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Social Media and the Wine Industry: A New Era

bigstock_Activitiy_Yoga_At_Sunrise_328354.jpgOrdinary wine consumers may want to skip this post.

On occasion I write purely for the wine industry, and today I'd like to address the role of social media in the wine industry. Whenever I write these kinds of things, I like to remind people that by day I run a company called HYDRANT that gets paid a lot of money to help big brands be extremely successful marketing, selling, and engaging with their customers online. In short, what follows below isn't just random opinion.

Let's be clear, first, what I mean by social media, a phrase that has become widely used but perhaps not fully understood by everyone who uses it. Social media are those channels of interaction on the internet where the public has a voice. Any outlet at which an ordinary person, free of charge, can say something, create a piece of content, react to something that someone else has created, or establish relationships with people and companies falls under the banner of social media. This, of course includes blogs and Twitter, and social networking sites like Facebook, but also bulletin boards and forums, location based services like Foursquare, image posting services like Instagram, and several other esoteric services.

Of late there have been a number of blog conversations about what wineries should be doing, if anything, about social media. Fellow blogger Joe Roberts, of 1 Wine Dude, wrote a piece entitled "Where Can Wineries Really Innovate? In Engaging the People Who Actually Drink the Stuff!" in which he accurately describes many wineries' approach to social media as some combination of fear, scorn, exhaustion, or 'can't-be-bothered.'

Joe is correct to suggest that most wineries suffer from a deficit of consumer engagement in social media and are missing a huge opportunity as a result. This is nothing new, of course. The wine industry has been one of the slowest industries to adopt internet-based technologies, barely edging ahead of pawn shops, bowling alleys, and dry cleaners in having web sites, e-mail addresses, and actually using them both.

Even though those folks making wine are often farmers first, with little interest, and sometimes less ability than they might desire to engage with technology, that no longer justifies the lack of adoption that still plagues the wine industry. In an increasingly globalized world, where consumers are living, learning, connecting, and buying online, anyone who wants to sell a product in a competitive marketplace must be engaging their customers online.

As little as five years ago this wasn't true. But the world changes very quickly these days. The problem is, reality doesn't send you a memo before it changes. Just like it didn't send the people who made Rolodexes a note about their impending obsolescence. But you better believe that one day, the folks whose entire livelihood depended upon people buying rolodexes saw the writing on the wall. Perhaps just before they smacked right into it. Wineries that fail to comprehend the way the world is moving will quickly find their customers hanging out with someone else's bottle in hand.

And before you say (ahem, Steve Heimoff) that a great score from a critic can solve this problem, I urge you to look at the hundreds of deep discounting and flash sale outlets for wine, whose primary selling tools (for the bottles that wineries are shoving their way as fast as they can sell them) happen to be critics scores. If those scores were worth something, then wineries would be selling all their wines through traditional (read: non-closeout) channels, not funneling them to outlets where they're lucky to recoup their costs. Sure, a 98 point score from the Wine Advocate will sell more wine than some outreach on Twitter, but this is the exception that proves the rule. If I had a dollar for every 94 point rated wine I've seen selling at 50% off its retail price in the last year, I could buy a case of Chateau Lafite.

For most wineries, points don't sell wines, relationships do. Relationships with people, and relationships with brands. In that way, nothing has changed, and nothing ever will. This is the way that marketing works. But the relationships that customers have with both people and brands are overwhelmingly shifting to social media, and this goes for wine as well. It may just not feel that way to most wineries yet, in the same way that the folks selling Rolodexes thought everything was perfectly fine in the few days before the Palm Pilot (or whatever electronic PDA-thing truly rang the death knell of a six pound barrel of business cards) hit the shelves.

Which brings me to something called Vintank Social Connect. I spent a little time this afternoon getting a tour of this free web application that is now in its second or third incarnation, and I have this simple thing to say about it.

Are you listening wine industry?

Any winery in the world that does not have a free account on this service, and does not spend at least an hour or two every week using it, is dumber than a bag of hammers.

Vintank's software offers wineries an incredibly sophisticated set of tools to monitor their brand presence in the sphere of social media, and to engage with their customers in this space.

