Award,Marketing,PR Advice,Rare Rant,Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Business,Wine Writer

Hey, I’m not God… And neither is anyone else…

There are two issues within this blog posting:

  1. Marketing rule 101, know your audience
  2. Writing rule 101, know how to write your message

Marketing rule 101: know your audience for your awards

People who sell your wine should love to hear about your gold medals. Once awarded, sales support happens with a shelf talker. Great sales people are thrilled that you have this distinction, passing along that enthusiasm to really engaged retailers, also appreciate this selling point. Here is your audience.

Some People who buy your wine will love the news, too. They’ll buy it, and they’ll tell their friends what a prestigious wine they’re serving. It’s a good talking point at dinner, if your guests need that kind of validation. Here is your audience.

If you live in a small town, tell your local newspaper. Here is your audience. They’re always looking to fill space with their residents’ news. A magazine,  wine writer, or wine blogger has no use for this, unless it’s alawine.com (Super Award Winning Wines), which only writes about gold medal wines.

Wine writers are not going to be loving that you’ve just received a bunch of gold medals, however. Writers are looking for something earth shattering, not more medals from ABC Winery about XYZ’s competition results. Wine writers are not your audience.

In a marketing class where I was presenting last year, this came up by one of the students. At the time I tried to explain this, but the person only wanted to know how to write it. I said, “don’t write it.” Steve Heimoff backed me up. He gets those press releases all the time. Now, because of my blog, so do I. I just got one this morning, talking about every single gold medal that was just received. Honestly, I delete these press releases faster than I do spam. Why? It’s completely irrelevant to me.

Knowing your audience will guarantee your success.

Writing rule 101: know how to write your message

If you send a newsletter to someone, don’t presume that that person knows everything about you. Only God can keep up with everything, especially with the Internet now being so interactive with Web 2.0.

I just read this in an Email to me, and it set me off to the fact that I’m not God.

“By now you know that a couple of months ago we poured at the Master Table during the SF Wine Competition Public Tasting and thousands of wine lovers like you were exposed to our wonderful wine.”

Business writing 101:

  1. RUN ON SENTENCES: No sentence should be longer then 20 words, unless it’s absolutely impossible to shorten the sentence.  This is what causes run on sentences. (Above: 36 words)
  2. PUNCTUATION: Use it.
  3. CLAUSES: Independent clauses are supported by dependent clauses, and separated by commas.
  4. CAPITALIZATION:  It’s reserved for proper names, only.
  5. IN BUSINESS, HIRE A PRO: Put your best foot forward. If you can’t business write, hire someone who can or take a business writing course. (Winemakers study winemaking procedures. Marketing people study sales techniques. PR people study the Gregg Reference Manual.)


“On March 5, we poured at the Master Table during the SF Wine Competition public tasting. Thousands of wine lovers learned about our wonderful wines.”

  1. This is easily two sentences.
  2. I could have put a comma after the word “table,” and would have if this were a pure business document, to separate the independent and dependent clauses. Since it’s intended for consumers and media, it can be more casual, so I left that extra comma out of the sentence.
  3. Give an actual date. A “couple of months ago” is too nebulous for both kinds of writing.
  4. “Public Tasting” is just something that happens, and isn’t a proper name. It’s just something that occurred.
  5. The word “exposed…” It’s an odd word in this context, and made me think of a flasher, just sayin’ …
  6. Left out, “By now you know.” This phrase presumes that the reader knows everything about you. This is exactly where I got lost (at the all-important very beginning), because I don’t know everything. I – we – all have a lot to learn and know in life. It’s impossible for anyone to know where everyone was, at every single event.

While this feedback seems harsh (I feel like Simon Cowell), it’s just a reality check for what not to write (feel like Stacy London and Clinton Kelly).

The author was writing with passion, I’ll give the person that much. I’m sure that maturity in writing will come with time… Or, better yet, here’s the business writing four step writing process. I paid a lot of money to learn this, and spent 20 hours a week for 16 weeks to learn how to be precise. It’s now my gift to anyone searching on “The four step writing process.”


  1. Think about what you’re going to write.
  2. Write it.
  3. Edit it.
  4. Rewrite it.

In this rule is also an unwritten rule:

  1. After you rewrite it, edit it.
  2. Rewrite it.
  3. Edit it.
  4. Rewrite it.
  5. Forever, until it’s a near perfect as it can possibly be.
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8 Responses to “Hey, I’m not God… And neither is anyone else…”

  1. Smart advice, Jo. Wineries should follow it.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Well, they’ve been told, Steve; but, we both know they won’t follow it. It’s not something they want to hear.

    I’ve given them the formula for success, but I’m sitting here shaking my head back and forth. They’re too subjective and proud of their accomplishments and want to tell the world. That’s all it is. The crux is knowing what to tell whom…

    Get outside of your own world, put yourself in the place of the wine writer, and imagine his/her angst. That should do the trick!

  3. Lorrie S. LeBeaux says:

    Jo, you rule with an iron hand, like my daughter Angelle at Dillard Universiy in New Orleans. I need an eye exam as well. It is easy to make simple errors with eye issues. So,excuse some if you see any in this comment (smile).

    Awards are wonderful to have, but do they help sell to the average wine consumer; I think not! I provide honest reviews on wines that are mostly daily drinking wines under $20.00 in most cases, unless it is sparkling or a splurge wine on the http://www.ebacchus.com site. The bottom line is that good PR and wine reviews that are honest sells wine. Your audience will blog about your honesty and likes or dislikes on your wine reviews.



  4. Jo Diaz says:


    I believe that they *do* help sell wine, because I’ve seen it happen over-and-over again with my clients. While the Millennial generation will be quick to tell you that they’re not influenced by these accolades – and I believe for now they’re not – they’re just one generation in the marketing mix. I’ve seen a LOT of wine sold with a shelf talker that had a gold medal attached to it.

    I watched a brand with only 300 cases grow to about 10,000 cases, in only a few years… mostly based on GOLD. The proprietor, who was a hard sell with wine competitions, go to a very singular place, once his first gold came in. He’s stayed there for about seven years now, with great success, and continued growth.

    Reviews and accolades work; otherwise, no one would be sending their wines to anyone for a review. Whether it’s now Web 2.0’s social media pals, or it’s the Boomers’ Parker, Wine Enthusiast’s team, Wine Spectator’s team, Charlie Olken, Eric Asimov, etc… Somebody somewhere has an opinion, and others are listening.

    Who is NOT listening to wineries when they’re tooting their horn about their GOLD is other writers.

    Why? Writer are opinion leaders, not opinion followers. It’s just that simple…

  5. Lorrie S. LeBeaux says:

    Jo, I understand the gold medal has its place in the wine world. Thanks for the well detailed explanation.

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    It’s the ‘ole saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

    There’s room for it all, and you learn this after going through years of trial and error. That’s mostly what I’m bringing to the plate; the years of doing it and seeing the results.

  7. I applaud you for getting the message out. Thanks Jo! Sometimes I spend the better half of my day reading through press releases to find a nugget of something interesting for my readers. I can speak on behalf of most bloggers that it would be helpful if PR reps could target their audience a little better. Believe me, I know it’s a lot of grunt work (and very time consuming) but the upfront work of targeting your audience pays off in the long run.

  8. Jo Diaz says:

    Amen, Pamela…

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