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Importer,PR 101,PR Advice,Wine,Wine Education,Wine Etiquette,Wine Manners

Dear Wine Brands and Importers, Let Me Give You a Piece of Solid PR 101 Advice

Dear Wine Brands and Importers,

We need to get something into balance, here…

This is a bit redundant, but I’m going to repeat it again, anyway, because it’s an issue that’s not going away. Regardless of how much I (and others) write about it. Still, this is a fresh take on an old issue.

First of all, you’re spending a lot of money on fancy New York PR firms. Good for you (not). It’s not the magic pill! Someone is passing along all of your words, and it’s just going to fall on deaf ears.

Why? Because…

  • Who in their right mind is going to endorse something that she or he knows nothing about?
    • Would you buy a car without driving it first?
    • Would you marry a man or woman that you’ve never met?
    • Would you eat a raw oyster, without seeing first if it has a live worm in it? (Okay, forget this last one, you probably do do this one.)
  • When I write a blog post, it takes me between four and five hours to recommend a wine. Here’s an example of what five hours looks like.
    • I’m also a wine publicist.
      • So, compare my hours above with what that’s worth, along side what you’re paying your publicity firm.
      • Now you know how much “free” you get from a wine blogger, yet you won’t spring for a bottle of wine?
    • Just a little reality free PR 101 advice here.
      • Somebody has to speak up for wine bloggers, who don’t dare tell you.
      • But they have the power to just delete your messages, and they DO.
      • (Wine bloggers forums, where their voices are protected.)

I think the point is very clear here. Without a sample, there’s no real blog post about your brands’ wines, if wine bloggers haven’t tasted your wines, first.

Need a bit more? Click on these links. Lots more detail for you.

Today is 12:22 p.m., and it’s three and counting… Sigh…

I write all of this with the deepest respect, because I’m not only a wine blogger, but I’m also a wine publicist. I know how hard it is to get to the top of the heap, and I’m offering sound advice. Figure out how many samples you can afford, and query the right people.

 

 

 

6 Responses to “Dear Wine Brands and Importers, Let Me Give You a Piece of Solid PR 101 Advice”

  1. Debbie Adelman says:

    Will you be able to give unbiased reviews of free wine samples? I can think of other publications that have crossed the line with companies that have bigger budgets and can pay for advertising.
    There are many smaller importers of smaller wineries that don’t make enough to provide everyone with free samples. Should they be penalized, ignored? Should the wine-drinking world never hear about them?
    You have chosen to do what you do. I hope it is not just for free product.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Great questions, Debbie. One by one:

    1) Will you be able to give unbiased reviews of free wine samples? My day job is a wine publicist. I avoid tasting notes on my own brands, because I’ve already written them for clients tech notes. I do write about newsworthy activities, just as I do with other wine brand activities. Example: Ron Rubin Winery is giving away 450 Automated External Defibrillators to every winery in Sonoma County. Each one costs $1,700 to purchase. The math on that is very formidable and newsworthy. The only “catch,” if you can call it that, is that the winery must have an American Red Cross training. The price for that is greatly reduced. Imagine two people being trained for $120, and they get an AED free of charge. That’s big news, and I don’t mind sharing for the benefit of all.

    2) I can think of other publications that have crossed the line with companies that have bigger budgets and can pay for advertising. It’s a really great question. I refuse every attempt to advertise with companies that write the story and provide a link to products that I don’t know, haven’t tried, or don’t want to encourage this kind of advertising. I DON’T get paid to write what I write on my wine blog. I spend about five hours on most blog posts. Five hours to hire a publicist; image that cost, now imagine a $20 sample. Who’s winning here? Me, or the brand who sent the sample?

    3) There are many smaller importers of smaller wineries that don’t make enough to provide everyone with free samples. Should they be penalized, ignored? I reiterate, because I’m also constantly having to find ways to get in front of writers with my clients, if I haven’t tasted it, I can’t endorse what I don’t know. (I have a wine reputation of 25 years behind me.) This is simply a fact of brand building… that reviews help to build brands. Invite a writer to visit the winery, build the bonds that way. Brands have to invest in some marketing, because we can no longer just put our wares by the side of the road for sale, and think we’re going to become famous. It’s not penalizing, it’s brand building. In my world, it’s always been: I give and if I get something in return, I’ve achieved something for someone else. If I don’t get something in return, I had no expectations, so I’ve still won, because I gave and move on. (My grandmother told me that I wear my heart on my sleeve, when I was a child. She was right. I am who I am.) I just keep my nose to the grindstone. Every little recognition is to be celebrated, but I have to work for it.

    4) Should the wine-drinking world never hear about them? I do understand your frustration and urgency. It’s very hard when there’s no budget. The brand has be able to take on some marketing, even if it’s only to target one wine writer and work it into a solid relationship. The wine drinking world will hear about them, with maybe just social engagement, for starters. That’s the job of a publicist and/or marketing company. This is what my company offers. And, Just know WHAT TO tell about the clients to wine writers. Gold medals and scores don’t cut it. I learned this the hard way, too. Each writer has his or her own palate. They have to taste it to advocate for it.

    5) You have chosen to do what you do. I hope it is not just for free product. I think by this point you know it’s not for free products, but you still may not know WHY. Why I do this is because receiving samples of wines coming from all over the world is an education for me. It’s an opportunity to sample wines from around the world. I learn geography, history, terroirs (unlike my Sonoma and Napa counties, where I live and learn in the process). I learn about different varieties, too… I’m a member of the Wine Century Club, where we document each variety of wine tasted… So far I’m at 175 different varieties. I do it to learn… and I love it.

  3. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Don. With the life experiences and learnings, I have a lot to share.

  4. 100 points on you Jo. All perfect points. Let Debbie know that an advert is not generally a path to a nice review in my experience. I have the stories that back that. Thanks for sharing. Cheers! TMcD

  5. Jo Diaz says:

    Coming from you, Tim, this means a lot, for all of us to know and understand. I’m sure that Debbie had no understanding of my background. In her world, I’m just another wine blogger, hungry for free wine. (And how wrong her assumption is.) As you know, I have more than my share of wine, so she spoke to the best person, really. I’m not sure that other wine bloggers – who aren’t in the wine business – would know how to square off with her. She didn’t have any way of knowing how many hours I’ve given to the wine business, including directing a wine advocacy group. So, anyway… there it is… All points taken to heart and answers exposed the reality of any wine blogger who’s survived over time.

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