An Example of How Social Media Actually Sells Wine

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A few programming notes...

I'm still looking for Black Friday Wine Deals.  I've gotten some good ones already but I'd love to have more.  Drop me an E-mail ( if you want me to mention a Black Friday wine deal in a roll-up I'll be doing like last year.  That'll go out late Thursday/early Friday.

Speaking of Black Friday and consumerism, some bonus content that might interest you:

For Thanksgiving we're staying local and having a small group this year.  How about you?  For the all-important wine selection question I think I'll go with something along the lines of my typical "CPR" play - Cab, Pinot Noir, and Riesling.  

A friend asked yesterday if I could pass along some wine suggestions for a medium-sized group so I thought to share what I suggested here.  If you want to keep it simple, swing by The Urban Grape and pick up one of their $50/4-pack Turkey Lurkey samplers.  They've put together a really nice assortment I think.  If that doesn't work for whatever reason I thought the follwing three wines were reliable all-American crowd pleasers from the past year:
  • 2007/08 Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon (around $20)
  • 2008 Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir (around $20, more info)
  • 2009 Red Newt Riesling Circle Label (around $12, more info)
I hope you have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.  I'm thankful for my family, for people who help care for our kids (it takes a village!), and as it relates to today's blog post, friends I've made in the process of exploring the wine world.  Happy Thanksgiving!

I sense skepticism from some as to whether social media is a worthwhile endeavor for wineries and wine retailers.  I think there may be an expectation that some mention of a specific wine is going to make demand go viral and and when that doesn't happen there's a period of disillusionment where those on the sell side of the wine community question whether time spent on Twitter, Facebook and blogging is an utter waste of time.  Time spent on social networking sites may indeed be a waste of time, but I wanted to share a couple recent examples of wines I purchased solely because of recommendations I receive via social channels because I think they shine light on interesting nuances in human behavior and purchasing decisions.

I received an E-mail offer from one of my favorite deal-making retailers for the 2005 Scholium Project Babylon Tenbrink Vineyards at a relatively good price.  A couple years ago I remember reading something about their wines on RJ's Wine Blog.  I reviewed what RJ wrote, dropped him an E-mail, and asked whether he thought it was a good play.  He said he thought it was, and I was inclined to buy the wine based on his recommendation, but more importantly than that I bought it because I looked forward to tasting a wine he'd written about.  I wanted to be able to relate a wine from a similar point of a view as a friend who also had the wine on the other side of the country.

So often there's an interest in a winery trying to get their story conveyed effectively, and a winery's story is indeed hugely important, but just like when I get a Garagiste E-mail I'm as much inclined to buy the wine because I want to relate to what Jon Rimmerman is describing.  The story isn't always the winery's - sometimes it's another person's reflection on the wine that sells the wine.

Take for example this comment from @joshiemac on a blog post I wrote about Barbaresco.  Joshua mentioned that he's a Northern California guy born and bred but spent 3 years in Italy in his 20's.  He thought that if I liked Barbaresco I might also enjoy some Etna Rossa wines from Sicily.  I followed up and asked for some specific recommendations and he provided a CellarTracker link to a specific wine and, ironically, pointed out that the wine is featured in the Spirit Shoppe image ad that has been running on my site for a few months now - the Tenuta di Trinoro Passopisciaro.  Think about that:  I look at this site a lot as I'm editing and I wasn't familiar with the wine labels I was seeing on a daily basis.  It took someone pointing my nose in the wine and telling my why I might like it for me to try it.  That's the difference between ads and social.  That's how social media sells wine.

My notes on these wines:

2005 Scholium Project Babylon Tenbrink Vineyards
572 Cases Produced
15.7% Alcohol
Around $40-$80
More Information from the Winery

I thought this wine was rich and satisfying then thought to myself "I'm getting a little heat on the backend". I checked the bottle which revealed 15.7% alc. Wow. I guess it conceals it well for 15.7% but there's a lot of alcohol in this wine.

Quite opaque and full-bodied. Aromas of red raspberries, black pepper and...bananas(?). Satisfyingly flavorful. Great mouth-feel. Velvety tannins. Interesting stuff.

90/100 WWP: Outstanding

2007 Passopisciaro (Tenuta di Trinoro) Etna Passopisciaro
3,916 Cases Produced
14% Alcohol
Around $32-$45
More Information from the Winery

It's like a Barbaresco without the tannic bite,which is to say dangerously delicious. This wine is very light visually but satisfyingly flavorful on the palate.

It's got a unique nose of fresh strawberries with a touch of earth. Very fresh and inviting. On the palate, a touch of acidity with vanilla and more fresh fruit. Freaking delicious.

Hardest thing about this wine is finding a match in CellarTracker. What the heck is this stuff? :)

A heartfelt "thank you" to CT user "joshiemac" for the recommendation on this one. Friend or fan that guy up if you'd like solid recommendations for off the beaten path Italian wines especially. 

93/100 WWP: Outstanding


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