03 Jan 2010
Obviously, I jest. No one intentionally sets out to fail, however there are several things that lead us down a path of failure. In the wine industry (which these posts are originally intended), the majority of wineries are small businesses with 1-10 employees. It can be a challenge for these small business owners to jump into the Social Media waters. NOT getting involved could put your business at a significant disadvantage. For tips on where to begin, see my two previous posts:
- Strategy: Are Wineries Missing the Social Media Money?
- Getting Started: My Social Media Resolution (very practical tips)
For those businesses that are jumping in for the New Year - here are five ways to avoid success using Social Media.
1. Begin without any set objective
You know what they call the man who is wandering around the streets with no place to go? Either homeless or lost. Being listless in the Social Media world is easy. Goals are for wimps. Jump in, start tweeting, create a Facebook business page, update your status occasionally. Make sure your posts offer no real value, are vague and self-serving, or are completely random. These actions will solidify your failure.
Success starts with a clear measurable goal. Here is an example. “Winery X will develop greater brand awareness in our community about our tasting room events. We will achieve this by connecting with local wine lovers through Twitter and Facebook. Our goal is to connect with 500 local wine lovers and drive tasting room traffic sales up by 15% by the end of the year.”
When Walmart wanted to get the word out that it had received a huge shipment of the most sought-after toy just in time for the year-end shopping season, the retailer turned to its more than 400,000 Facebook friends first. – From Baltimore Sun
2. Do not create a plan or strategy
Anyone can build a bookshelf with some plans. Where is the challenge in that? Plans are good only if you want your shelves to be straight and the bookshelf to remain standing once all the books are on it. Avoid success in the Social Media world by approaching it without a plan.
Success continues with a plan or strategy. If your goal is to drive tasting room traffic up 15% by the end of the year avoid the strategy tips below:
- Promote your Twitter and Facebook accounts on everything you send or print (email, web site, business cards, mailers, print ads, trade journals, and how about even your WINE LABEL, etc)
- Start following people in the wine industry or friend them up on Facebook (usually in smaller chunks of 50-100)
- Create Twitter / Facebook cards to specifically hand out or attach with each visit or purchase in your tasting room (store)
- Add a blog to your web site and create a weekly post about something related to your business; tasting room, wine making, harvest, events, etc.
- Once you have a following try hosting a tweet-up at your tasting room (invite your followers to come by and taste wine while tweeting about it)
When asked how Twitter has helped their business, Montaluce Winery (@Mvineyards on twitter), says, “We have seen an uptick in winery traffic, especially with a younger audience. We certainly see more contact with people who influence Atlanta food and wine.”
3. Be self-serving and erratic
Constantly posting self-promoting tweets or status updates may generate you some followers or friends, but it won’t create loyalty and action. Perfect way to fail, tweet 20 times a day, “Come by our tasting room and receive 10% off all purchases http:/addlinkhere.” You can also fail by being erratic. Develop a small following or fan base and then disappear. How does it look when fans ask you questions or post on your wall and never receive a response?
Success equals collaboration. The internet is full of relevant information. You don’t have to create everything you share.
- Post links to helpful industry items (how to taste wine, fun reviews you read, interesting blog posts or newspaper articles about wine).
- Promote events that are not your own (community interest, other tasting room hours, etc)
- Mix up your own posts, don’t always tweet the same text or information.
4. Avoid Interacting With the Natives
Those on Twitter and Facebook are connectors by nature. One of the best ways to fail is to avoid conversation with people. Do not comment on people with insightful posts. Never @people (send them a tweet) or write on anyones wall. Talking to people is scarey and intimidating.
Success equals conversation. Set aside some time each day as marketing time to connect with people.
- Ask people open-ended questions? - “What wine did you drink with dinner over the weekend?”
- Comment on other people’s posts. Read the blog, comment on the blog, then re-tweet the blog RT @nectarwine ->great insightful post on wine trends for 2010 http://drinknectar.com
Former Director of Social Media for St. Supery @RickBakas, on his web site http://justbrand.me says, “provide a stream of relevent and useful information…your audience most likely feels overwhelmed with all the information being broadcast on social networks. ”
5. Do not respond to your fans or brand mentions
Your customers are online. If you want to fail, do not get online. An even bigger fail is to be online and never respond to your fans who ask questions. Do not respond to fan page posts. Ignore retweets (RT) and direct messages (DM). Never use Twitter search to see if people are talking about your brand. Doing these things will ensure your social media failure.
The people experiencing success are doing the following things:
- Use TweetDeck or HootSuite to manage Twitter. This will give you an efficient view of all @ reply and DM’s so you don’t miss a mention or message. Never let a @ or DM go unanswered.
- When you see fans or followers in your business, thank them with a tweet or write on their wall.
- Offer periodic specials just to your fans to promote loyalty.
