Wine scores are still a fabulous way to promote your wines – but you can no longer assume that simply getting a score of 90 or higher from a prestigious wine critic is going to be enough to move a bottle of wine. Keep in mind that Wine Spectator magazine alone reviews over 15,000 wines each year, and every year, hundreds of those wines pick up scores of 90 or higher. So you’ll need to get a little creative in how you promote your wine scores. Here are a few ideas that can really help you leverage your wine scores.
If your winery has a wine blog of its own, this is a perfect way for you to get the word out about your new high-scoring wine. The best wine blog posts, of course, will be able to bring out some of the story and narrative of the wine. For example, if your wine happens to be the first biodynamic wine you’ve produced, that could be an interesting angle to promote your new 90+ wine. Or if there is something notable about the terroir of your region, or something special that went into making the wine, that’s a great “story hook” to talk about your wine. If you do not have a wine blog of your own, you might be able to pitch a wine blogger to write up your wine.
The real action today is happening on social media, especially Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You need to be able to create different types of content for each of these social platforms. When you do, you can really drive word-of-mouth buzz about your wine. For example, let’s say that your wine just won a Gold or Silver medal in competition – you could create a post for your Facebook page featuring a photo of your product and a short description of which award it won, and how highly it scored in the competition. Once people start liking, sharing and commenting on your post, you’ve just scored some free PR for your wine!
And you can replicate this same type ofsuccess on other social media platforms. For example, you could also post a photo on Instagram of your bottle of wine at your winery, and then invite people to come and check out your new high-scoring wine. If you also add in a few choice hashtags - such as #GoldMedal or #90pointwine - you can also make your Instagram post more visible to other people who are not already following you. And if your photo is enticing enough, you might find a crowd of wine enthusiasts lining up at your winery to try out your new award-winning wine.
Shelf talkers are all the rage these days – little tags and notes that are attached to a bottle of wine, explaining all the relevant details, such as vintage, varietal and… wine tasting scores! This is a great chance to highlight a score of 90+ to savvy wine customers. It’s almost irresistible to the eye of a serious wine drinker if there’s a giant “90” on a wine retail shelf. Remember - people buy wine with their eyes first, and if the first thing they see is a giant “90,” they are going to want to find out more about your wine.
In much the same way, you can create a new label for your wine celebrating your big win. Often times, a wine competition will provide its own custom printing services to help you do this as quickly, efficiently (and affordable) as possible. Once you have a new label promoting that 90+ score, you have a very powerful tool to help convince customers to buy your bottle of wine.
Just a few years ago, this recommendation probably would have been at the top of the list. You would have created a press release, sent it off to all the industry trade media and waited for stories about your wine to appear in newspapers and magazines. These days, however, your best option is to reach out to regional or local publications rather than national publications. You can ask the local paper, for example, if they would be interested in running a story about you, your winery or your bottle of wine.
If you’re in a part of the country that might not be known for its wine - such as Texas - this might make for a very compelling hook. In recent years, Texan wines from Hill Country have been on the rise, and so the story of your wine would fit right into this narrative. (You might need to be a little creative here, but the key is to have the right story and narrative so that journalists will want to cover it.)
These days, many wine drinkers are using wine apps like Vivino to find a particular type of wine. And in those apps are reviews, comments and ratings. You need to make sure that your new 90+ wine is properly updated in these apps so that customers can see immediately that you are offering a very special wine.
If you are targeting young millennial wine drinkers - now the largest and most influential group of wine buyers - you will need to think beyond just a score. Remember, the wine industry is constantly changing, and millennials usually require a brand story or narrative before they will buy a wine. If given a choice between a wine with a 90+ score and a wine with a 90+ score AND a story, they will opt for the latter. So do what you can to pair your wine score with a great wine story.
his is where your social media expertise will come in handy - follow a few wineries to see how they are promoting new wines. Wine drinkers have always responded to the emotional and even romantic aspects of winemaking - so make your wine one that they can cheer for. For example, “the husband-wife team that translated their passion for wine into making award-winning wines” is a great story that tugs at the heartstrings.
The easiest place to host a tasting is at your winery. Who doesn’t want to meet the winemaker behind an award-winning wine? However, don’t overlook the opportunity to host in-store tastings as a way of promoting your new wine score. Store retail staff can become your biggest fans and supporters, and if they fall in love with your wine, they will be much more likely to talk it up to their customers.
As you can see, there are multiple different platforms, channels, and methods to promote your wine scores. It might take some trial-and-error to find out what works best for you (some people might prefer social media, while others might feel more comfortable with traditional media), but eventually, you’ll see how powerful word-of-mouth buzz can be in getting the word out about your new wine score.