advertisement

wine in the news

Please make the Cache directory writable.
two d'état Print
Written by Nikitas Magel   

But to be honest, there are really two levels of interest in all of this on the production side.  There are high end and high profile producers who just don't care about any of this; they're as successful as they could ever have hoped and they don't need anything else right now — right now.  Then there's another level just below these ultra premium brands who still need help selling their wine.  They might not be technically savvy, but they know that they need to evaluate the [market]space and find opportunities.  Those are the ones that I'm interested in helping, the ones who are showing the interest.  We get dozens and dozens of emails every week from winemakers looking for suggestions on what they could do, partners we could provide them with, or help in understanding where they need to go in this space.

NM:  Let's say a producer reaches out to you for guidance in make an impression on Millennials, but simply doesn't relate to the heavy use of online technologies or understand the details and lingo that go along with them.  What do you tell them?

CG:  I tell them: Be cautious and dip your toe in the water.  Facebook is a great place to start: set up a brand profile, a group for your brand, and organically just begin promoting it.  It's not going to change anyone's life overnight.  But it will provide you with brand recognition as well as opportunities to see what the technologies are like.  And it's free; it doesn't cost anything.  Through that, you'll see what's out there — the wine 2.0 companies, the wine bloggers, the companies that are on the move within the space.  You'll find ones that you can identify with and whose model you understand, and they can help you.  Take Facebook right now, with its millions of users: what would it take to get a comparable audience in print media or television or radio — for free?!  And now multiply that captive audience by however many various online platforms there are with different user bases.  Using all the technologies to broadcast your brand to the masses online is the distributed approach that the smart guys are going to take.  If I were a wine producer, honestly, I would hire a 21-year-old to be my online marketing manager.  I would have them saturate my brand on as many viable platforms as possible, incorporating video and services like Twitter, aggregating as many friends, family, customers, and fans as possible into a movable, massive, online audience for the brand.

NM:  Would you say this all more or less hinges on changes in interstate direct-to-consumer laws?  Do you think any of it — the new tools and technologies, the news ways of reaching consumers — would still be as important were it not for those changes?

CG:  I don't think it would, not at all.  Of course, from a brand-building perspective, it would still be effective — Yellowtail could still add another 10,000 cases to their sales with a Facebook app.  Fine.  Great.  Woo-hoo.  But what we're talking about here are small producers who make under 1,000 cases of really phenomenal wine, but who can't get on the radar in 40 states!  Why shouldn't they have the opportunity to sell their wine?  Companies in wine 2.0 exist because of these barriers to sale.  And thankfully, these barriers are coming down, for the most part.  Wine is really an agricultural product that in most cultures is celebrated with the family; people grow up having wine with their families.  In the U.S., we have a great opportunity now to have that type of lifestyle and then to move it ahead.  The changes are going to make the pie bigger for the whole wine industry and that's going to be a good thing for everybody.  It'll take time, though.

NM:  How can Wine 2.0 help consumers who live in states that are still experiencing the remnants of a prohibitive retail model and therefore don't have a lot of choice in buying wine?

CG:  I think we'll help by promoting companies that are facilitating and vitalizing the direct-to-consumer model.  But overall, let me put it this way: it's only the 3rd inning of a 9-inning game.  A lot of the barriers are coming down (and some new barriers are coming up), but most states see the opportunity to 1) collect more tax and 2) provide their constituents with more consumer choice.  With that comes creativity and new opportunities for wine 2.0 companies to find the magic bullet that changes it for everyone.  There's still at least another ten years before we really start to see significant change for the wineries.  Our focus with Wine 2.0 is to provide a platform for those companies to be discovered, for those cutting edge wineries to promote themselves and identify with the consumer, and for the consumer to come out and taste those wines and discover those companies.

NM:  Your baseball analogy is quite apropos: it is too early to tell.  There's simply no clear picture on how the cards are going to fall.  After all, so much of what we've discussed has developed only in the last five, perhaps seven years.  And the interesting thing is that we've got technology on the one hand, wherein a great deal of change occurs with blazing speed, collaborating with the wine industry on the other, where relatively very little change happens over a long period of time.

CG:  There's a little Don Quixote in all of us on the Wine 2.0 side.  These are people who are really creative and love wine, who realize that the wine industry is a very large and slow-moving beast, and who think that if we could make that animal a little bit leaner, smarter, and quicker, then it would improve things.  But it is happening; I have no complaints.  On so many levels, we've moving forward and innovation is happening.



 

advertisement

1-800-FLOWERS.COM

wine in the news

Please make the Cache directory writable.

advertisement