Vineyard & Winery Management

March/April 2013

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BY DEBORAH PARKER WONG Live "virtual" tastings, such as those produced by ToutSuite Social Club, take winery-customer interaction to a new level. Photo: Jaime Godinez Virtual Tastings Engage Real Audiences Wineries connect with trade members and consumers through live video streaming ow that social media has carved out a permanent place for itself in the marketing mix and the Internet has democratized videocasting, virtual wine tastings have the potential to become one of the most dynamic aspects of a winery's social media marketing campaign. Whether a virtual tasting is confined to micro-blogging on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, or is broadcast using live video conferencing through websites such as TasteLive. com,, Livestream or Ustream, the popularity of vir- 64 V I N E YARD & WINERY MANAGEMENT | tual tastings continues to grow as technology improves and costs decline. Beyond navigating the technology required to produce and stream live video, one of the biggest obstacles wine marketers face is aligning their expectations around online events with the realities of social media marketing. "Many wineries make the mistake of hiring people to build up their following on Facebook and Twitter and then use those platforms for e-mail blasts," said Rick Bakas, founder of Bakas Media and vice president of mar- Mar - Apr 2013 AT A GLANCE + Virtual tastings create quality interactions with your audience. + Frequency and original content keep audiences engaged. + Producing video requires a segment plan and solid production values. + Leapfrog the learning curve by working with professionals. w w w. v w m m e d i a . c o m

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