A Deeper Look into How Wineries are Using Twitter Part 2

Using Twitter is harder than it looks. And I am not talking about keeping your tweets to under 170 characters.  Being active on Twitter takes time and engaging on Twitter takes nerves.

I wrote my initial post, wondering why Wineries were not engaging with their followers and consumers. I am sure that anyone who looked at my Twitter profile would see that I have a small handful of followers and am not tweeting all the time. So, really, who am I to judge.

Not to mention, I have heard on various accounts how wineries have reached out through Twitter, and I experienced this as well.  When I went to visit Bartholomew winery, for example, the owner, Bart Fawbush automatically responded to my tweet.  He also shared the post I did reviewing his winery to his network – thank you Bart!

My brother got into a conversation with a Mezzacorona over Twitter and they suggested a wine for my brother to try.  I have also heard of others who have Tweeted about an issue with a wine and received responses from wineries right away.  So, wineries are trying.

I have to admit, I was being naive.  I put myself in the “shoes in the clients” trying to promote my last post and engage with those that responded to me, and I found it to be a mighty big task.

First off, Twitter takes time.  For a winery, or any business, to be successful at Twitter, and other Social Media, there needs to be designated resources.  With tight budgets and limited personnel, having one employee designated to tweeting and engaging with followers is next to impossible.  Especially for the smaller wineries.   I am just one person, trying to manage a personal twitter account, and I find it challenging.  I could only imagine it being even harder for a business.

Secondly, Twitter takes nerve.  I was a littler nervous about tweeting my initial post (Part 1), to my few followers.  But I held my breath and pushed enter.  Then I got a few responses – which surprised me.  I went to respond and got so nervous composing my replies, reading them over and over.

That is when it hit me.  If I were to be laughed off the “Twitter-verse”, I could easily delete my profile and start over.  If a company gets laughed at or picked on, it is not as easy to recuperate. There is a lot more at stake for a winery.

So, long story short, I now have a better understanding of where wineries are coming from and why they are slow to engage.  I don’t think it is a lack of want, it is more a lack of resources and slow experimentation to see what works and what does not.


A Deeper Look into How Wineries are Using Twitter Part 1

Social Media has been around for a while, but its use and power have really only recently been discovered.  Granted, there have been the few smart companies and professionals that have been using these tools since their birth, but for the rest of us, this is all pretty new.

I recently read an article in Harpers Wine & Spirit Trade Review, Wine trade’s use of Twitter is like ‘verbal Prozac,‘ that discussed how Winery’s are using Twitter.  According to Burgundy’s School of Business Damien Wilson, many wineries are on twitter, only few are using it successfully.  He had conducted research on how wineries are using twitter and his study produced interesting results:

It found that most of the trade’s communication is “a one-way street”, “promoting itself” rather than engaging in conversation with consumers. On the other hand, when consumers tweet about wine they focus on “how wine is part of their lifestyle”.

The key that is missing is the engagement factor.  And it is not just wineries, in fact many businesses are missing this key part of twitter (well, really any social media tool). But before I jump onto a soap box, I have decided to do some research to learn a little more about wineries and their relationship with twitter.

Read Write Web wrote an article titled 94% of U.S. Wineries Are On Facebook, 73% on Twitter, that nicely summarized the findings of a study done by ABLE Social Media Marketing regarding winery social media usage.  While it showed that wineries are having success from the use of social media tools.  To me, the most striking tidbit was what wineries use Facebook and Twitter for:

It’s interesting to see the wine industry using Facebook and Twitter for different reasons. According to the study, Facebook is the superior social media platform for generating sales (48% for Facebook vs. 28% for Twitter). But Twitter is seen as better at capturing media attention (53% for Twitter vs. 32% for Facebook).

Hmm, now this is interesting.  Wineries see Twitter as a way to get the attention of a consumer, but not to take it any further – more of a tease. And while this has been a successful tactic for the short-term, I can see that it is not sustainable. (It also gives me more insight into the many articles I have ready by other journalists and bloggers encouraging social media usage for wineries.)

But why fix (er change) something that is not broken.  For starters, it is social media, with emphasis on the word ‘social’.  When it comes to the Twitter users, these are people who are looking to get information, to share and to engage with others.  Twitter is not a one way street for a company to push out its product, but an opportunity to interact with customers.  So, while using Twitter to get attention may have grabbed followers at first, if a winery (or any business) is not providing anything of value, then there is no reason for a consumer to stick around.  And unfortunately with Twitter, “unfollow” is just as easy as “follow”, one click and the consumer is gone and off to follow someone else.

When a winery commits to any social media tool, it is important to have the mind-set of “go big or go home”.  This takes time, some thought and a little planning.  And don’t forget commitment.

So, I am going to continue my research and get a good idea of what is going on with wineries in the twitter-verse. In my next post, I am going to look into successful twitter usage by wineries and room for improvement.

Bartholomew Winery Visit and Tasting

Bartholomew Winery

Bartholomew Winery is located in Seattle, WA in the Old Rainier Brewery.  There is a South Seattle Artisan Wine movement and part of me wanted to experience artisan wine and part of me wanted to check out the historic landmark.

The tasting room is open every Saturday and Sunday from Noon – 5pm, and was a good way to ease into my Sunday.  When we pulled up to the tasting room, we were greeted by a sleeping mastiff in front of the door.  I automatically like the winery before tasting any wine.  It just felt comfortable.

I had my daughter in tow, and the owner Bart Fawbush, didn’t even blink as my daughter investigated the different rooms.

He poured a full tasting flight:

  • 2010 Roussanne Columbia Valley Lawrence Vineyard
  • 2008 Riesling Columbia Valley Lawrence Vineyard
  • 2008 Cuvée Blanc Columbia Valley
  • 2009 Malbec Rattlesnake Hills
  • 2007 Cuvée Rouge Columbia Valley
  • 2008 Jaxon Columbia Valley

There were a few that stood out to me the most:

  • The 2008 Riesling – it was a pale yellow, straw color with a light citrus (grapefruit) nose.  The palette was slightly sweet but also savory, something that is different from most Rieslings.  It was a refreshing drink.
  • The 2009 Malbec – a beautiful burgundy red, with a nose of warm cooked plum.  The palette was spicy and reminded me of red, tart cherries.  I automatically thought of steak when I tried this wine.  My brother Seth, is a big fan of Malbec, so I bought him a bottle.  I will be interested in his review.
  • The 2007 Cuvée Rouge – a black cherry red, with a nose of cooked fruits (reminded me of jam).  The palette was similar to the nose, dark fruits, but with a hint of earthy flavor.  A smooth combination.

More than the wine, the winemaker, Bart was the best part of my experience.  He was incredibly hospitable and very nice, plus he makes good wine.  I will be back for another visit!