Friday, August 06, 2010

Past and Future: Wine Bloggers Conferences and Breasts

We take a look at this week's news, past and future, regarding Wine Bloggers Conferences and - well, - -  breasts. 

Earlier this week the sponsor feedback was posted on the North American Wine Bloggers Conference website. The event coordinators conducted a survey of 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference sponsors and received 16 responses. First of all it is important to know these sponsors did not include the wineries who participated in the Saturday's excursions. That morning's event was coordinated by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and the event coordinators of the WBC did not have the list of participating wineries.

An example of some of the questions asked:

Why did you sponsor the conference? 14 responded “I am hoping to connect with bloggers who will remember my product or company name for possible future posts,” four responded “I mostly want to support wine bloggers because it is good for our industry,” and no one replied “I was hoping for immediate online exposure from attending bloggers”.

Would you be interested to sponsor the 2011 conference in Charlottesville? Out of eight replies, six people said yes and two said no because of the distance from their winery.

Overall, this is great news that the sponsors are understanding the importance of connecting with wine bloggers and social media tools. I know there have been critics that these new tools cannot be measured, but while you are dinking around with your measuring stick you are already behind if  you aren't dipping your feet in the social media pool.  How well can we honestly track print media? Sure, magazines and newspapers will quote subscription numbers, but there are no guarantees the reader is going to read your ad amongst pages and pages of clustered advertising.  And you wouldn't make your tasting room customers clip a damn coupon to count effectiveness, would you?

The facts are this: if you are a winery you have to look towards the future. You have to understand who your new wine consumer is and undertand your new wine consumer is already relying on social media - they grew up with it and those of us who didn't, their numbers are increasing in usage and familiarity.  

Do I think that print wine media is on its way out?  Of course not.  I think we can all live harmonious together. We can find creative ways to support each other and blend the two medias.  One of my joys in life is winding down at night with my reading glasses hanging on the bottom of my nose, drinking a cup of tea or a glass of wine and reading through my monthly subscriptions of food and wine magazines.  I love glossy!  There is this element of surprise with each page I turn, as corny as it sounds. 

Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post reports that the State of Virginia is putting money where mouth is.  New legislation passed this year, signed by Govenor McDonnell, doubles the state’s financial support for their Virginia Wine Board to use in marketing and research. The growing dollars in their budget, from $580,000 to now $1.35 million, also includes being a major sponsor of the North American Wine Bloggers Conference 2011, which will be held in Charlottesville. 
This is great news to hear that another wine producing state understands the significance of wine blogging and social media.  Unfortunately, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is up to, or in this case the "right wing."  Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) of Virginia is supporting HR 5034, the bill that will restrict or even eliminate small wineries ability to ship their wines directly to their customers.   Interesting thought process going on here, Einstein.  So your state is spending money to get the word out about their small wineries, but you want to limit who they can sell their wine to.  Cutting your nose off to spite your face are you, Attorney General Cuccinelli?
But what can you expect from a man who covered the breast of Virginia's original state seal showing Virtus, the Roman goddess of bravery and military strength, in his gifting of the seal. The historical state seal was adopted in 1776 and was designed by George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  
Not only is Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli trying to protect the children from the evils of ordering expensive wine through the internet with their credit cards and skipping recess so they can meet the UPS/FedEx and fool the delivery person with false ID and a fake adult signature, but now he is trying to protect today's and future  children from breasts.   Interesting that Virginia's children of the past weren't too tarnished by looking at a Roman goddess's breast.

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