I’ve been following with interest the Stormhoek meme started by Hugh MacLeod over at gapingvoid. Stormhoek is a small South African winery specializing in Sauvignon Blanc, a varietal usually not associated with the region. They are also in the hyper-competitive price range dominated by New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
So what did Hugh prescribe to double their sales in 2005? Set up a blog and send out wine to bloggers with no strings attached. Although there were some wine bloggers in the mix, most were non-wine and food centric and just posted about how they thought the wine tasted. Since Stormhoek is not yet available in the U.S., I haven’t had the chance to sample the wine but I am fascinated at how this inexpensive tactic contributed to such results.
I’ve been tracking winery blogs for some time here, but have only found 15 in the world so far (if your winery blog is not yet listed, please send me your link). Why so few when there are over 2,400 wineries in California alone and the cost of blogging is near zero? Most likely it is that blogging is not well understood in the wine industry and its benefits don’t seem that compelling over having a website. But given Stormhoek’s success in this area, I expect more wineries to try their hand at blogging (and maybe podcasting) in 2006. It will also be interesting to see if Stormhoek is able to carve out a niche in North America as they have done in the U.K. and Ireland. I am looking very much forward to receiving my sample in the new year and telling you all about it here. I will also attempt to explain the benefits of blogging and podcasting in the context of the wine world; watch this feed in the coming days…
From Hugh’s blog it would seem that the sample send out idea is to be launched in America shortly. Hopefully you will be able to get yourself a bottle!
I had the chance to chat with an Australian winemaker about blogging and his reaction was disappointing. More of the story here: http://www.aws.ca/blog/2005/11/blogging-winemakers.html