2009 was the year Twitter and Facebook came of age for business use. Now is the time that businesses who use Social Media will begin to see an advantage. Customers are online. They become your fans. You create loyalty. Your customers become your ambassadors. Social Media gives you an army of marketers who will promote you to success. Are you ready to succeed or fail in the New Year?
30 Dec 2009
Since I’ve only been at this blog thing for 7 weeks and December marks the close of my first full month, I thought I would start a tradition. I’m sure as history books of wine blogging unfold, this will be recorded as the start of something monumental. Those mentioned in these posts will receive world-wide notoriety and others will pine and clamor to be considered among the elite. Ah, who the hell am I kiddin’ this is what I liked and thought was cool this month!
Wines of the Month
I reviewed 25 wines in December. Several of them came from my video reviews of three local Spokane wineries. My bias is not Spokane, it’s just my geography.
Best Value Under $15: Lone Canary Bird House Red ($10-$12)
While I didn’t taste this wine during my video interview with wine maker Michael Scott, I did pick up a bottle for consumption. Of the 10+ bottles under $15 from this month, this was the clear winner.
- The Stuff - 55% Syrah, 22% Cab Sauv, 21% Merlot, 2% Sangiovese; Various Columbia Valley vineyards.
- The Swirl – a dark garnet color, not quite plum
- The Sniff – initial reaction was honey and vanilla but opened up to include the blueberry and spice of a Cab / Merlot.
- The Sip - Initially wasn’t feeling it. Left the glass and came back 15 minutes later. Dark berry with cedar and a slight cocoa finish. Medium tannin and a little hot on the alcohol.
- The Score – At $12 I would rate this a low 4 out of 5. Solid quality with good flavor characteristics, smooth finish and good structure. If I can find this wine at under $10 it easily becomes part of my Nectar Value Team.
*Runner up 2007 Arbor Crest Sauvignon Blanc ($7)
Best Wine: 2006 Mark Ryan Long Haul ($48)
We enjoyed this wine over Christmas (Episode #17 Christmas 2009). This was one of our purchases from the September trip to Woodinville, WA. The wine was spectacular then and even better to celebrate Christmas with. Hands down the best wine I drank all month.
- The Stuff: Right Bank style blend with 48% Merlot 46% Cab Franc and 6% Petit Verdot.
- The Swirl: Moderately opaque with translucent edges. Nice jewel tones
- The Sniff: Wow, this glass is alive with aroma ranging from spice to coffee to vanilla to dark cherries. Alive with juice.
- The Sip: An explosion of fruit with the right amount of structure balance and tannin to enjoy alone or with a big steak or red pasta dish. This is like sex in a glass. The orgasm of flavor blew me away!
- The Score: At $48 I would definitely buy this again and again as long as my credit card allowed. Taking into consideration the economy and value, this wine scores a 4+. Get it at $35 and it is a steal and a 5.
A twitter friend said they recently picked up several bottles for just $29. At this price I would buy a case.
*Runner up 2007 Robert Karl Claret ($20)
Random Favorites Highlights from December
The post that made me spit wine out my nose: Drinking With the Wine Whore (make sure you watch the video)
Best Wine Picture (Rated R): DrinksAreOnMe.net – Cork Taint
Best Wine Quote: WineTonite – Apples and Wine
“Men are like a fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it’s up to the women to stomp the mess out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have with dinner.” – Ed Thralls
Most ‘heady’ Wine Post Good Grape “When Altruism Needs to Equal Cooperation”
DrinkNectar Posts (Most Viewed) Wineries – Missing the Social Media Money?
30 Dec 2009
I’m honored to have an article featured on Cork’d today. This web site is part of social media and wine sensation Gary Vaynerchuk’s media empire, Vaynermedia.
In the article I talk about the Three Tiered distribution system in the wine and spirits industry and how the current laws are archaic, anti-competitive, suppressive toward capitalism, and communist in enforcement.
As long as the three-tier system is in place, the U.S. wine market will continue to be a crippled shell of what it could become.
Can we fix it? If Social Media has any power, it has the power to call problems to people’s attention and unite those of diverse geography into a solitary voice.
Read the article at Cork’d and leave a comment. Let’s look back at 2010 as the year that something revolutionary began to bring all wine to all people across the U.S.
29 Dec 2009
During round one of the Under $10 Quest, I stated that we drink a lot of wine. I listen to my twitter friends go on and on about specific wines and then I look them up only to choke at the $50 price tag (or more). I thought my day job paid me pretty good green, but I guess it’s not enough to afford the purple that my friends are drinking. Thus, the quest continues.
As I mention in the video, the goal of these reviews and videos are to provide you a resource of trustworthy wines. I want you to walk into a store confident in your pick of a specific wine label. Life is too short to drink crappy wine. Why waste your money on 3 or 4 cheap wines in search of the jewel when you can rely on others to do so.