The fact that this tool is available for free (and, says its provider, will always be free) is simply staggering. It may well be the single greatest gift that anyone has given the wine industry since the invention of the steel fermentation tank. I'm not kidding.

Outside the wine industry (i.e. many of my Fortune 1000 customers) pay thousands of dollars every month (gladly) for the kind of functionality that Vintank is offering every winery in the world for free. Forever.

So, what does it do?

Well, just imagine that there's this huge nightclub, that can fit hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people in it, and regularly does, night after night. And the only way anyone gets into this nightclub is if they can prove to the bouncer at the door that they enjoy and drink wine. Not so hard to do, right? OK. And then once they're in, they can buy, drink, and talk with their friends about any wine in the world. Man, I want to go already, don't you?. And then imagine every single one of those conversations they have, every comment they make, every joke they tell, every story they relate, is recorded and transcribed. And then magically, you get to read every single one of them that mentions you.

Wouldn't you want to do that? Wouldn't you want to know what people are saying about you and your brand(s)? Wouldn't you be at all curious about whether people actually recommended your wines, or tweeted to their friends how much they sucked? Or want to know when a blogger reviewed your wine, or when someone complained on a wine bulletin board about an unusually high percentage of cork tainted bottles in their annual allocation?

If you answered no to those questions, then I can promise you that you will one day reap the bitter harvest of your own ignorance. If you answered yes, then you're thirty seconds and a free online account away from having the answers to all of them.

Vintank's Social Connect software mines millions upon millions of conversations about wine that take place in the social media sphere, and reports to you what people are saying about you and your products. It tells you who is saying it, where they said it, and helps you understand how influential those people might be. Simple as that.

It does a lot more, for those who want to dive into the world of Customer Relationship Marketing, but for many wineries, that may be leaping into the deep end of the pool too quickly. For most, it's enough to be able to see what people are saying about you, and to respond. And that would be a huge leap forward for most wineries. A leap they desperately need to make.

I have no relationship to the company Vintank, nor anything to gain by making this recommendation, other than a desire to prod the wine industry to make use of technology trends that many other industries are embracing, and profiting from, much more rapidly.

Facebook will have its IPO in the coming months. As part of its filing, it had to disclose its financials for the first time, which included $1 billion of yearly profit, representing a net margin of around 30%. That is but a tiny slice of the value that social media is producing in today's economy. Hundreds of businesses, some of them worth billions of dollars, have sprung up solely because of the functionality that Facebook has provided to the world.

It's time for the wine industry to stop treating social media like a newfangled gizmo, and start doing business with it.

Sunrise image courtesy of BigStock.

Comments (36)

02.03.12 at 3:24 AM

We've all seen the trends toward an "all seeing (internet) eye", but, at first, the advertising possibilities are unlimited. Do you have any idea which wineries are using this, or is that part of VinTanks privacy policy? When the supposed ALL wineries are on board with this, don't we go back to a level playing field, or will it be some unforeseen technology ladder yet to be climbed?
One question that I wondered about for some time now: discounted "94 point wines", hasn't that always been the CASE? In manufacturing "just in time" works, but isn't agriculture a different animal? Sorry for so many questions. Small wineries that appeal to locals or a 'cult' following may be interested in this for fun rather than necessity?

Erica wrote:
02.03.12 at 4:20 AM

Interesting thoughts - had a twitter discussion w Joe (and Jeremy Seyess, who is of an alternate opinion) on this. The gist of it was that if you have proven yourself and have a cult status and loyal following, maybe you don't have to communicate as much with general drinkers. Everyone else should. Sure, make the wine you want, but listen to your consumers, potential consumers, and make sure they also get the idea behind your wine. Not (only) the days of maceration, but rather the feelings, ideas, sense of place you can give them that make the experie

Erica wrote:
02.03.12 at 4:21 AM

(hm, got cut off?)...ence greater than simply the flavor and scent of the wine.

1winedude wrote:
02.03.12 at 5:52 AM

Alder - thanks for the mention and the cogent writing on the topic! I know we're gonna get haters complaining about this soon: Alder has too vested an interest in this because of hIs day job, blogs don't sell anywhere near as much wine as print pubs right now, etc. those who see past all of that and into the future will realize that the focus and resulting sales will continue to shift slowly and likely will favor a multi-pronged approach of hitting big pubs and ads and seeing what sticks, engaging. bloggers with the right audiences, and better yet engaging customers directly one on one. Cheers!!

