Social Media. WTF? said the kangaroo. Trust me you’ve been hearing a lot about it. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace all forms of social media. The one that’s been getting all of the press right now is Twitter. I’ve been on twitter for a while. Over a year. Longer that Ashton Kutcher and Oprah, that’s for sure. Longer than Lance Armstrong and Demi Moore too. Long before CNN heard about it. Or Britney Spears. Not as long as dolphyngyrl (by one day) or some of my friends over at SFWOW. The gals at SFWOW taught me the benefit of Twitter as a social media tool. I have two accounts. I have two brands. Some folks know that. There’s PBE where the WineDog rules the cellar and there’s my real estate business. Never the two shall meet.
Because the Today show and Good Morning America and all the Usual Suspects have picked up on Twitter, it’s been talked about alot lately. Unfortunately, and typically, they missed the point. Dearest Auntie was staying here for the last week. We got into a discussion about what Twitter was and wasn’t. Her perspective was what she’d seen on television, she didn’t really know anyone who used it. I explained to her what it was to the people who are actually successfully using it. It was fun to see the light click on. It’s a lot harder to dismiss Twitter when you know what it can do. Twitter has enabled me to become involved in some really amazing events in the wine community. I’ve met some of the right people and it’s just snowballed from there. And Ashton Kutcher isn’t one of them.
What business has discovered is that they can interact with their client base in 140 character bloglets and increase their “buzz”. In today’s business world, a lot of it is about buzz. The buzz gets the biz. It’s kind of like the latest club in the City. The club with the buzz gets the biz. I’m sure many of the clubs utilize Twitter. There is a league of wine bloggers on Twitter and a league of wineries and wine industry professionals. The wineries who are successfully using Twitter are reaching out to increase their buzz and ultimately their market share. Twisted Oak is very good at this. Generally firms will have one person assigned to the Twitter account. That person provides frequent tweets about the business. St. Supery has an account. Shaun Richardson, the winemaker at Clos Pegase has an account. We got to hear from him about bud break and their battle to preserve the crops during the recent frosts. This is stuff you’d never hear about if you didn’t follow sdrichardson on twitter. Many of the much smaller wineries are on Twitter and in those cases you get to hear from the winemaker or the owner. Coral Mustang is one of those. She makes a rockin’ Tempranillo. I’ve met several out of area realtors and we have shared marketing ideas and war stories. It’s an amazing tool. Or a giant time suck if you don’t utilize it properly. Used properly, it creates buzz, collaboration and networks.
Twitter also has numerous growth shoots. One of those is twittertastelive.com That’s where the winos go. From that events occur. The barrel tasting a few weeks ago ended in a twittertastelive event. Last Friday night was a dinner that also ended in a twittertastelive event. In these events, winos from all over the country and now a couple of other countries all assemble and taste the same wines and then “tweet” their tasting notes. The dinner itself was at a place called Estate in Sonoma just off the square. I’m not big on lamb or esoteric offerings and the main course was a little much for me. Rabbit stew over polenta. However, everything else was magnificent! Dinner was prix fixe. The event was a Rhone blend based event. Wineries sent their owners/winemakers/staff to the event to pour their wine and talk about it. Holy crap! I’m joking around about Cline’s Contra Costa grapes and here comes Jay from Cline to talk about his Contra Costa grapes. Bonny Doon was pouring, the Pax representatives were seated at our table. Most of the folks representing the various wineries were intermingled at the tables with the guests. I could do a wine review but I had so many different wines that night that my iPhone notes are a little sketchy. OK, a lot sketchy. What I can say it that it’s great to see the Rhones getting some love. I loves me some Syrah, Grenache and Mouvedre. Sometimes in the same bottle. And it’s great to be invited to participate in these sorts of events. I’ve met some amazing folks, been invited to amazing events and expanded my personal network. I’ve been referred business and I’ve referred business to others. Twitter isn’t what the media makes it out to be no more than craigslist is what the media tells us it is. And that’s a good thing.