Three Ways Wineries Have Optimized the Virtual Space

Many parts of the country fought cold weather and pre-vaccine conditions last winter, leading them to prioritize hosting virtual events and use social media platforms to connect with consumers. 

With necessity being the mother of invention, wineries have found that engaging virtually with their customers was a worthwhile tool to keep at their disposal and have continued to use online events in a complementary manner, seeing them as valuable even in good times.

Here are three ways companies have utilized the virtual space to connect with customers.

Celebrating significant milestones

Companies both big and small have explored ways to connect virtually with their customers.

To celebrate its 75th anniversary, budget-friendly brand CK Mondavi and Family made an activity of it, choosing Instagram as their platform.

As part of their celebration, CK Mondavi and Family hosted a virtual happy hour where they walked viewers through how to make their take on a French 75 cocktail using their Moscato, much in the way famous gourmet cook Ina Garten did on Instagram in the early days of the pandemic when lockdowns were prevalent.

For the event, CK Mondavi and Family collaborated with Derek Kwong of Barkeep SF, who joined in on the live stream to walk people through how they made the drink.

“While we usually enjoy our wines just as they are, trying a special new wine cocktail feels extra celebratory,” said Riana Mondavi, Director of Chains-Western Region, prior to the early-October event, who also used the opportunity to connect personally with customers by sharing family memories.

Engaging with wine club members

If your winery has a wine club, you know these are loyal customers. After all, they joined because they love your product, and if you create a good experience for them, they’re going to want to keep coming back.

Newsome Harlow Winery in Murphy, California said earlier this year that virtual events had been a boon to their business and they planned to keep them around.

Proprietor Scott Klann said they started virtual tastings up in 2020 and plugged them heavily via live Facebook posts and video embedded emails, moving to video for roughly 50% of promotional e-mail and video communications.

In 2021, they were still going strong with that approach, he said, because it gave their small winery to reach a national audience and increase their sales by more than $70,000 over the previous year.

One key to a successful virtual tasting was making sure you had more than one person hosting, Klann said.

“On Wednesdays, I held tastings with my daughter,” Klann explained. “It’s extremely important to have two people on screen. The dynamic is important — you can bounce thoughts off each other. Conversation seems much more fresh and fluid that way.”

Creating Opportunities to Win

For years, William Chris Vineyards has engaged with its customers with its Artist Blend Label Contest, giving its red blend a fresh new look every year.

But now, it’s also an opportunity for customers to interact with William Chris via Instagram and increase visibility of the winery’s social media account in the process.  Artists interested in submitting must follow William Chris on Instagram, post a photo of their original artwork, and tag William Chris Vineyards in the post.

“Typically, we spread the word by utilizing social media, email marketing,” co-founder Bill Blackmon said. “From there, people tell their artist friends and family to submit their work. It’s amazing to see so many people from all over the U.S. join in on this contest.”

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