Basically, I’m in search of a starting line-up of dependable wines that I can go to on a daily basis. I need designated hitters, relief pitchers, and pinch hitters to come into the game when the game is tight. Tonight’s lineup includes a rookie and two veterans called up from Triple A to show their stuff.
2007 Arbor Crest Sauvignon Blanc
- The Stuff: 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Columbia Valley, WA (Bacchus Vineyards), never oaked
- The Swirl: Super clear with a mild golden delicious apple tone
- The Sniff: Cut open a pineapple, squeeze some lemon and spray a small spritz of vanilla room spray and you have the nose of this wine.
- The Sip: Strong acidity on the upper palate with a smooth citrus and lemon peel flavor across the tongue. There is no tartness and the alcohol is not hot. Not overly huge in structure but has great flavor for the price.
- The Score: $11 retail but only $7 at Cost Plus World Market, I score this a 4+ (out of 5) for value and flavor.
The wine reminds me of summer. When my wife and I were first dating we enjoyed a few bottles of this wine on the deck as we shared our stories and got to know one another. This is definitely a player who will be added to the roster for a crisp summer wine or a wine to pair with light seafood or poultry dishes.
2008 Root 1 Cabernet Sauvignon
- The Stuff: 85% Cab and 15% Syrah from Colchagua, Chile. Vineyards are original non-grafted wine stocks brought over from Europe – sounds pretty cool. Neat looking bottle, taller than average with a real cork enclosure.
- The Swirl: Moderately opaque plum with watery edges
- The Sniff: Was difficult to pinpoint at first but the fruit was immediately overwhelmed by evergreen tree, minerals, rocks, and musky dirt. With much effort could smell the black currant.
- The Sip: Overwhelming minerality on the back immediately took over the fruit that was trying to come through. Very chalky, like eating dirt.
- The Score: At $9, there are way better value Cabernet Sauvignon’s out there. I score this a 3-. Could be the youth of the wine, but I’m not going to cellar a $9 wine. (See update below)
This wine strikes out and not only doesn’t make the team but gets sent back to Single A ball. UPDATE: After spending some time in Single A (24 hours) this wine is starting to show some promise. The minerality is nearly gone and most of the chalkiness has subsided. Decent fruit flavors of red currant and cherry along with leather. Root1 has moved up to AA ball, but I’m still apprehensive.
2007 Dancing Bull Zinfandel
- The Stuff: 100% California Zinfandel from various sourced vineyards. Synthetic cork enclosure
- The Swirl: Deep dark opaque plum, slightly cloudy with hints of ruby and garnet. Strong legs indicating high residual sugar.
- The Sniff: Good strong nose that leads with strawberry, vanilla, tobacco and cocoa
- The Sip: The wine was slightly disappointing as it came across as one-dimensional. The nose was a tease and the palate did not deliver. After two hours in glass, the flavor profile did open up. One dimensional is not bad, just not super interesting.
- The Score: At just $8, this wine scores a solid 3+. You won’t go wrong getting this wine and the predictable taste may score well with beginning wine drinkers.
This Zinfandel doesn’t make the starting team but is sent down to Triple A to potentially be called up as an injury replacement.
So far the team is struggling. I have a few good recommendations from fellow wine bloggers that I hope to try soon. If you have suggestions, please leave comments. I’m looking to field my team with a variety of wine styles.
2010 is the year of buying local! I want to strongly encourage you, when possible to buy your wine from a local retailer (wine store, wine shop) or directly from the winery. Doing this helps keep profits directly in your community.
Life is meant to be shared with friends. Share life over a glass of wine and DRINK.HAPPY!
28 Dec 2009
The sensuality within each little berry will drive you wild and explode with flavor in your mouth!
“The Dude’s Guide to Wine” is a wine primer for the average guy who tends to reach for a beer in all social situations. This four-part series began with three reasons all guys need to know at least the basics about wine.
1) Success: At some point you’ll experience success in life and wine may seem more appropriate.
2) Stupidity: No guy likes to look stupid and life events will eventually lead you to bring wine to a dinner party or having to order wine at a restaurant.
3) Sex: Girls love wine. Guys love girls and sex. Wine can lead to good sex!
If one or all of these reasons are not enough for you, then you are free to leave this blog and go back to the porn you were looking up.
The Sexy Grape
Like a woman, there are several subtleties and intricacies of wine grapes. They can be coy, sweet and seductive like the girl next door in a private school uniform or they can be bold and brash, oozing sex appeal, like the stripper you met…well…nevermind. The trick is to avoid the skanky cheap tawdry whores while learning which ones you can bring to dinner with your mother.
