Article 2 of 4: Wine Road Barrel Tasting & Social Media – Optimizing Your Event

I generally try to keep my articles focused on Consumers, and not tie in the occasional Social Media, Marketing consulting that I do. However given that the blog does have many Winery readers, I thought I’d share a small excerpt from a recent presentation.

I have a more detailed presentation on the relevance of Social Media, branding, and consumer interaction. I’ll Cliff Note it here to say: if you aren’t actively communicating with consumers via Social Media ask yourself why. Facebook has 400 million users, who spend an average of an hour a day, 4+ times a week, with an average 130 friends each.  Numerous case studies show the positive financial benefit, and increased customer loyalty via a well run Fan page.

The last Wine Road event; Winter Wineland had many success stories, attributed to heightened consumer awareness, via Social Media. It was my personal experience from polling wineries: those active in Social Media achieved positive sales and growth attendance over the previous year.  Catch the wave!

Wine Road Barrel Tasting is widely attended both by the local Bay area, as well as people who fly in from all over the US, many on a ‘stock up’ buying trip. Here are some suggestions to help increase ‘buzz’, traffic, and perception.


  • Facebook: Promote your event on Facebook with an ‘Event’ and via Status Updates. Too many businesses overlook the value of the Facebook event feature: Consumers can RVSP to an event; Share it on their Wall, or even Export it right to their Smartphone calendar. (This is how many events get on my Blog Calendar.)
  • Twitter: If you are only using Twitter on a web browser, you are missing 90% of its intrinsic value. Use the Tweetdeck application to scan for attendees via hashtags and key words #barreltasting, #sonoma, #drycreekvalley etc. This is fast and easy, and websites like Mashable offer tips on how.
  • Put event details, info on your website, email your wine club members, and your consumer Newsletter lists, since they Opted in to receive email.
  • Offer sales promotions on excess inventory for larger purchases, and additional incentives for new Wine Club members.
  • Offer a 4Square Promo for checking in: Visit Discounts, Event drawings, etc

General Tips (not Social Media related)

  • Have knowledgeable staff on hand, and train them how to pick out the serious wine enthusiast from the party-mongers.
  • Have a Pep talk with staff, set expectations. The tasting room experience defines the impression of each visitor, what they buy, if they join the wine club, or will ever return. Yes, barrel tasting gets crazy, but customer service must remain a top focus. At least if you hope to sell some wine.
  • Get some volunteers to help with parking guidance, greeting, tracking visitors.

During Event

  • Social Networking is viral; its success is based on others spreading ‘your’ words, posts. Make it easy for them.
  • Many areas in Dry Creek, others have poor cell coverage. Most smartphones can use WiFi when cell coverage is poor. Consider spending $50-$100 at Best Buy and install second basic WiFi router that’s open for attendee.  You can share the same broadband Internet connection, but do  keep it separate and secure from your work network. Get your local IT person, or Geek Squad to help, it’s not hard.
  • Get a PC or Laptop and set up a customer Social Media Station; encourage them use Facebook and Twitter and share their experience. You can also create a sign-up page for mailing lists.
  • Have an employee (or you) occasionally post on Facebook and Twitter; pics, fun comments. The occasional promotional post is ok, but your primary goal is interactivity and audience participation.
  • Track attendees, sales, wine poured, new Wine Club Members: create an ROI. Also track post event, correlated DTC transactions. How can you measure the benefits of marketing initiatives if you don’t keep track?
  • Offer sales incentives on inventory, Wine Club: upsell.
  • Promote but don’t hard sell the Wine Club. People should hear about it, but don’t be overly aggressive, it’s a turn-off.
  • Get visitors to sign up for email updates

Use as many consumer touch points as you can!

It will be busy, but have fun, and more importantly make sure you visitors will have fun. Remember, for the visiting consumer, it’s often as much about the personal experience as the wine, so do the best you can to ensure visitors have a positive experience, so they will buy wine, tell friends, and come back!

Hope that was helpful; questions, comments always welcome.


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