The relationship between wine bloggers and wineries is complicated. Bloggers often write about a winery or its wines. Sometimes this is done without ever alerting the winery and other times it is done with some help – information, a quote, a free tasting, a visit, a dinner, or perhaps an event at the Wine Bloggers Conference.
We have delved into the ethics of this relationship at past conferences and will do so again this year with a planned session on Wine Samples provided by wineries to bloggers.
But in this post we wanted to present you with one comment, by a winery PR pro, that we thought nicely summed up the relationship between wineries and bloggers. The comment below (edited for brevity), by Sao Anash of Muse Management, was posted in 2014 as a comment to a piece on the Drink What YOU Like wine blog, authored by Frank Morgan, about the recently-completed WBC14 in Santa Barbara County.
I was having lunch with Chris and Dayna Hammell out at Bien Nacido Vineyard the other day. We work together a lot on hosting visiting media, and we all agreed that we found the visiting bloggers, most of whom we had never met, to be enthusiastic, cordial, curious, polite and grateful to be in Santa Barbara County! You can hardly ask for more as a host.
There is a lot of chatter about what blogs actually mean and if they’re worth our trouble…and by “our” I mean, the supplier, in trade-speak.
Blogs are here to stay, I believe. My criteria, as a publicist, for a blogger that is worth taking the time and resources (for they are high) to host is not necessarily how big their readership is (everyone has to start somewhere) or how deep their knowledge of wine is (again, we all start somewhere).
I just ask that they be serious about their craft, respectful of the time of others, and truly curious about their new found vocation. Are they willing to open their minds to new experiences? They don’t have to like everything they taste, but are they willing to come into a situation with their own set of editorial and professional standards in place, and give a visit its proper due? I believe there are many bloggers out there that meet this criteria. And, it was reaffirming to meet a number of them at this year’s WBC.
In our opinion, her view crystallizes how wineries might think about wine bloggers and how wine bloggers might act while dealing with wineries. Wineries should not expect massive results from working with any one blogger. Instead, working with wine bloggers is about establishing relationships with influencers who, over time, can have a meaningful impact, especially in concert with other bloggers. And bloggers should realize wineries often spend significant resources on them (be it sending out bottles, answering emails, or investing in the Wine Bloggers Conference) and act professionally in return, both during the interaction and by following up with posts on blogs and social media.
We are very pleased to hear Sao was happy with her winery clients’ investment in the 2014 conference and are looking forward to the same in Lodi!
Do you have a story similar to Sao or Frank? We would love to hear from writers and wineries alike on thoughts related to what makes a successful wine/wine writer partnership.