It’s great to see wineries embrace the blogisphere and I notice new wrinkles on the Stormhoek meme most every week (the latest example by Josh over at Pinotblogger). So it was interesting to see a well known food product brand use the internet in an innovative way. If Heinz can make and sell custom labeled ketchup bottles at approximately 100% markup over their mass produced product surely a winery can crank out very small production custom labeled wine. Yea, I know there are many wineries who do custom labels, but these usually involve set-up fees that don’t make buying 1 or 2 custom labeled bottles cost effective. With the automation opportunities of the internet and open source software, I would think even the smallest winery could make something like this work… food for thought, anyway.
The folks at Don Sebastiani & Sons have recently added a video podcast to their media arsenal and it is the best I have yet seen in the genre. As someone who tried this myself, I can appreciate the slick production value that is beyond the means of indie podcasters. The very watchable first episode clocks in at just under 4 minutes but provides a lot of information and a glimpse into the Sebastiani wine company. Unlike the very scripted and sometimes wooden delivery of their off-and-on audio podcast, the video version is very slickly produced and everyone plays their parts as natural as can be expected from wine executives and their winemaker. This makes the Don Sebastiani & Sons Films video podcast the new standard bearer for the wine genre from my perspective. Subscribe here in iTunes.
The other day I blogged about Cam Wheeler’s troubles with Graeme Miller Wines for posting his opinion of some of their wines on his blog. This was after reading what others had to say and a few days after Cam had first written about his situation. Several readers commented to my post, including Joel from Wine Life Today and Vivi’s Wine Journal who spread the news further. Yesterday Tom Wark, from one of my favorite blogs FERMENTATION, picked up the story and this provoked more discussion. Now the entire wine blogisphere knows the story and I’m sure others will post more about this in the next few days. When you Google Graeme Miller Wines today, 6 of the 10 first page results are blog posts covering this episode. Within a week, I predict this will be 8 or 9 posts deep. So I’d say this qualifies as a wine marketing disaster. It also illustrates the power and reach of wine blogging. I can’t imagine an issue like this tackled from all sides in such a thoughtful and comprehensive way anywhere else.
This entire situation could have easily been avoided through direct communication with the blogger in the comments and some additional samples mailed out for retasting. Alternatively, the winery could have just done nothing and let the issue die on it’s own.
Update Aug. 2: Today’s Google of Graeme Miller Wines yields 8 of 10 posts discussing this issue including both of my posts here. If bad news travels this fast, imagine the benefits of a discussion of how good your wines are. I’ll keep track of how long it takes for these posts to clear from the Google cache.
Longtime readers here will be well acquainted with the Stormhoek meme started by Hugh Macleod of gapingvoid. I even hosted one of the Stormhoek geek dinners here last month that I am currently editing down into a podcast.
So imagine my smile when I checked my aggregator this evening and read this post. As I’ve disclosed here previously, I’m working in the wine industry now and am attempting to adapt a few Cluetrain notions to this work. I’ve been heads-down writing a marketing plan this week and grappling with the very same issues Hugh is tackling for Stormhoek. How cool is that? Well so cool that he has given me the best news yet this week:
But what if you’re like us, Stormhoek, a small South African vineyard in the middle of nowhere, thousands of miles away from your mainly British and American customers, with no marketing budget to speak of, with scores upon scores of worthy competitors, all fighting like hungry rats for ever-decreasing share of the market?
What do you do?
Well now I know… thanks, man and Skype me to compare notes anytime.
BTW, I’ll post the Stormhoek podcast Monday night that will feature a 30 minute interview with Hugh and Stormhoek’s Jason Korman and some scratchy audio from the dinner itself.