This question came up at a UC Davis PR Extension class: PR for Small Wineries, where Jose, Steve Heimoff, and Bart Hansen (Dane Cellars) and I were presenters for Rusty Eddy’s annual class on wine PR. It then came up the following year. I can’t write about this enough.

[NOTE TO SELF: If I’m asked back to Rusty’s class again next year, make sure this is a topic of conversation, because Steve will back me up on this one, even though the class won’t want to hear it, for the most part.]

This is a constant question that’s asked by winery owners, once the gold medal has been achieved.

My first answer is always, “Let’s just make sure that you don’t ask me to write a press release and go tell every writer you and I know.”


Writers are looking for news; a gold, silver, or bronze (kissed-on-the-lips-by-your-sister) medal isn’t news, in the correct sense of the word. There are tons of wine competitions, some more credible than others, some more relevant to a region (Sonoma County Harvest Fair, for instance, impacts wines sales in Sonoma County), there are some where the panel of judges are just sommeliers, etc.

So, back to the original question, because it’s a common one, a good one on many levels, and I’ve got great marketing answers for you.

Tell the world, sans wine writers. If writers happen to fall upon the news (in a wine shop on a bottle of wine as a shelf talker), within social media options like Facebook and Twitter, your newsletter and your blog), not to worry. That’s an accidental happenstance. And, they’ll digest it their own way.

The audience for this news is consumers… p-e-r-i-o-d.

Get the word out there in as many ways as you can, as I mentioned above:

  • Get your marketing department to create shelf talkers, and hand them to your sales team
  • Social media options
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
  • Your newsletter
  • Your blog
  • O-n-l-y Media
    • Your local newspaper (they’ll post all awards, sports, academic, artistic, business, which also includes wine)

You’re the one responsible for spreading the news to the right people, but not the media; with the exception of your local newspaper and the AlaWine site.


Imagine being a wine writer, and you’ve decided to start writing about gold medals. Honestly, that’s all you’ll ever write about again. With over 6,000 wine brands in California (alone), if each one has six wines that are being offered (give or take), that’s 36, 000 potential awards that could be given out in a year’s time, in just one wine competition. Let’s say there are about 30 wine competitions. That’s an astounding number of 1,080,000 potential awards.

Okay, not every wine gets a medal, so let’s take that back by a third, that’s still 360,000 potential stories–again, for California, alone–and we’ve only got 365 days in the year.

There’s only one Website in the world so diligently devoted. It’s; so make hay while the sun shines on that vintage, and get ready to do it all over again next year… and all the years thereafter, because it’s part of your marketing job.

Just don’t think this is “news” in the United States; because, while it may be to you (and it should be), it’s not news for writers looking for meaty stories.

Your fans will love knowing, so go for it in that arena.

And, by-the-way, congratulations on a job well done.

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