A fair number of Virginia wine producers have signed up for popular social media platforms such as Face-book and Twitter, but a small percentage of them have put their accounts to good use. Jen Breaux, of Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville, Virginia, was one of the first Virginia wine producers to actively utilize Face-book and Twitter to connect directly with current customers as well as potential customers, brand build, and promote events. A handful of Virginia wine producers are currently implementing social media to promote and market their business and engage potential consumers. Kat Schornberg of Keswick Vineyards is staying fairly active on Twitter and Face-book and getting Keswick's name out there in the webosphere. Kat is the wife of award-winning winemaker Stephen Barnard and the daughter of Keswick Vineyard’s owners, Al and Cindy Schornberg. I’ve asked Kat, who wears many hats at the winery, to tell us how she uses social media to get the word out about their Charlottesville winery and to discuss the results she’s seeing from investing time on Twitter and Face-book.
Kat Schornberg "Tweeting" at a recent Virginia Wine Dinner
Getting the word out through Social Media by Kat Schornberg:
I started off using Facebook for the winery as a way to easily share pictures from our events with everyone who attended. Since then, I think it has grown to be a really big part of our communications. We use Facebook and Twitter to update our friends, fans, and followers of what is going on at the winery and what events we have coming up. We also continue to post a lot of pictures and videos to our Facebook pages as well as have customers posting pictures and tagging us in them, which is great!
Keswick Vineyard's Tasting Room
I think we have definitely seen an increase in attendance at our events because we are able to spread the information about them to a lot more people than we reached before using Facebook and Twitter. I also think they help us build brand loyalty with customers because they get to know the inside scoop on everything that is going on here and get to feel more like part of the family, which is ultimately what we want every person who walks in the door to feel like!
Grape Bunches at Keswick Vineyard
Although we do use some of the other social media sites as well, Facebook and Twitter are definitely what I focus most of my time on and where we get the most community involvement. I think they both have great rewards in different ways. I’ve found that Twitter has been a great way to meet wine bloggers especially, who I think are an integral part of the wine industry, especially here in Virginia. We have amazingly supporting wine bloggers here and it has been so great to be able to meet them on Twitter and later in person! Twitter is also great for monitoring what people are saying about your winery and being able to respond- thanking people for visiting, asking how their visit was, or encouraging people who mention they will be in the area to come and visit! Facebook is great in that we can easily share pictures, videos, and events on there and we get a lot of interaction from our friends and fans on Facebook (confusingly we have both a profile and a page, which makes it a little harder to stay on top of, but I think they both have their advantages so I have been keeping them both for now). In fact, last harvest we had our Facebook friends actually help make one of our wines! Stephen, our winemaker (and my husband), made a short video at each step of the winemaking process explaining the different options and then our friends voted in a poll as to what we should do. They chose everything from when to pick the grapes, what barrels to age the wine in, and what to label the wine. The wine is 100% Cabernet Franc and the label they chose was “Friended Franc”. We’ll be having a release party soon for our Facebook friends, but I got a sneak peak at how the wine turned out (has to be some benefits of being married to the winemaker ;) and it is really great!
Twilight View of the Pond
I think being involved in social media is really important for wineries, especially in Virginia where most of our wine is sold through our tasting rooms directly to consumers versus through distribution. Anything you can do to help keep your customers more involved and let them know how much you appreciate them is crucial. I hear people complain about the time it takes, and it is true, it takes a lot of time to stay on top of it. My husband has definitely given me a hard time every now and then for always being on my phone on Tweetdeck and Facebook! It is a lot of fun as well though, and I think it is an important tool to help build relationships- and relationships are an important part of this (and I think every) industry!
Info: Keswick Vineyards,1575 Keswick Winery Dr. , Keswick, VA 22947, T(434) 244-3341
Click Here to follow Keswick on Twitter.
Click Here to friend Keswick on Face-book.
Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned friends ...More to come!
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