02.03.12 at 6:40 AM

Great article! I attended Zinfest last weekend and was surprised at how many wineries were in denial about social media - Twitter in particular.

02.03.12 at 7:02 AM

Excellent post. Vintank has been an excellent resourse for Acorn. Still a bit behind v/v Twitter, but we're beginning to "get it". Thanks for the nudge.

Richard wrote:
02.03.12 at 7:52 AM

Good advice .. social media is not a solution in itself but simply another tool to help wineries better understand and reach their customers. Vintank's Social Connect helps jumpstart that conversation at no cost to wineries (other than time of course). Not all wineries will be successful. This is a tool and usage will vary. Agree that for cult wines this may not be necessary, but for anyone else... the vast majority, this could make a major positive difference in their business.

Ed Thralls wrote:
02.03.12 at 8:06 AM


Fantastic post and perspective on social media for wineries. One key thing to keep in mind when a winery considering to jump into social media is that they can take on as much as they can handle rather than having to go balls out of the gate, which can definitely sounds (and is) overwhelming. However, it is foolish, as you pointed out, to not be there at all in some capacity. It's like not showing up behind the counter in your tasting room, or not answering your customer service emails or phone calls.

As the social media manager for 8 winery brands (and growing) as part of the Vintage Wine Estates family, we feel we are blazing a trail well ahead of the rest of the industry. We have been using Vintank Social Connect for almost 2 years and with the continuous enhancements and soon to be developed SCRM capabilities, it is a powerful tool for our industry. I make a point of checking wine conversations in this tool for every brand every Monday morning.


Ryan wrote:
02.03.12 at 8:41 AM

While I agree wineries should get onboard and use tools like Social Connect, one winemaker friend of mine pointed out a gaping hole in this theory. The Buyer.

With gate keepers still taking the lazy route to buying wine, I'm talking importers here, we need them to value social media first. When an importer stops asking how many points a wine has and it's production levels and starts asking if the wineries social media profile is strong, then we will see change.

Too many wine importers are still not using social media to find new brands, and to choose among brands. This will change, but we're not there yet. Maybe a swell of support from the winemakers will change this, but I think that for the majority(in Europe), the rule is: Invest in what the importer asks me to. And right now most of them are not asking for their twitter id. :)

Alder wrote:
02.03.12 at 9:09 AM


I believe about 2000 wineries have created accounts on Vintank. When ALL wineries are using this platform, the playing field will only be as level as the marketplace was without it. Some wineries will use customer engagement to their advantage, some will not. Listening to and responding to the conversations on the internet about your brand is the equivalent of being friendly and helpful when people walk into your tasting room. Do some people deliberately offer phenomenal tasting room experiences? You bet. Others just have a tasting room.

I could be wrong about this, but I believe 94 point wines have NEVER been as deeply discounted or as widely discounted as they are right now, ESPECIALLY to the consumer. The marketplace for selling these wines at a steep discount is totally and completely different than it was 15 years ago. 15 years ago the majority of discounting at a deep level (much less when the economy was strong) was done through the three tier system and the margins absorbed by distributors and retailers. These days those discounts are available to consumers, and there's a lot of wine to move.

A winery that sells every single one of its bottles to mailing list customers who are piled deep waiting to buy STILL should be using this software, for the same reason that they care about returning phone calls from those customers. Just because you sell the shit out of your wine, that doesn't exempt you from building good relationships. You know the adage about how an existing customer is much less expensive to keep than finding a new one? That's an economic truth, and the reason that when you complain about JetBlue on twitter, someone actually responds. Because by doing so, that company earns your trust and loyalty, not to mention learns how to do its job better so that you continue to be willing to give them your money. This is no different.

Richard, above, has it right. Social media is not a solution, but a tool for understanding and interacting with customers.

