Let me pose a little scenario for you…it’s a warm April Friday in Boston (suspend your disbelief) and you have just left work. You and the missus got grandma to watch the kids for the night which can only mean one thing, date night. Times have been tough though, so you know you can’t afford an overpriced meal at Grill 23. Being that your culinary knowledge doesn’t extend past the microwave, the ol’ ball and chain has you on wine patrol. You stop by Reservoir Wine & Spirits to check out their vast selection and suddenly you are overwhelmed. Do I go with a dry Cab? A buttery Chardonnay? A blend of some sort? How do I pick the perfect wine for the occasion? The answer to this age old question: Social Media.
Wine is more than a drink; it is an experience. Due to the sheer variety of wine labels, it is almost impossible to tell on your own whether you are about to partake in a great experience and set the mood, or have a night to forget. Rather than taking a chance on that $20 bottle of red with a cool label, consumers are looking to what their friends and experts have to say about wine recommendations. Though this isn’t anything new, the average consumer has always known they are no sommelier, what has changed is the channel and scope of these recommendations. A consumer, who once looked in magazines, books, or newsletters for wine reviews of a bottle that may or may not be bought at their local store, is now scanning bar codes and labels to see what experts have to say about their bottle in hand. Rather than trying to remember if their friend who drinks a lot of wine recommended the 2008 or 2009 Beringer, they can now go on twitter and see what other people in their network have to say.
“700,000 people view wine-related videos every month, there are over 7,000 wine tweets per day and more than 300 iPhone apps for wine. It is estimated that 90% of wine drinkers use Facebook 6.2 hours per week, and Google Analytics shows that wineries are the third most popular subject on Pinterest.” *
(Disclaimer: Those 6.2 hours are probably over-inflated by the over-50 mothers demographic who only go on Facebook after their second glass of wine).
So knowing that more and more consumers are going to social media platforms to gain information how has the market adapted?
One company that had a lot of success is Stormhoek Winery. They decided to create a word-of-blog campaign in the mid-late 2000’s where any wine blogger that asked for a bottle of their wine would receive it for free. Over a period of six months, 100 bloggers posted about their wine and then to further interact with their consumers, Stormhoek representatives put on “geek dinners” that attracted readers of the blogs as well as other bloggers who had not yet participated in their campaign. The results of this social media campaign were a staggering success as Stormhoek sales jumped from 50,000 cases annually to over 300,000 cases.
As someone who has recently become an avid wine drinker, I have started going down the path of wine apps. One app in particular that is quite useful for a college student on a budget is Vivino. It allows you to scan a bottle of wine to see the prices and available locations as well as give you updates on special offers. If I’m out to dinner with my parents and really enjoy a certain bottle, I can catalog it and then pull it up the next time I try to impress a girl at Barcelona over tapas.
If anyone has any recommendations for me please let me know in the comments!