There are over 10,000 documented grape species (varietals) grown in just about every region of the world. Attempting to understand them all is like trying to understand the hidden meaning behind the statement, “do you think she’s pretty?” Most popular grape varietals can trace their roots to France and Italy. The largest wine-producing states in the U.S. are California, Washington, Oregon and New York.
As a dude, we need to keep it simple. We may be able to tell you the important facts, like who was the MVP of Super Bowl III (Joe Namath), but memorizing hundreds of grapes and their characteristics just aint going to happen. Let’s talk about 7 basic grapes, what food they go with and when you may enjoy them. Much more could be said about each grape discussed below. In the interest of basic understanding, I’ll be offering the stereotype of each. While many experts may weigh in on their opinions and insights, The Dude’s Guide to Wine is just trying to keep it simple for the average guy who may confuse maceration with…you know…
RED WINE: The sultry sexy diva that can fulfill your wildest fantasies. If you’re not careful you’ll wake up in the morning recounting the night vis-a-vis The Hangover. Red wine grapes are described as earthy, spices, dark red fruit (cherry, plum currant, strawberry, blackberry, blueberry), smokey, tobacco, leather, and more. We could spend hours undressing the specifics of each.
Cabernet Sauvignon (cab-ur-nay saw-vin-yawn) The king of wine grapes. Pairs best with steak, pasta and dark chocolate. Flavors of spice, dark berry, leather and cocoa. This is your strong-willed woman who likes to show she is in charge. She likes it hot and when you get her going she’ll let down her hair and show you her kinky spicy side.
Pinot Noir (pee-no nwar) – If Cab’s are the king then Pinot’s are the queen. Not queen as in a drag queen but because they are of royal decent and require a lot of attention and effort to put out a good wine. Pinots are very versatile and pair well with beef, poultry, fish, lamb, pork, spicy and creamy sauces. Pinot Noirs are like your high maintenance drama queen who likes diamonds, fancy cars, nice clothes and carry their dogs in their purse. At the end of the date you’ll find your wallet a little thin, but the payoff is ‘hot.’
Merlot (Mare-low) Merlot pairs well with red meat, pork and red pasta dishes. A medium bodied wine that is less bold than its blending partner Cabernet Sauvignon. The unappreciated Merlot is like the girl in those teen movies who starts off unassuming, wearing glasses and has bad hair and acne. With a little make up and hairspray she turns into the movie hottie (Ten Things I Hate About You).
Other Red ladies to date after you’ve explored the ones above: Syrah (the current Elvis of wine), Sangiovese (our Italian lover), and Zinfandel (the sexy hussy)
WHITE WINE: Known by many as refreshing, classy and cool, white wine should be treated like a lady. Be careful, although she is cool and refreshing, she can sneak up on you leaving you dazed and confused.
Chardonnay (Shar-don-ay) Chardonnay pairs well with poultry, pork, seafood and heavy cream butter based sauces. Flavors of buttered apple, pear, tropical fruit and melon leave a long impression on the mouth. Chardonnay will remind you of the cute Miami beach hottie wearing the skimpy brazilian cut bikini. Once you talk to her, you find out she has a personality and a brain! Score!
Pinot Grigio (Pee-no Gree-gee-oh) Italian for Pinot Gris this grape pairs well with acidic foods like red pasta roasted chicken and roasted pork. Refreshing flavors of pair, apple, and lemon prevail. Depending on where they are grown they can have light or medium bodies. Imagine sitting on the deck in the summer with your high school sweetheart. She has a glow from the heat, her top is clingy and her short shorts are tight. This is Pinot Grigio.
Riesling (Rees-ling) This German sweetheart is a diverse lady that can pair well with many foods (including spicy and Asian.) She is a great starter with appetizers and can wrap up the evening with dessert. Depending on where she is grown she can be sweet or dry, light or full. Picture the college professor with her hair in a bun and button down white blouse. She’s got the brains to intrigue you and the character to mystify you. Get her behind closed doors and…well I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Champagne (Sham-pain) Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Brut are known as party animals. These ladies often let loose and get wild. Flavors of baked bread, apple sauce, strawberries, cream and vanilla are often experienced. Food pairings are more than just with dessert or for toasts – try Sparkling wines with Asian food, seafood, poultry, and appetizers.
Every dude should know a little about wine. Wine has romance, imagination, character, and beauty that surpasses other adult beverages. Now that you’ve got a basic knowledge of seven types of wine you can begin the process of exploring the new world. Thanks for reading, now go grab your girl and a beer!
The Dude’s Guide to Wine
- In Part One we explained three reasons all guys should know a little about wine
- In Part Two we explored the basics of grapes and their general characteristics
- In Part Three we talked about the experience of wine tasting (swirl, smell, sip, savor)
- In Part Four we uncover the struggle of ordering wine at restaurants and buying in stores
*Photo Credits SacreBlue.com and Media.PicFor.Me