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Day 2 Wine Vision News Blog: Social media is key for producers going direct to consumers

Published:  19 November, 2014

Wine producers need to use social media more effectively to drive sales of their own wines be it going direct to consumers or through traditional retail channels, according to innovative wineries speaking at today's Wine Vision.

Stephen Cronk of Mirabeau Wines said he has managed to convince Waitrose to give his wines nationwide distribution after starting out "on the bottom shelf of 60 stores" as he has used his fan base on social media to help shift the wines.

Cronk came to notoriety earlier in the year when his YouTube video showing how to open a bottle of wine by banging it in a shoe against a wall went viral chalking up near on 8 million views. He is now able to use that YouTube subscriber database to help promote and drive consumers to Waitrose and other channels to buy his wines.


Opening bottle of wine with a shoe

All of which, he said, he has been able to do on a tiny marketing budget.

He was speaking at a panel on the second day of the Wine Vision event being held at London's Hurlingham Club.

Reka Haros of the small Sfriso Winery in Italy told the conference that she changed her business strategy in 2011 to go direct to consumers driven by building a loyal audience through social media. Instead of worrying about how to see her wine through the traditional wine channels, she has built friends and loyalty through social media.

Now, she explained, she will have friends of friends coming to our site to buy wine without even tasting it first due to the power of social media. "You are not selling wine, you are selling an experience," she said. "It is the experience that makes wine work."

By going direct she can "demystify" wine. She says simply "chit chatting" to her customers online is how she directs her marketing strategy.

Cronk admitted he did not know which of the social media platforms he uses is the most effective but it was important to keep on top of them all as they are constantly changing.

Dr Damien Wilson of the Burgundy School of Business said producers that simply relied on their name, reputation and history were becoming obsolete in this new way of direct marketing. You have to be more personal and help consumers "petrified" about wine feel comfortable enough to buy it.