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By now, we’ve all moved to some version of virtual. We’re using different platforms for work meetings, online happy hours, fitness/wellness sessions, catching up with friends and just staying connected as best we can. There’s talk now of wineries cautiously reopening at a date yet to be determined and with safety protocols that are still being hammered out. In the meantime, it makes sense for our terrific BC wineries to continue connecting with online communities through virtual wine tasting experiences to leverage these effective marketing opportunities. Some of these virtual events are more entertaining and fabulous than you ever expected possible while some of them can be a bit of a yawn.

How to Make Your Winery’s Online Event Outstandingly Special

We’re all spending a lot more time in front of our devices. So when your visitors tune in to your virtual wine tasting experience, to stand out from the rest, remember to be:

  • Entertaining – smile, show your personality, inject some humour! We can’t ever get enough of that these days!
  • Unique – this is your big chance to show and tell your viewers what sets you apart from the rest. People want to know what makes your winery or your story special! It creates a more meaningful connection with your audience. Bring them into the fold!
  • Authentic – be yourself, let your audience get to know the real you and your story!
  • Informative – bring some new learning or information.
  • Connective – the longer we shelter-in-place and practice physical distancing, the more many of us realise how much we miss human and social connection. By making your virtual event interactive, allowing viewers to comment in a chat or ask questions, you can create a true sense of community that your viewers will be grateful for and want more of!

A Great Example of a Virtual Wine Tasting Experience

When I saw the notice about the Black Market Wine Company’s online tasting on Facebook I was curious (and my supply of rosé was getting dangerously low) so I decided to check it out. Here’s what I loved about their virtual event:

  • The host, Rob Hammersley, was natural and at ease. The production was artisanal which was comfortable. I felt like if I were at the winery, he’d be exactly the same guy, talking with me in exactly the same way. That’s authenticity.
  • He described the three different winemaking techniques that can be used to create rosé wines. That was informative.
  • The event was recorded live. There was a Q&A segment when viewers could create a dialogue with Rob and Michelle to learn about where the idea came for their winery’s name and the organized crime-inspired wine names! That was entertaining and also created a connection with me. It was like being let in on some inside information; a little bit of intimacy.
  • In responding to a question, Rob explained their unconventional choice to use Syrah grapes for their rosé – certainly a point of uniqueness!

Then, toward the end, when Rob said they had a limited supply of some of their wines, that’s all it took for me to spring into action. I ordered 6 bottles which arrived the very next day with a hand-written card signed by Rob and Michelle. At that point, I felt like family!

Some More Tips for your Awesome Virtual Wine Tasting Experience

Viewers enjoy an original, memorable and fun experience, not a lecture. So, here are more ideas for your next virtual wine tasting adventure:

  • A Tour! How about taking your guests on a tour of the winery through your recording device?
  • Add Wine! If your guests have the opportunity to pre-order the wines you’ll be tasting, this will take their participation to a higher level of fun and engagement!
  • Let your viewers know how much of the wine that you’re tasting is left in stock. If there isn’t much, they’ll feel a strong and urgent need to buy it (trust me – see above)
  • What about a food pairing? Help your viewers imagine your wine at their next meal, picnic or online happy hour.
  • Consider this virtual vehicle as a permanent addition to your marketing plan, not just an emergency response. Once you reopen your doors, online events remain a great way to expand your outreach. Use this venue to cultivate your customer community and connect on new levels with your fans, both near and far.

Working with wineries is my passion and my business. I’d love to hear about your ideas for activities during and beyond COVID. If you’d like to talk about your online strategy or brainstorm ideas for your winery, give me a call.