Ryan, social media is fundamentally about wineries connecting with consumers, because consumers are the ones spending the most time in the social medium. Yes, buyers may not be using social media to choose which wines to put in their portfolio, but they are making those decisions based on what they think they can sell (some implicit sense of what the demand might be for the wine). To the extent that wineries can use social media to create a strong and loyal following among consumers, that demand will trickle up (can I coin that term!?) into the three tier system in the same way that demand for Pinot Noir did after Sideways. Social media campaigns will very rarely ever have the same impact as Sideways did, but they will influence consumers, and those consumers will buy what they buy, and those who supply wine will constantly keep trying to sell the things that consumers want to purchase.

Ryan wrote:
02.03.12 at 9:31 AM

Alder we agree...but if your a winery here, and an importer comes to you, they are not asking if you have a social media profile, yet.

Consumers may drive demand at some point, but it's way too fractured for that. To many voices, big and small. And the consumer will buy what is available. So Social Media works great if your in a market and have the opportunity to point someone to a shelf with your wine on it.

Yet it is not very good for a small winery trying to open a market, or at least it's not the same equation.

I'm all for them using it and I think it's vital, but we do need to see more "buyers" valuing wineries who use it. Right now it's queueing up behind: Price Points, Pretty label, quantities...

1WineDude wrote:
02.03.12 at 9:43 AM

Ryan - all true, but the point is that producers can ALSO go directly to the source, one-on-one, and talk with consumers. That's real power and real opportunity being left on the table by those who don't do it. It's got challenges (3-tier, anyone? :), but that doesn't mean it isn't worth their time exploring.

Greg wrote:
02.03.12 at 9:57 AM

If a winery or an importer is selling through the daily deal sites it doesn't necessarily mean the wines are close-outs and they are taking a bath in the sale. Without distributor and retail margins 1 40-50% discount still leaves good margin for the winery. These sites can sell a lot of wine while reaching new customers. If only, the winery knew who actually bought their wines then there could be engagement for add on sales.

02.03.12 at 10:00 AM

With regards to Alder's point about the deeply discounted 94-pt wines there is a corollary about the 100-pt system. 94-pt wines used to be rare and some of the best wines in the world. Now, 94 points is run of the mill (well almost). As critics who use this system keep inflating scores to remain salient, they are ruining the system for themselves. It already has been reduced to a 10-pt scale and pretty soon it will be binary (>95 pts or not). That is not sustainable. The genius of the 100-pt system is its ability to sell wine and sell it well. A binary system does not differentiate the good wine from the great wine from the truly extraordinary wine.

But I digress.

BTW - great post on social media!

Tim McDonald wrote:
02.03.12 at 10:12 AM

Alder you are dead on....And the one thing you need to add as a general thought is that wineries still have wholesalers in the field coast to coast creating relationships and distribution. The VinTank Social Connect I have been using since it was founded and they charged for it. Then it was worth the fee! Now it is free (way worth it!)and a super way to get/stay connected to consumers and tell other consumers to try your brand. The more sampling that goes on in the marketplace the more wine the brand sells. We all need the gatekeepers and the trade to keep telling the story and the sustain the relationships. I believe that showing up at tastings like ZAP or even forwarding samples to traditional and digital media combined makes sense. The brands with the most "friends" wins. After all, there are 125,000 labels approved by TTB every year and only 365 drinking opportunities a year...nicely done! I love Social Connect and everyone should figure it out and use. Cheers!

Tia Butts wrote:
02.03.12 at 11:24 AM

Thanks for the great post, Alder. The agency looked at Vintank's service twice but it was early on in it's development and at the time did not have all the information and data we desired. So, we opted to pay for another service. Perhaps it's time to check it out again. And, it's free! A terrific service for many wineries. Why not?

02.03.12 at 11:37 AM

Alder- AMEN!!! Thanks for throwing your weight behind what many of us have been thinking and saying for sometime now. The Vintank Social Connect suite is an incredible asset to wineries and plays a very important role in the three brands that I manage.

I think one of the biggest obstacles to wineries throwing more effort behind social media is that they see it has an add-on to business as usual instead of fundamentally changing the marketing paradigm. I bet there were a lot of people who held on to their rolodexes even though they also used their palm pilot, thus making life more complicated rather than simple until they realized that by getting rid of the one (rolodex) and focusing time on the other that the workflow was actually much more efficient.

