Time for a check up!

919 Calendar November Stock Videos, Footage, & 4K Video Clips - Getty Images

The calendar pages are flying away—it’s unbelievable that we’re two and a half months into a new year!

If you can, take a breath, step away from the computer…and look at your communications efforts and see how you’re doing.

Have you refreshed the copyright date at the bottom of your website?

Do you have fact sheets up on your website for all of your current releases (and likewise, downloadable bottle photos and labels)? Are the bios of your principals current, with appealing photos?

Do you have a news or blog page which has been updated since 2024 arrived?!

How often are social media posts happening? Are they a mix of ‘serious’ content and a lighter touch, with glimpses of ‘real’ people, vineyards, barrels? Can you occasionally quote from feedback from customers? What about sharing/reposting images and messages from the outside world?!

How often are you sending eblasts to your mailing list/club members? Are they always bottom-line-oriented, or are you trying to slip in occasional ones which don’t have a heavy sales message? Maybe you have a new solar array or are planting a new varietal or one of the wines has won a big award?

Anything to re-think about the tasting room experience? Lately I’ve been hearing back that visitors to tasting rooms are uncomfortable with heavy-handed “join our club” focus as wines are being presented.

Good old-fashioned public relations! Do you have a new winemaker? New certification for the vineyard? A new distributor or importer? There may be news lurking in your world which could be announced and attract some eyeballs.

Good old-fashioned community relations! Do you supply rack cards to hotels or tourist-welcome offices? Is that card correct and up-to-date or does it maybe need a refresh? Do you visit local concierges with gift bottles and rack cards? If not, might that be an idea?

Sugar & Spice

Personality! Are there local issues where the winery should have a voice? Those might be politics or not…but subjects where neighbors and customers might like to learn that the winery is a long-time supporter of the local Boy Scout troop….or children’s art center….or a local horse rescue organization.

Speak up and speak out. Every gesture you make can generate that slight increase in awareness which may or may not be scientifically measurable but may cause one more car to turn into your parking lot!

A post which should have appeared at the end of 2023: with apologies!

It’s OND, guys! All of us in the wine business are scurrying to handle the last three months of the year uptick in sales. At the same time we’re seeing some prognosticators predicting dire times.

I’d like to take an entirely different tack. If you take a quick trip around the internet to see how wineries and wine-related entities are communicating, there’s a lot of good cheer, and most importantly, clever and memorable messages happening. Wineries telling personal stories, pulling the curtain back to share behind-the-scenes moments, moments of humor and fun.

For example, did you know you could saber a Champagne bottle on the slopes? Maximilian Riedel shared how to do it.  What about helping your customers wrap a bottle?!

Want to brush up on bilateral cordons? Stu steps in. Or what about letting a winery transport you to Japan for a sushi-making lesson?

Don’t you need a Christmas sweater? Dave Phinney has one for you.

Share your creativity with a unique way to share holiday spirit.

A moment of beauty in the vineyard, a drone capturing erosion control or just sharing an iconic Italian landscape.

and the footprints of a visiting bear.

Hats off to Inglenook, who welcomed the community and the St. Helena Community Band in its historic setting.

Jean-Charles really did it, in his leopard boxers, jumping in to stomp grapes in his boxers.

And Josh took the challenge from the cellar crew to dig out a tank.

Don’t forget the obvious: what does your tasting room look like, all decked out for the holidays?! Wintry weather scenes are always appealing too.

Photogenic young winemakers are the focus of a tongue-in-cheek series in Bordeaux.

Then there’s aspirational imagery, enjoying gold dust on your cappuccino on your travels.

Or sharing the winery dog’s adventures, from naughty to nice.

My advice?

“Crank up” that iPhone! Don’t worry about how polished your vignette may or may not be: if it shares a ‘real’ moment in the life of your winery, go for it, share it, give it a fun caption! You never know what kind of virality you might possibly spark!