Continuing education (did your eyes already glaze over?) can seem like just one more thing to do on the ever growing to do list. It’s getting off your chair. It means making time to learn and invest your hard earned money to ensure you aren’t stagnate. In the world of social media and wine, things are always changing. There is always something new to learn and it can be hard to keep up.
This past week, I took the time to attend the Oregon Wine Symposium in Portland, OR. This conference attracted over 1,000 attendees from the wine industry who were there to learn from leading wine experts how to improve grape growing, wine making and business operations.
I had the opportunity to meet many people in the Oregon wine industry that I would have never been able to meet elsewhere. I sat in seminars, hearing from the state’s leading researchers. Dr. Greg Jones, professor and research climatologist at Southern Oregon University shared a 2016 vintage review of the weather, climate trends and production characteristics as well as a forecast for the 2017 vintage. For a non-winemaker-marketer, this was fascinating stuff!
One of the highlights of the event was meeting Brian Marcy and Clare Carver from Big Table Farm and hearing Clare share the results of her hard work and hustle. She uses Instagram to connect with her customers and fans and has grown her following because of doing what she loves – taking pictures. She understands the importance of social media and the role is can play in connecting with your customers.
I’m often asked what social media platforms a winery or business should be on. There are three tips I tell people about their social media presence:
1. If you’re going to get on a social media channel i.e. Facebook,
Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, be sure you’re prepared to keep up with
the posting demands
2. Choose a channel that you will enjoy posting to
3. Know where your customers are and show up on that channel
Clare loves taking pictures so Instagram is a great channel for her winery and farm to be on. She enjoys interacting with her followers, has great farm content and has grown her fans and followers as a result. It’s not just one more thing for her to do each day, it’s something she likes to do, makes a priority and that’s evident in the engaging content she produces.
The symposium was also a chance to taste some fantastic Oregon wines and get a peek behind the curtain. I had the opportunity to participate in an experimental wine tasting from several well-known wineries. These winemakers had experimented with several different factors and shared the results of their experiments in a side by side tasting. The results from these tastings were truly fascinating.
· Adelsheim Vineyards: 2016 Chardonnay, Native vs Inoculated
· Chehalem Wines: Phylloxera vs Healthy Pinot Noir Block
· A to Z Wineworks: Hand vs Mechanical Thinning
· Van Duzer Vineyards: Impact of PVI/PVP Treatment on
Organolepitic Profile and Quality of Riesling Wines
· McMenamins & Gran Moraine Winery: Lees Management – Sur Lie
Acceleration on Barrel Aged Chardonnay
· Adelsheim Vineyard: Effect of Fermentation Temperature on Pinot Noir
This conference was such a valuable use of my time. While it took a lot to prepare for, meant work would be put on hold and a financial investment would need to be made, I was happy I made the effort. We can’t possibly continue to improve ourselves or our businesses if we just stay in our office. We need to get off our chairs, step out, connect and embrace opportunities to learn and grow. Can’t wait for the next Oregon Wine Symposium, February 20 & 21, 2018!