Scores don't sell wine people do and they do so through relationships, social media has just made it that much easier to foster those relationships and actually change the flow of communication from one-way (brand controlled) to two way (consumer controlled).

Any brand that uses flash-sale websites is responsible for their own brands demise!

El Jefe wrote:
02.03.12 at 11:46 AM

Tim - You never open a second bottle? ;)

Ryan does make a good point, and it also applies to distributors. My distributors range from total indifference to SM, to surprise that I got people to come to a tasting via SM, to (in only one case) being aware enough to ask me to promote something via SM. I understand some distributors even see SM as a threat, because they think SM leads to direct sales. This too shall pass.

Anyway, great writeup on a great resource! One thing to mention is that a key part of the Social Connect service is your wine database. Wineries should at least take the time to enter their basic wine info - for two reasons: one is that this data is then syndicated to many other websites, so that your wines are represented consistently across the web; and the other is that this data either is or will soon be used to make your Social Connect even more relevant.

Paul Mabray wrote:
02.03.12 at 12:31 PM

Thank you for such a kind write up. I completely agree, social is now an essential part of any company's toolkit just as a phone, a fax, or an email became in the past.

We are working crazy hard to bring meaningful tools to the wine industry to see conversations about their brand and connect them with their social customers. We hope that our free service will help them better understand what is being said about their wines and help them connect and retain their customers in more meaningful and economical ways. We truly believe in the success of wineries online and it has been part of our ethos since the day we founded VinTank.

As it relates to our software, we often joke that we are "the social answering machine for the wine industry." All messages come to them through us and they choose how they want to answer (not at all, back through social, email, phone, smoke signals, or a myriad of other choices). We also work very hard to give them context about their customers. In our mind, the customer + context is king.

Thank you again for your great perspective on the intersection of wine and social media. Per our promise, will keep moving forward hard to help wineries succeed in this new and important channel.

Wine online, we believe.

02.03.12 at 7:22 PM

OK, I will finally chime in on this topic. I read 1WineDudes and Steves posts this week...and countless others.

I have a shitload to say but I will try to sum it up with this...

Social Media is a two-way street.

As a winery owner/winemaker and a software engineer, I understand the topic and my brand has been social and on Vintank before we had a bottle to sell. We wanted to generate buzz about a new WA winery using the technologies.

Vintank's product only works if there are people talking about your brand!!!

Nowhere in any of 1WineDude, Steve's or this post commenters have mentioned that if a winery posts 10 thousand social posts a day...and not one person responds...it just goes away...poof.

I keep a blog on Blogger, we have the FB and Twitter. My website is SEO'd. We do it all...

AND!!! All we ask is that our customers recipicate by "liking" us or joining our newsletter or Yelping about us...good or bad.

My winery is active in social media..I just wish my customers were.


02.04.12 at 1:25 AM

Great post Alder.
I'm truly convinced that social media is a must for wineries and today it is a lot more than yesterday. In our daily job, we can see dozens of conversions happen at anytime. Every minutes, every hours, every days. Each single content given by a winery or any other wine-related professional to the community, opens a door for potentially infinite relations.

Contents (photos, videos, reviews, posts, etc.) open doors and the most you (winery) do it with passion and transparency, the most you get back in the medium-long time. To give before to get. This is the mantra I always repeat to all those wineries that start their way on SM.

About sells, I think we're right in the middle of a breaking change in the market paradigm. Thanks to the internet and social media, we're going very fast to disintermediation. The disintermediation process, if you think about it, is the most natural thing that you can expect when someone who sell somehting, meet someone who loves (and perhaps buys) that stuff.

In this environment, to engage in social media stuff becomes vital.

Cheers from Italy, Fil.

Maitre T wrote:
02.04.12 at 6:28 AM

We have used VinTank for nearly two years and it is a very valuable tool.
What still eludes us is understanding who our social customers are. Thus we are looking forward to the new SCRM tool. Cursory analysis of our network shows that our social customers skew local(! - where's the worldwide network effect?), female and are not interested in commerce (not a single coupon redemption!). We have over 3,000 FB fans but little true engagement beyond "you rock" type comments and no sharing between fans (true social conversation). Since the half life of a tweet or wall post is about 2 hours most of your network never sees most of what any winery posts. Ubiquitous frictionless sharing will only exacerbate this issue. While there is clearly great potential in social, I don't think anybody in the wine business has a good handle on it now and we still need a lot of work to find out what works for our industry.

