How Wine Lovers Use Social Media
Wine and social media have created an incredible force within the industry.
Twitter. Facebook. Blogs and videos. With all the various ways to communicate about wine (and myriad other pursuits), it’s a wonder we have any time left to sip and relax.
But social media gurus say that tweeting and blogging can help us enjoy our favorite tipple. “Wine is a very social beverage,” says Warren Sukernek, VP of Strategies for Lift9, a Seattle-based social media marketing firm. “The whole experience is definitely enhanced for enthusiasts when you’re talking to others about it, whether it’s exploring new wines or comparing tasting notes.”
This may be why, according to a new study from Lift9, 700,000 people watch wine-related videos each month. There are over 7,000 wine tweets per day, and over 1,300 bloggers focusing on wine. And the wine experience has become portable, with more than 300 iPhone apps.
We asked Lift9 to share with us the top clicks in the social media realm, and how each tool is being used.
Most-watched Wine Videos
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most-watched online videos are not educational, but entertainment-oriented. “The ones that become viral are the comical ones,” observes John Song, president of Lift9. “They’re not experts.”
1. Wine in an upside down glass trick
2. Drink to your health
3. Borat’s guide to wine tasting
Top Wine Blogs (measured by frequency in audience interaction over the previous 3 months)
The action on the top blogs centers around getting and giving specific recommendations. “People have the impression that wine is stuffy and asking questions might be difficult in a store,” Sukernuk explains. “But on social media, they can get all kinds of advice from peers.”
1. Wine Library TV
2. 1 Wine Dude
Top Wine Tweeters (measured by number of followers)
In the 140-character world of Twitter, what brings in the followers is equal parts relevance and entertainment. The top Tweeters also are the ones who also take time to respond to followers.
Top Facebook Fan Pages (measured by number of fans/friends)
Note that all three are wineries, not wine critics or personalities. According to Song, “engagement” is what differentiates these three from the pack. “There’s a lot of activity, both from the vineyard and the fans, talking about their experience, sharing it. There’s images, videos, even events for customers and fans, giving them a reason to return and participate.”
(And if you’re wondering why Jancis Robinson doesn’t dominate Facebook the way she does Twitter: she doesn’t have a page. She noted recently on Twitter, “My kids won’t let me do Facebook.”)
1. Barefoot Wine & Bubbly
2. Due vigne di familia
3. Bounty Hunter Rare Wine & Provisions
Most-searched Wine Terms
Screening out the most obvious terms (“wine,” “alcohol,” etc.), the wine terms most often searched on the Internet are:
2. Red wine
7. White wine
And. . . Social Media at Wine Enthusiast
Here at Wine Enthusiast we’ve fully embraced social media in its myriad forms. For years our New York-based editors have been blogging; videos, discussion topics and event notifications are posed daily on our company facebook page and in addition to the company’s general twitter reports both Senior Editor and Tasting Direcor Joe Czerwinski and Assistant Tasting Director Lauren Buzzeo have their own followers (@joecz and @laurbuzz respectively). Newer developments include: the digital version of our magazine available on Zinio; our iPhone and Blackberry app, where you can access reviews, ratings and retail prices for over 75,000 wines wordwide, and our just-launched wine chooser facebook app, which recommends different wines for different occasions. Whatever your preferred social media platfor, we’re there.
Kara Newman is a wine & spirits writer, author, and shameless user of social media. Follow her on Twitter (@karanewman) or visit the Spice & Ice blog.
Drinking With Your Eyes: How Wine Labels Trick Us Into Buying
We’re all guilty of it. Even if we don’t want to admit it, we’ve all been suckered into grabbing a bottle of wine off the grocery store shelf just because of what’s on the label. Seriously, who can resist the “see no evil” monkeys on a bottle of Pinot Evil?
But the tricks that get us to buy a $9 bottle of chardonnay — or splurge on a $40 pinot noir — are way more sophisticated than putting a clever monkey on the front.
A carefully crafted label can make us think the bottle is way more expensive than it is, and it can boost our enjoyment of the wine itself, says David Schuemann of CF Napa Brand Design, who has been designing wine packaging for more than a decade.
In his new book 99 Bottles of Wine, Schuemann spills the industry’s secrets about how wine labels tickle our subconscious and coerce us into grabbing a bottle off the shelf. The book is also a feast for the eyes, with about 100 photographs of the sleekest, most eye-catching wine labels in the business.
“We always make a wine look about $10 more expensive than it is. So then it appears like an even better value,” Schuemann tells The Salt. “We add gold foil to the label or a gold stamping. We emboss the label or add a third dimension to give it a rich texture or tactile feel.”
In general, people associate minimalist, uncluttered designs with high-end vintages and sophisticated flavors, Schuemann says. “More expensive labels tend to have a cream or white background with a simple logo. Maybe a splash of gold or metal. But they don’t have critters on them. Otherwise, experienced wine drinkers think it looks cheap.”
But for less-accomplished oenophiles who are still experimenting with wine, the bottle needs to “pop” off the shelf more, Schuemann says. So his team makes the labels more colorful and louder for wines under $10. “They’re whimsical in a clever way,” he says. “And we’ll still add a bit of gold foil to show the quality.”
No part of the bottle is wasted for these subliminal mind tricks. Even that little piece of metal at the top of the bottle gets jazzed up with a fancy print, a sophisticated stripe or subtle sparkles. “Then people tend to perceive the wine as more expensive because so much care has gone into even the foil,” he adds.
The foil’s color on cheaper bottles helps beginners know what flavors to expect, Schuemann says. “A red foil communicates berries, while a green or yellow foil says buttery or tropical flavors are inside. Then the consumer says, ‘Oh! That looks like it’s going to taste good.’ ”
And that label can trick your tongue, too. “We’ve done some consumer research in which we poured the same wine for people, but from different bottles,” he says. “The more they like the label, they more they like the wine.”
Although Schuemann isn’t a psychologist, there’s some real scientific evidence to back up his ideas. A study several years ago found that when people think that they’re drinking a $90 bottle, pleasure centers in the brain are more active than when they’re sipping on a $5 wine — even when the two wines are actually identical.
And what about all those fancy descriptions on the back of bottles describing a chardonnay’s buttery aroma and creamy mouth feel? They also work their magic on your mind, says Aradhna Krishna, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan.
“Eating and drinking isn’t just about taste, but it’s a combination of all our five senses — smell, touch, vision and even sounds,” she says.
In one of her recent experiments, she and her team showed two groups of people ads for potato chips. “One ad focused on taste alone. But the other described how the chips smelled like BBQ and had a crunchy texture,” she tells The Salt. The group that saw the second ad thought the chips tasted better because it evoked several senses.
The same goes for wine, Krishna says. “If the description on the back makes you imagine the wine’s fruity bouquet and the way it feels in your mouth, then the taste will be enhanced and consumption goes up.”
Who knows? You may even start salivating right there in the wine aisle.