The evangelists for Washington Wine, carrying the wine into tasting room battles around the world and helping raise the awareness for the state – this is the Washington Wine Commissions mantra. The Washington Wine Commission is a state agency that was established in 1987 to raise positive awareness and create demand for Washington wines. More has been written about Washington Wine in the last month than any time in recent memory, if not ever. After a recent article called, Are Washington Wines Coming of Age, I wanted to sit down with the commission to hear firsthand how they are spreading the “good news” of the states wine industry. Ryan Pennington, Senior Communications Manager, sat down for a Skype chat to talk about what’s on the commissions agenda, their struggles, and thoughts on the Wine Bloggers Conference.
Ryan covers some great topics in the video but due to time, we didn’t get a chance to talk about everything on our agenda. Below are the text responses to a few key questions.
Q: What Success Are You Seeing From Your Efforts?
A: In our past and current national target markets (Austin, Denver, Phoenix, and Chicago), we field consumer research before and after each campaign. In these markets, we’ve seen an average increase in consumer awareness of Washington State as a premier wine producing region of 169% over the course of each campaign. We’ve also seen an average increase in consumers who report that they are “extremely likely to purchase” Washington State wines in the future of 191%.
Q: Being from Spokane, I was very disappointed and frustrated when our regional Taste Washington event was canceled. Are there any specific plans in the works to continue to help promote Washington wine on the East side of the state?
A: We absolutely appreciate the local fondness for the Taste Washington event in Spokane. It was a great event for nine years. At the same time, the reaction from wineries (including wineries in Spokane) to the decision to broaden our local marketing in the Northwest (and broaden it both geographically and strategically) has been unanimously positive. We’re rolling out our first comprehensive local marketing campaign this fall, including around $100,000 in advertising. This truly is just the beginning. We’ll certainly continue to market Washington wines in Eastern Washington, and that marketing will extend beyond just consumer events.
Q: What are the benefits / results you’re seeing from your efforts on Twitter and Facebook?
A: Though we’ve definitely embraced social media, we also know that we’ve still got a long way to go in this space. We’re working right now on several improvements in this regard, including substantial upgrades to our website to better integrate various social media platforms. With that said, we’re pleased with the results that we’ve seen from our social media work so far. Fundamentally, social media is about establishing lasting relationships and engaging in meaningful conversations, and I think we’ve made great strides toward those objectives over the past couple of years.
Do you have questions for the commission? Leave a comment and Ryan will respond.
10 Jun 2010
Every winery has a story to tell. Some begin with romance and others with passion. The dreams and visions of each wine maker are unique, yet they collectively bring a liquid art form into the world that fuels the mind, body and soul of those that enjoy it. Behind every bottle is a late night harvest, a growing emergency, a magical discovery, a pruning love affair, or a blending accident. Allie Merrick and Peter Eizel want to help wineries share their story…in their own words.
Allie and Peter have been telling their story about wine in their own words for nearly two years. Their web site, MyWineWords.com, is elegantly crafted and has a very high quality presentation. Allie is a graphic designer, author and top notch communicator. Peter has been in the wine industry for 20+ years specializing in wines from France and Spain. The next chapter in the wine words book begins now.
From my experience in talking with wineries and wine makers, time is a commodity. Each season brings new challenges and added demands on time. Making wine is a full time job, not to mention added tasks of branding, marketing, and selling it.
Winery Words Can Help
Wineries large and small can benefit from telling their story. For a small winery, this step can be a cost effective way to share the story about your vision and passion. For large wineries, Winery Words can be an added page in your public relations book. Allie will be in Washington state starting July 13 making her way from Walla Walla to Yakima and Seattle. Wineries in Oregon and California can schedule time with Allie in August and September.
What Does it Cost?
When Allie mentioned the cost of helping a winery tell their story, I was shocked at the affordability. $100 and a few hours of your time is all you need. Allie is covering all her own travel expense (although I’m sure a little lunch and wine would be appreciated).
What Do You Get?
Allie will record and produce your wineries video which will be added to the WineryWords.com library and featured on their own page. Promotion of your story will be done through Allie’s social media connections on Facebook and Twitter. You get to tell your story in your own words to be shared with your current customers while engaging with new customers. I highly recommend you engage with Allie for this experience and opportunity. Make sure to tell her I sent you!
Contact Allie soon to book her time Allie@MyWineWords.com
04 Jun 2010
“Who the hell is this SeattleWineGal girl,” I thought as I started my tweeting and blogging adventure in November. Her avatar was cute…her blog showed a picture of her chuggin’ wine from a bottle and there was a social media slide show on her site called “What the F**k is Social Media.” Seattle Wine Gal was an enigma wrapped in a mystery.
Enter the scene six months later and now Barbara Evans (aka @SeattleWineGal) is a Seattle socialite, Twitter Goddess (dare I say Twoddess), and full time Social Media consultant. Barbara is one of the rare few that have successfully transformed her passion for people and wine into real cash. Talk about ROI (return on investment). I had the fortune of meeting Miss Evans at Taste Washington in Seattle and she is a ball of energy and full of knowledge. Trust me; she is more than a pretty face.
Barb is a self professed “non-blogger” and considers herself a tweeter. She uses her masters in Social Anthropology and experience as a Director of Interactive Internet Marketing to carry over into the Social Media space. SeattleWineGal has transformed from a hobby to a full fledged brand. Most recently SeattleWineGal has been seen hobnobbing with Twitter elite (Mike Whitmore and Chris Pirillo) at Seattle Social Media conferences and hosting various events across the region.
Later in June, Barb will be on a panel at the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference talking about Growing Your Audience From Other Bloggers To Consumers with Andrea Robinson and David Honig. I’m looking forward to learning from her expertise in search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing. Barb’s enthusiasm is contagious. From her “drinking in the shower” video to the weekly #WIYG (What’s in your Glass) tweets, some may find her antics slightly over the top but when you boil it all down, she knows her stuff.
Check out the video interview as Barb shares her secrets to success, her tips for wineries entering the social jungle, and a few little know pieces of trivia. The Skype chat is pretty pixelated, but contains some good stuff! Thanks for watching.
For those that tweeted in specific questions for Barb, here are her answers:
Q1 @readyaimshoot wanted to know about Marlborough Sav Blancs. They like Kim Crawford better than Nobilo. Any others they should try?
A1: I recommend asking your local wine shop owner what the best Marlborough Sauv Blanc is for your budget. My guess is that he/she will chose something less mass-produced, but I do like both of the wines you mentioned… on a boat in the sun.
Q2 @winesisterhood wanted to know what is your favorite Seattle wine shop and why?
A2: I like Petes because I love #WAWine and Bubbly- they have the best selection of both, and they manage to keep their costs super low.Tell them I sent you!
Q3 @readyaimshoot also asks – Is seattlewinegal a fruity Beaujolais, a sophisticated Cab Sav, a spicy Pinot Noir or a sweet Sauterne?
A3: I am all of those things! Well, some would debate about the sweet part.
About Barbara Evans (from her web site)
“Internet Marketing, Social Media Wine Enthusiast Chick.” True loves of Wine and Social Media. Other passions: ultra marathon running, aviation, technical writing/web content writing (nerd alert), World travel, intellectual pursuits, roller derby (was a Bellingham Roller Bettie) all outdoor activities, philosophy, astronomy, SCUBA, martial arts, self improvement and success principles.