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?
Milbrandt Vineyards has been using Twitter since August 2009. We started off updating the account once a week, now we make sure to update our status daily, sometimes more depending upon newsworthy items we have on a daily basis.
What prompted you to dive in?
We thought Twitter would be a great opportunity to extend the Milbrandt Vineyards experience beyond the tasting room and event pourings. Twitter gives us an opportunity to further develop relationships with consumers, trade and media. We also wanted to see what the rest of the wine industry is up to in real time.
What type of strategy or approach do you use when posting content?
Sometimes we will use twitter as avenue to inform people of special events or sales or maybe what we’re pouring in the Tasting Room that particular day. Mostly, it is just used to develop a rapport with fans of Milbrandt Vineyards wine, answer questions and keep our name in front of those enthusiasts.
What have been the benefits of using Twitter/Facebook? (increased traffic, increased brand awareness, customer connection, etc)
Our biggest benefit would be relationship building. We will have people message us through facebook or twitter and describe an experience they had involving Milbrandt Vineyards wine, such as a dinner or specific event. Often, it is first time tasters telling us how much they enjoyed the wine with dinner or at a party with a friend who introduced them to our wine. We think it is great that people who enjoy the wine so much that they want to share the experience with us. Increased awareness is a secondary benefit. It is the enthusiasts of our product who spread the word about us and that is how we are usually introduced to new consumers, by word of mouth.
Is there a single success story that you can point to with using Twitter/Facebook?
Milbrandt Vineyards pours at various events throughout the Pacific Northwest and the country. After maintaining conversations with several individuals, they make a point to stop by the Milbrandt Vineyards tables and will often retweet or repost our messages, further spreading what we have to say. There is no single success story, it is simply the overall shared experience of using social media.
What do you think is the single biggest barrier to why we don’t see more wineries actively using Social Media tools?
I see a lot of Washington wineries on twitter and I am sure that more and more are joining everyday. But if there is any single hurdle, I believe it is time. Maintaining a twitter account alone is a large time commitment. Many smaller wineries simply do not have the staff to keep up with daily postings, answering inquiries or just maintaining the page.
What advice would you give to wineries joining the stream or getting back into the stream?
Have a plan and have clear and concise message. Make social media a group effort. People like knowing what is going on with the owners, the winemakers, the tasting room, etc. People like feeling involved.
Briefly tell us about your winery, a new release, or something unique about you?
Butch and Jerry Milbrandt planted their first vineyard in 1997. In the ensuing decade, Milbrandt Vineyards earned a reputation for growing some of Washington State’s finest grapes. These grapes have found their way into many of Washington’s most sought-after wines and the Milbrandt name and vineyards are featured on many prestigious labels.
In 2006, under the talented direction of winemaker Gordon Hill, we began crafting signature wines using selected grapes from our reputable vineyards. Our first wines were released in June 2007 and have continued to create award-winning wines. The tradition for excellence established in our vineyards is inherent in every bottle of Milbrandt Vineyards wine and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
What is your favorite rock band and why?
We are a Frank Sinatra kind of tasting room. We keep it classy.