A New Frontier

As many of you know, among the many hats I wear, one is acting President of the Meritage Alliance.  Yesterday, we held the annual Meritage Alliance meeting in our cellar.  Each year, we feature a guest speaker and this time we were lucky enough to have Tom Wark, whose blog Fermentation:  A Daily Wine Blog is one of the more widely read blogs in our industry.  Tom is one of those rare gems….a wealth of knowledge and as down to earth as they come. In addition to his reputation as a blogger, he also runs his own PR and Marketing consultancy, Wark Communications. While I haven't worked with him personally, my hunch is that he's darn good at what he does.

However before I go into Tom's thoughts, first I must explain why I've been MIA.

My life has been about as topsy turvy as it gets these last few weeks. After a successful yet humbling week in New York, (more on that later) I came home to the unfortunate news that Leone, my personal assistant and marketing manager of 10 years, was leaving the winery.  This came as a complete surprise. Needless to say, it felt a bit like having my right arm ripped off– after all, she has been an extremely valuable and trusted member of my team and someone whom I consider a close personal friend.  It's certainly a great loss for me personally and the winery as well, but I do wish her all the best in her new career endeavors.  After the initial shock wore off, I immediately went to work on recruiting her replacement. Thank goodness for winejobs.com! Within 24 hours, I already had some strong candidates. While it's awful to be in this position, it's a great time to be hiring—it's just a matter of finding the right fit. So I'm spending every spare moment meeting with candidates, asking thought provoking questions (can you mail merge, coordinate projects, handle details, provide a shoulder to lean on, and oh by the way, pick up my kid in an emergency?!) while trying to find my clone for the next ten years.

Back to the Meritage Alliance meeting - we had a hodge podge ofClick photo to enlarge! attendees from vintners, journalists, and PR people, although I was disappointed that more didn't take advantage of this FREE opportunity to learn from one of the best in the business.  

Tom covered numerous topics related to blogging and social media – I managed to scribble down a few notes...

Traditional Media (newspapers, magazines, etc.) distributes content to the consumer, and in Tom's opinion, it is far from dead. The new Social Media is the direct to consumer avenue for distributing content to the consumer. It allows you to have:


An intimate relationship with customers


Carry on a one on one conversation with customers


Have customers become familiar with you in a relaxed and informal manner

The defining essence that ties the two together is that both are vehicles for telling your “brand story.” And, just like with all marketing communications, it is critical to be consistent and “on message,” saying the same thing over and over and over and over again. Then, when you think you've said it enough, you start over again! The difference between the two is that traditional media isClick photo to enlarge! like the 3 tier system- content goes from the company/product, to the publication/writer, to the consumer. With social media the content goes directly to the consumer. As marketers of just about anything - wine, clothing, computers, whatever, we need to embrace both.

Tom focused heavily on Facebook and actually took us through a step by step look at how it works. He is convinced it's effective-that it actually can help sell a product and grow a brand, despite what many skeptics (myself included) believe. He stressed the importance of making Facebook a priority-if you're gonna do it, do it well and do it often.  Post info on wines. Post info on events. Post info on wine related topics. Post questions that customers might be interested in. Post photos of customers. Post while you're on vacation. Post photos of your vacation. Post, Post, Post! 

Hmmm, all this left my head spinning…how the heck is anyone supposed to have time for all this???  Sure, I'd like to have a more intimate relationship with my customers. But truth be told, I'd like to start with my husband and kids whom I've missed sorely lately.

| | Comments (3)


Kristi Davis Author Profile Page said:
May 28, 2010 11:28 AM

Oh, I'm cringing when I heard you lost your best person. It's always hard at first but you will find out the new person you get is just the right breathe of fresh air into your life! (Hopefully, right??)

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
May 31, 2010 3:43 PM

Thanks for the encouragement Kristi, you're absolutely right. As a matter of fact, I'm at the winery reviewing resumes while waiting for my next interview to show up. While it's a burden in the short run, I know it will indeed be a breath of fresh air...it's just one of those things that throws you for a loop and requires a great deal of time and effort.

CHUCK JOHNSON Author Profile Page said:
June 5, 2010 9:29 PM


You have to be the hardest working woman I know! In between, replacing new personnel, traveling to conduct sales presentations, pouring at events, attending trade seminars, doing budgeting, dealing with the licensing agencies, meeting compliance laws, etc..., I'm wondering if you any have time left to be a wife, mom & daughter?

Great article on using Facebook to promote your business. I'm on Facebook everyday, & it has certainly enhanced my life in terms of reconnecting with classmates, relatives, friends, & creating new friends. I'm sure FB will also help your wine sales.


Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Kim published on May 27, 2010 1:40 PM.

Food with Eyes! was the previous entry in this blog.

The University of Dry Creek is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


This is a blog about what it's really like to be in the wine industry...so sit back, take a sip and enjoy!

about me

our wines

our winery

our events

contact me

privacy statement

favorite posts

A Lifetime in Wine

Top 10 Traits of the Successful Family Winery

The Dreaded Family Meeting

Board Meeting Jitters

Is the Future of the Winery in Danger?

The Case of the Overweight Bottle

Wine and Dementia

Wanted: Talented (Normal) Individual for Family Owned Winery

A Sea of Wine

The Heroes of Our Industry

monthly archives


Hopes & Dreams

Owning a Coastal Cottage

Sailing for 6 Months

Getting a 100 Point Score

Favorite Haunts

Coast of Maine

Dry Creek General Store

Dry Creek Kitchen

Healdsburg Bar & Grill


Sonoma Country Antiques

Baci Cafe & Wine Bar

The Farmhouse

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar

Bad Ass Coffee

Bistro Ralph

Bits of Press

Food & Wine Magazine

The Wine News

Wine Enthusiast

Wine Spectator

Press Democrat

Sunset Magazine

Connoisseurs' Guide

Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences

Cruising World Magazine

Oprah Magazine

The Washington Post

Coastal Living Magazine

Wine & Spirits Magazine

People Magazine

SAG Awards Magazine

Forbes Magazine

Favorite Magazines

Coastal Living

Down East


Country Living

Quarterly Review of Wines

Wines & Vines

Wine Spectator

Wine Enthusiast

California Grapevine

Connoisseurs' Guide

Practical Winery & Vineyard


Vineyard & Winery Mgmt

Blog Buddy List


Hip Tastes

Pinot Blogger

All The Best

Julia Flynn Siler


Winery Web Site Report

The Pour - Eric Asimov

Dr Vino

Steve Heimoff

Start Up Ladies

Good Wine Under $20

Blind Muscat

The Wineroad Blog

Gabe's View

Wine Peeps

Vici Vino

Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk

Uncork Life

WineVine-Imports Blog

The Wine Witch


Honorable Mentions

Wilma Hits The World of Blogs
Most Intriguing New Wine Blogs of 2008
Midwest Wine Guy
Winery of the Month
Julia Flynn Siler
Meritage wines - and a fascinating glimpse into family business
Winery Web Site Report
New Winery Blog: Wilma's Wine World
Start Up Ladies
Insider's View of Family Owned Dry Creek Vineyard
The Glue that Keeps the Whole Thing Going
Atlanta Dish
Blog of the Week
Blind Muscat
The Merits of Meritage
Boston Wine Expo exhibitors, and the reason why winemakers are so darn happy