Maximizing Exposure for Tasting Events through

“Our culture is suffering from an experience deficit. With the availability of online knowledge, we’re claiming expertise based on secondary experience. Now that everyone’s a web-educated know-it-all, we’re secretly longing for authority figures to guide and assure us with indispensable nuggets of wisdom that could only come from actually accumulated life experience.” … Faith Popcorn

Social Media, and Twitter in particular is all the rage for wine companies, in this current business down cycle, looking for a lower cost of entry to starting and building lasting relationships with their customers. While the cost is minimal, the commitment needs to be long term . Social media provides many ways to interact and to engage your targeted  customers; and the more active the interaction the more value that’s created. The key point is to engage with your targeted customers in conversation, and then to listen, listen, listen.


I am continually asked, how do I make twitter work for my wine brand? Well, this may be one answer for limited production wineries, lacking leverage with your distributors. Today on a drive out to Copain Winery to pick-up my allocation of Pinot Noir, I was listening, to news anchor Rick Sanchez on the SIRIUS CNN  feed, as he discussed the race to 1M followers between actor Ashton Kutcher and CNN. Rick is a tweeter. He seems to want to avoid the talking-head syndrome, that dominated television news for so long. He effectively engages, through Twitter, in a conversation with his listeners. And, as he does, his audience grows. It grows because the audience is involved in the conversation. This isn’t a new idea. Talk Radio had this idea in the 1970’s. Unfortunately, that format has morphed into what essayist George Saunders describes in ‘The Braindead Megaphone’. And as this happens, meaningful dialog moves online.

Craig Drollett

If you’re in the wine industry please note that the interactive wine conversation has started, and you don’t  want to miss being heard. An effective forum for wine dialog now exists. Wine Business entrepreneur,   Craig Drollett, Co-Founder,Managing Partner, and Chief Operating Officer for Bin Ends Wine in  Braintree,Massachusetts, started Twitter Taste Live in June of 2008. The idea was to capture and interact  with the very active, and passionate, tech savvy wine community forming on Twitter.

Dorothy J. Gaiter & John BrecherI’ve  experienced Twitter Taste Live in-person twice this year, the first event was co-sponsored by Bin Ends, St. Helena, CA wine marketer Wilson-Daniels, San Francisco based wine-search engine vinquire, and Napa wine merchant Daniel Dawson’s Back Room Wines. The event was part of TTL’s first global outreach celebrating the 10th anniversary of Open That Bottle Night, stated in 2000 by Wall Street Journal wine columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Belcher. About 50 guest took part in the live event, but winemakers, distributors, bloggers, and wine consumers from all over the wold contributed to the OTBN conversation on the TTL web-site.

Jodan Mackay at the Jug ShopMy second TTL event experience was also sponsored by Wilson-Daniels, Bin Ends, vinquire, and a clicks wine retailer, The Wine Spies. The tasting was hosted by Chuck Hayward and Paige Granback at The Jug Shop in San Francisco. The event was a Pinot Noir tasting conducted by Jordan Mackay, author of ‘Passion for Pinot’. About 40 Jug Shop patrons had a great time tasting with Jordan, but once again the audience was maximized, through invitations to TTL fans and interested Tweeters; so, the experience was shared with Pinot fans the world over through the Twitter Taste Live constant flow of updates.

Hospice du RhoneThis Friday, April 17th Taste Live has partnered with the Hospice du Rhone to conduct tasting of Rhone varietals and wines in 3 world locations, each to be conducted at 7:00 PM local time, and the wine selection unique to each individual event. The first tasting will be in London at the Lasdowne Pub, hosted by Robert McIntosh of Wine Conversation who will be leading the discussion.  In the East, Mr. Drollett has partnered with Joe Roberts of 1WineDude fame to hold the Boston tasting at The Wine Riot, and 500 + wine twitteri are expected to attend.  Large flat screen televisions will be at both locations featuring live feeds of the events, and Friday April 17th will be the official launch of the newly renamed feature rich site, Taste Live.

The California TTL Event will be held at Estate restaurant in Sonoma, CA, hosted by proprietor, SondraEstate, Sonoma, CA Bernstein and wine director, Gary Saperstein. There will be a family style Twilight Wine Dinner at 5:30. Confirmed wineries for the dinner and tasting are; Verge, Unti, Bonny Doon, JC Cellars, Cline, Audelssa, Shane and Miner. The California Taste Live event will start at 7 PM PDT. Although a selection of Rhone varietal wines has been chosen, each attendee has also been asked to bring a bottle from their cellars to share with the other guest, and winery principals, such as Randall Grahm. This is forcasted to be the largest world-wide on-line wine tasting event to date, surpassing even February’s OTBN TTL event. So, hope to see you at this don’t miss tasting, in-person, or online at

If you want to maximize your exposure, and your utilization of Twitter and other social networking platforms, and attract press, bloggers and consumers to your brand, then you owe it to yourself to investigate Taste Live, and the regional partner network of independent wine stores that Mr. Drollett is starting to form . As Jean Arnold said in her ‘Size Doesn’t Matter’ presentation, ‘manage your distributor by managing the market’.

Note: Copyright © 2009 Think Wine Marketing® All rights reserved.

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