walker
Twitter: @catie
Doug Haugen
Twitter: @winomagazine
Bean Fairbanks
Twitter: @winebeerwa
Margot Savell
Twitter: @writeforwine
Shona Milne
Twitter: @shona425
John Cooper
Twitter: @yakimavalley
Laurie Ross
Twitter: @sipofspokane
Josh Gana; Clive Pursehouse
Twitter: @or_wine_blog

The NectarView

L'Ecole 412007 L’Ecole Perigee

  • The Stuff: 100% Estate fruit from Seven Hills Vineyard with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cab Franc. Wine spent 22 months in a mix of new and used French oak. 14.5%abv; 1398 cases produced
  • The Swirl: Dark crimson purple with a thick cloudy look. Presentation is about 90% opaque with beautiful jewel tones at the edges
  • The Sniff: The Perigee is alive on the nose with rich cherry fruit and hints of clove, tobacco and vanilla.
  • The Sip: This is a beautiful elegant wine with amazing balance of fruit, spice and structure. A slight sweetness grazes the front of your tongue as the dark cherry flavors wash across the middle of your tongue. Slight earthy leather, tobacco box, and cocoa prepare the finish for a smooth velvety wash.
  • The Score: At $49, this wine may be out of reach for most people, but is certainly a wine I would recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to taste, buy or try. I can easily score this a 4 (out of 5). Get it down to $35 and buy a case!

*Wine provided as an industry sample with the intention to review



Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

14 comments on “WAWine Wows the Wine World

  1. Sip with Me!

    That was an awesome event Josh, and thanks for the recap. It’s even more awe-inspiring when you see those stats!! Kudos to you and all your peeps putting together one mean Twitter tasting!!

    1. drinknectar

      I’m glad you could participate. These are awesome education opportunities for wineries to see the power of Social Media from passionate people like you!

  2. Chris

    Josh, Congratulations on these events.

    The one metric I haven’t seen any data on… How many wineries SOLD more wine due to #WAwine or #WAmerlot? I realize that is not maybe the best or only measure of success from a branding and marketing point of view, but ulitmately wineries will need to show bottom line results, imo. Having tastings and wine events is a 365 day occurance for many of these people. How many new customers willing to buy wine are these types of events attracting?

    Outside the tasting room or event site I realize this data is difficult, if not impossible, to capture, but a suggestion for the future might be to have participants, bloggers and wineries, help capture the data.

    The flipside of this are the costs to a winery to participate might include hiring staff or donating time to extend tasting room hours, attend events, extra wine pours, printing costs, etc…

    I’m not associated with any winery, but if I were I’d want to know how this route will help sell more wine versus the other routes currently available, events like TasteWA, charities like WineRocks, competitions, festivals, farmers markets, and the other ways wineries must decide to pursue or not when deciding how to spend their marketing energy and dollars.

    To give you a couple of anecdotal data points, I bought 2 bottles of wine from Edmonds in Woodinville during #WAwine and had a very nice discussion with Doug Peterson at his tasting room, my first visit there and I was attracted by Doug’s tweet. During #WAmerlot I bought 2 bottles of Merlot from Olsen Estates in Prosser prior to the event and after I learned they were giving a discount for #WAmerlot participation, I went back and bought 2 more. I buy plenty of wine anyway, but those 6 bottles I’d attribute primary to the #WA events.


    1. drinknectar


      Thanks for stopping by to comment and I’m glad you were able to participate. I agree and disagree with your question about sales being the goal. While ultimately, wineries live and die on sales of their wine, these events are not solely intended to be sales driving events. The ambitious winery will certainly see more sales, but the goals are probably four fold and in this order (IMO)

      1. Education – this medium is so new, so each event brings greater awareness to wineries on how they can use social media in their regular operating routines

      2. Brand impressions – Wineries that participate will see spikes in brand traffic / web traffic and even tasting room traffic (which of course can lead to sales)

      3. Broad attention – just like events like Taste Washington and Charity pours don’t directly lead to sales, they increase the awareness of a wine or winery to a much larger audience.

      4. Sales – Finally, sales are certainly considered but will probably not be a metric that I ever attempt to track. I’m happy to hear anecdotal evidence from people that did purchase.

      Wineries have a lot of pull on where they participate in events (you mention several). At the end of the day, there is success if a winery opens its eyes to the power of Social Media and then decides to deploy a strategy into its regular marketing routines.

      I appreciate your insight and look forward to meeting you.


  3. Chris

    Thanks for the detailed responce, Josh. I look forward to discussing the social media topic more at WBC, it’s obviously something we’re all trying to understand and evaluate I think, consumer, blogger, and even many of the wineries who I’ve chatted with about the topic. See you in about 18 days!

  4. Rick Bakas

    Way to keep moving the needle, Josh.

    It’s not about how many people tweet or how many tweets, it’s about how many quality interactions there are. Your two events produced a high number of quality interactions that everyone can build off of.

    The return on your efforts will be felt for months after this. That’s something that won’t show up on any chart or graph. Keep doing it right my man :)


    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, Rick! I appreciate that. Sometimes we get caught up in raw numbers to determine success.

  5. Kristi Davis

    Sounds like it was a hit! Wish I could have come!

  6. Sean P. Sullivan

    Josh, excellent summary and a pleasure working with you on WAwine…and beyond!

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, Sean! You are truly a phenomenal teammate and ambassador for our great state!

  7. Bean

    Just a quick clarification, Taste Live often hosts events from regions, distributors, industry groups and organizations like Hospice du Rhone. One of my favorites was last fall when Marlborough Grand Tasting Weekend sent a different varietal to bloggers by time zone. It was very cool, even if it meant that some of the wine makers were on the clock at some harsh hours!

    So many exciting opportunities to celebrate and promote wine utilizing the power of social media!

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks for the clarification, Bean…and thanks for your strong support of WAwine

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