A World of Wine Communication at Wine2Wine

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A World of Wine Communication at Wine2Wine

Early on a Monday morning in December, I took the train from Florence in the direction towards Verona to learn more about the world of wine communication by attending the, by now, well-known digital (wine) marketing conference Wine2Wine.

I had not thought of going, thinking maybe next year, but then I was in contact with a Twitter friend, Mike Madaio, who asked for some data about my blogging and live streaming activities. He also sent out a general survey to wine bloggers. He told me he would speak at Wine2Wine about wine blogging trends, and this got me curious.

I started reading up on the program thinking, should I go or not? In the end, I decided to go as I in the same period got invited to a press tour in Veneto for a couple of days just after Wine2Wine. This turned out to be a very good choice and a fulfilling week work- and wine-wise.

I learned more about wine communication and got more certain in my own beliefs about the importance of using social media in a strategic way in the wine world. Last year, I wrote the article 3 Reasons Why Wine Communication Matters and while at Wine2Wine, it became very clear to me that what I wrote almost 2 years ago is more current than ever.

The understanding of wine communication in Italy has moved ahead since then, however, there is still a large gap between having a story to knowing how to use social media and the right marketing methods in a professional way to tell your wine story. I also believe the educational part of the storytelling could be developed much more.

Another confirmation I got while at Wine2Wine is that live streaming is here to stay and that it gives enormous results when done right. Read on to learn more about why…

What is Wine2Wine?

This was the fourth edition of Wine2Wine which is an initiative started by Stevie Kim and Vinitaly International together with Verona Fiere. On their website, it is defined as a wine business forum that gives the “latest market insights” and “strategic networking opportunities” for doing business in the wine world.

The agenda was set with a wide range of 30-minute presentations by international and Italian speakers from the wine world. Topics such as social media strategies and tools, apps, enotourism, lesser-known markets in the US, new markets in China, the Canadian market, wine blogging and top wine influencers, and much more, were covered.

The wide range of topics gave you a possibility to learn something about new things and to meet and ask questions to experts in the field. Some comments I heard, was that the 30-minute talks were too brief and general to actually learn something and that there was very little space for questions afterward.

However, all my producer friends seemed happy about the event overall and the opportunities for networking and meeting international professionals from the wine sector.

My Wine2Wine Experience

As often, I chose to attend some talks strategically while I dropped in on others more randomly to see what they had to offer. I also tried to not listen in to too many seminars or talks, as it is easy to just get overwhelmed. I tried to alternate between attending presentations, talking to people, new and old wine friends, and just writing down my impressions and doing some social media posting in a corner somewhere.

Below, I will not go through all the seminars I attended but only talk more in-depth about a couple of them.

Jeffrey Porter

I very much enjoyed the talk by Jeffrey Porter (Batali and Bastanich Hospitality Group) about the growing markets in North Carolina and Colorado in the US. He very clearly outlined and based his presentation on statistical data showing how the market works in the US and why there is a growing potential in North Carolina and Colorado.

Kristina Kelley

Later on, I went to Kristina Kelley’s talk ‘The 360 Approach: Why Integrated PR & Communication Plans are Key”. She is the Senior Director of Public Relations for E. and J. Gallo Winery.

At Wine2Wine, Kristina Kelley talked about the importance of your approach, i.e. to not only tell a story but to making it possible for the audience to live and experience your story. It is important to have your story and your message clear in order to reach out on many levels in a multifaceted way.

She also talked about how they at E. and J. Gallo Winery incorporates live streaming in their communication strategies. This was, of course, especially interesting to me. She told us that they have had huge results in hosting live virtual tastings as well as more wine educational shows.

Indeed, it is important to provide value, to have an educational approach, when you are doing live streaming. It helps to get people to be more present and interactive in a live stream.

Mike Madaio

On day 2, Mike Madaio, a journalist, Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Ambassador, and on the editorial board of Palate Press, talked about the state of wine blogging today. I ‘know’ Mike since sometime on Twitter, we are following and having conversations on the same Twitter chats, etc.

In his talk, he discussed how it is not only about writing text articles for wine bloggers anymore. He stressed that the future is to diversify your content and not limit yourself to only written content, video, photography, podcasts, or other. A combination of different types of content is the future.

Also, he emphasized that wineries ought to look for people to collaborate with in the wine blogger world who are producing many types of content and trying to look at it from many different angles.

Mike had asked me for information and statistical data some time before Wine2Wine, but I honestly did not think that he would mention me. I believed he would just refer to sources in a more general way. I feel very honored and thankful that he mentioned me and that I was there listening to him live. While I, of course, as a meta stream, was live streaming his talk on Twitter. LOL

Mike Madaio gave a very interesting presentation and he showed in a very clear way that, in the end, it is not about how many followers you have or how big you are as a blogger business, but rather how you produce and diversify your content that matters. He, furthermore, pointed out that there is a big potential for wineries to better collaborate with wine bloggers and wine influencers to get visibility.

Live streaming

Live streaming really has a huge potential and I can indeed say that I am proof of that it works. I started out to test live streaming for fun back in early 2015, with Meerkat and Periscope. Then in the autumn of 2015, I wanted to start a Twitter chat on Italian wine with a focus on lesser known and smaller producers. I wanted to tell their story, the story of them as human beings, their area, native grape varieties, cultural heritage, traditions, wines, etc.

I was advised to start a live stream about Italian wine instead. Back in 2015, Blab.im had just started and it was a great platform for getting people to follow and interact with you. In 2016, Blab was shut down so I migrated to a couple of other platforms before I settled on Belive.tv to stream to Facebook Live.

This was the best advice I could have gotten and I am very thankful to Kelly Hungerford and Robert Moore for that. My #WinesOfItaly #LiveStream has become a very important way for me to diversify my content and to get visibility. Live streaming together with Twitter has opened doors for me in the wine community that I, in the beginning, did not think was possible.

For me, Twitter is one of the best channels to enter the international wine community, have conversations, and connect with people on many different levels. In Italy, Twitter is very underestimated because it takes a bit of time and you need a bit of a strategy to get results.

Opera Wine

An extra bonus, so to say, at Wine2Wine, is that Vinitaly together with Wine Spectator presents the 100 wineries they have selected for the coming year as representatives of the Finest Italian Wines. The OperaWine wineries are then opening the coming year’s Vinitaly wine fair followed by tastings of the different wines.

Wine2Wine – Conclusions

This was the first time that I attended the Wine2Wine event and I learned a lot. It is, indeed, a great way to learn about new trends in the wine marketing field as well as very useful to connect with like-minded people.

All the seminar rooms and auditoriums were located in the same space in one area of Veronafiere which made it very easy to drop in and out between different presentations and seminars. There were also spaces set up for mingling and networking where you could sip on a glass of wine while chatting.

Definitely, an event to keep on your calendar for next year. 🙂

 

Katarina Andersson

Seen often at wine events streaming live, Katarina is a wine writer, wine educator, social media strategist, and translator. She is the founder of WinesOfItaly LiveStream. She has been a guest at The Cellar, hosted by Richard Glover, at Wine Two Five, a podcast hosted by Stephanie Davis and Valerie Caruso, and at the Twitter chat #WiningHourChat founded by Li Valentine.

2 thoughts on “A World of Wine Communication at Wine2Wine”

  1. Informative post Katarina! I like the approach you took to attending… not getting overwhelmed by seminars and talks but dropping into many. Tried to listen to the three talks you have here- will go back into your feed to find them. Great share! Next year ;-D

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