Randy Sloan wrote:
02.04.12 at 3:58 PM

Thanks, Alder. I will definitely check out VinTank.

02.05.12 at 3:08 AM

Weird coincidence: I just started a vintank account a few days ago. It's pretty outstanding. I'll write about this in greater length later on in the year. But I'm impressed so far by a lot of the features. For one thing, I can finally see when people mention me by name without seeing ALL the conversations about other Ryan O'Connells (there are a lot of us). And I'm also saving a bit of time since I don't have to look at five or six different RSS Google Alerts and twitter searches separately. But I don't know if I'm ready to recommend it to all winemakers in my neighborhood yet. It's a lot of information to process at first. I think google alerts are a nice first step that show them a conversation is happening about them without overwhelming them with every conversation that is happening. And it also has the advantage of working through email, one of the few online tools that virtually everybody knows how to use. Interfaces like facebook's or vintank's are intuitive to an extent, but a lot of farmers still have a very hard time in the first few hours.

Anyway, great article. I can't wait to hang out with you when I come to California :)

Marc Jardine wrote:
02.06.12 at 8:32 AM

Excellent post Alder, and just as true for non-US wineries of course: we're seeing a lot more uptake in social media for Australian and New Zealand wineries now, but my own particular frustration is that more often than not the winemakers are chatting to each other, not to consumers. It will change of course, but it's slow, often painful progress.

02.06.12 at 9:43 AM

"Sure, a 98 point score from the Wine Advocate will sell more wine than some outreach on Twitter, but this is the exception that proves the rule. If I had a dollar for every 94 point rated wine I've seen selling at 50% off its retail price in the last year, I could buy a case of Chateau Lafite."
Thanks for pointing this out so succinctly. For years, market research surveys and consumer experiments have shown the power of ratings are exaggerated. They often function more as a trade filter than a generator of consumer pull. Many people ITB just don't want to believe it.

Steve Bowden wrote:
02.06.12 at 9:49 AM

I agree with most of the post and have been a Vintank Social Connect customer for quite some time. We also search Twitter, Yelp and a variety of other channels using other tools. I do take exception to Alder's point about flash sites. Let's recall what happened in 2008 -- the worst U.S. Recession in history. Let's also recall a huge 2005 harvest and above average 2006 harvest. Now let's dust of the Economics textbook and review the chapters on supply and demand. The wine industry was grossly over-supplied and the recession caused anemic demand (at old prices). All wineries that I know of (even those deep into Social Media) tried all avenues to move their wine supply (house database, Social, friends & family, tasting room, etc). Now, what happens when you still have excess inventory. Again, economics tells us that profit maximization happens where marginal costs equal marginal revenues. That is, the last bottle you sell should at least cover variable costs. All businesses require cash. If you've exhausted other avenues and you can use a flash site and still generate marginal cash flow and reduce carrying costs, why wouldn't you? Now that supply is coming into balance, you will see fewer flash offers for domestic brands EXCEPT those that have no better distribution channel. Social Media is an important channel and should be nurtured. But let's not lose sight of the basic economics that allow us to keep a business going.

Alder wrote:
02.06.12 at 9:57 AM


Thanks for the comments. I think you breezed over one crucial point "EXCEPT those that have no better distribution channel." Doesn't this represent a large and growing chunk of the domestic market?

02.06.12 at 3:03 PM

Wish I had known of VinTank a year ago, when there was talk of my husband's and my wine label, The Grande Dalles, floating around on a discussion between VinTank and Snooth Founder Phil James (The Truth About Snooth Data -1/23/11).

James was sharing a story about how when Snooth links itself to a winery, it changes business overnite. James used The Grande Dalles as an example, claiming "Our post generated so much sympathy for their struggle"--which it did--"and so much support for their cause that our users cleared out the winery's entire inventory"--not true AT ALL--" and the owners phoned us up in tears telling us we’d saved their livelihood." No we didn't! The only tears were from Snooth's story having no sales impact at all!

