Home Wine Business Editorial Wine Industry Has Yet to Embrace Full Potential of Social Media Marketing

Wine Industry Has Yet to Embrace Full Potential of Social Media Marketing

MCC Labels Direct

by Elizabeth Hans McCrone

brito-michael_hsThere’s little doubt that social media marketing has become a cornerstone of modern-day communications and has revolutionized the way companies across the globe now do business. But if you ask some experts about the wine industry’s utilization of contemporary media platforms, many will opine privately and publicly that there’s lots of room for improvement.

Take Michael Brito, for instance. He’s the Head of Social Strategy for WCG, a global company offering comprehensive marketing and communication services to clients in healthcare, consumer products, entertainment and technology.

It’s Brito’s role to provide strategic guidance to his company’s clients by assisting them with content and message development, social media engagement and paid media outlet placement in order to successfully reach their stated target audiences.

As a result, he spends a lot of his professional time on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more.

When queried about how well he perceives the wine industry is doing in terms of adopting social media into basic outreach and sales strategies, Brito replies bluntly.

“Not very well at all.”

“If I’m tweeting publicly,” he explains, “or posting photos on Instagram, if I’m Mondavi or even a smaller winery, why isn’t anyone responding?” Brito asks. “Why am I not getting an invitation to visit your winery, or even an acknowledgement? I see it as a missed opportunity.”

Brito notes that, “everything we say online is public data.” He’s surprised that the wine industry as a whole isn’t accessing those data more effectively to reach their target audiences who regularly “check in” on Facebook during winery visits or post photos of themselves enjoying a glass of red wine in a scenic vineyard.

“Wine is a social beverage,” Brito argues. “It goes well with social media. If I’m a winery … I want to target every person who has mentioned wine in this zip code, tell them about our wine, invite them to events, performances, include them in winemaking seminars … I don’t see that happening.”

Brito is passionate about using data and analytics to, as he says, “deliver content at the right time, in the right way to the right customer.” He calls the concept “audience architecture.”

“When a winery can understand who their audience is – and not just about wine – but what other clusters of interests do they care about, they can begin to ask, how do we align our message in a way that’s consistent with our business and what our target audience is interested in?”

Brito will be bringing his insights to the North Coast Expo on December 3rd in Santa Rosa, CA during a conference session entitled “Big Brands, Big Lessons: Applying Marketing and Social Media Strategies Used Outside the Wine Industry.


He will be joined by fellow panelists Chuck Herman and Jessica Williams.

Herman is the Global Digital Analytics Manager for Intel. In his role, Herman provides strategic counsel to clients on a variety of topics that include digital analytics, measurement, online reputation, social media, investor relations and crisis communications.

Williams is the Global Innovation and Marketing Analytics Leader for VISA. She designs and executes digital and social marketing programs to enhance brand equity, achieve revenue initiatives, differentiate products, and drive effective marketing, communications, and business strategies.

Paul Mabray, the Chief Strategy Officer for VinTank, will moderate the session. Mabry is responsible for VinTank’s overall vision, strategic direction and product development. His 20 years of experience in the field have positioned him to play a key role in connecting emerging technologies for the wine industry.

For more information and conference registration, go to: http://www.wineindustryexpo.com/conference.php.

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  1. I agree with the author – there seems to be perceived benefits from 1:1 social communication between brand and individual;€“ it’s an opportunity to create positive brand association; the opportunity to turn a person into a fan and (hopefully) a customer – I get it. The theory is great. And it should be that easy. However, my experience actually hitting the pavement and executing hasn’t been an easy one.

    I work at a winery on the social media team. We recently started proactively communicating with people on Instagram. We target those who are in the area, those who’ve mentioned wine/wine tasting/wine tours, or those who’ve mentioned our brand or have an affinity for our varietals. We like photos, comment and DM to deliver a personal invite to our winery. However, I can’t say I’m too impressed with the majority of responses we are getting back. We’ve been getting repeated requests for freebies, comp’ed experiences, VIP access, etc. It seems that starting a dialogue with people on Instagram quickly turns into a conversation of “I’d love to visit, but what’s in it for me?”

    Most people want an incentive to come out, I’ve seen this repeatedly. They want a “free pour,”€ or a “splash of the good stuff.” How are we supposed to navigate around this? I can’€™t invite people in to just give away product all day long. And even if I wanted to, the ABC doesn’t allow wineries to incentivize visits with freebies. That means: no free pour, no comp’ed tour, nothing is to be offered with a value over $1. If you’re the winery that invites someone out and then says no free booze, you’€™re the winery who said no. Versus a winery that didn’t reach out at all BUT also didn’€™t say no. It’€™s confusing territory.

  2. Today a new wine brand launched on Facebook. In an hour there were over 1,000 views, more than 500 shares, and a lot of online sales. It is a partnership between a wine producer and the biggest social media brand in the US, Someecards.

    There are those who get it, are partnering with those who can start to change the dynamic in the wine business, and better lead the way. It will be interesting to see where this brand / experiment goes.


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