There's so much false information out there, IF i had been signed up with VinTank THEN, I could've joined in the conversation and cleared up that little false tidbit which would've contributed more to the point VinTank was making. Oh well. I'm signed up now --

Thanks, Alder, for the kick in the behind!

Gregory Dal Piaz wrote:
02.08.12 at 9:22 AM

First off Stephanie, I want to apologize to you on behalf of Snooth. I have no idea where this story ran, and had no input in the information used. I know that you spoke with Carly Wray, who wrote the story about your winery, and followed up with thanks. I will follow up with Carly to confirm this portion of the story.

Philip James is no longer involved with the daily operations of Snooth, having moved on to form and run another company. I don't know if he misheard the communications between you and Carly, but allow me to assure you that no one in Snooth's editorial department, past or present has made such claims.

We have been working diligently to build trust in Snooth and it saddens me to discover lingering incidents that make this task all the more difficult. Please, if anyone has any additional questions about this, or any other issue please feel free to contact me ( Gregory at Snooth). I can not control the actions of other people but I am more than willing to set the record straight where need be.

Rich Tomko wrote:
02.08.12 at 10:02 AM

Hi Stephanie

Just wanted to add a thought to GDP's thought immediately above. My name is Rich Tomko and I joined Snooth as CEO 18 months ago. It's disappointing to hear that your recollection differs from that which was recanted by Philip, who had heard the details from our writer. When I talked with Phil last night, his recalled the story (posted in July 2010, http://www.snooth.com/articles/the-grand-dalles/) and the empathic responses it generated from our users (35 comments, including several from you and your husband) and was surprised to hear that the facts were in dispute. I'm not certain why the stories don't line up - for that I apologize. It's very likely a simple miscommunication and I agree, if you had been aware, it would have been great to clear up the details asap.

Regardless, I don't believe we wrote the story with any ill intent - quite the opposite - nor did we consciously intend to lie about it's impact. As I read the original story/comments last night for the first time, I would have guessed our readers provided some encouragement for your venture at a time when it may have been most needed. I hope that was the case.

We work very hard each day trying to help consumers be better educated about wine and to make smart purchasing decisions and we certainly appreciate everyone's continued support as we try to do our small part in getting more folks excited about wine. If anyone would like to reach out directly with a thought or question, I'm at [email protected] or @rtomko

02.08.12 at 5:30 PM

First, Alder, sorry to hijack the site for this brief comment to respond to Gregory and Rich in a general sense....

1. My comment RE Phillip James had nothing to do with the most lovely article about my husband's and my vineyard and wine endeavor, The Grande Dalles, written by Snooth's own, Carly Wray: http://www.snooth.com/articles/the-grand-dalles/)/

2. What it DOES have to do with is a piece written by Phillip James I ran across on VinTank http://www.vintank.com/2011/01/the-truth-about-snooth-data/ that had some crazy false information James was presenting as fact.

Therein lies the confusion.

Thanks -

Mary wrote:
02.19.12 at 2:05 AM

Interesting blog and following commentary.
Social media offers exciting opportunities for marketing wines.

02.21.12 at 2:12 AM

Getting wineries started on social media is a big task. I've recently published an e-book guide Effective Tweeting for Wineries. (it's on Amazon) I hope it helps some wineries break the ice with the chattiest but most approachable channel.

But I fear it is a long road ahead. The internet took off more than a decade ago and most wineries still have poorly trafficked websites.

Sophia wrote:
02.22.12 at 5:52 AM

Wonderful article and quite perfect timing! I was just debating this topic some friends in the wine industry as they don't think social media is an effective tool ... this article really helps prove my point. Emailing it to them now with the subject "IN YO FACE"

Louella wrote:
10.22.14 at 12:31 AM

First, it's a fantastic idea to make sure that those working in these
departments have a thorough understanding and level of experience dealing with things like different cultures, countries, and languages.

Usually, the process includes submitting a transcript, an essay, and sometimes an interview.
Studying overseas is greatly considered by parents who have
children about to enter college or take after graduate studies.

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