News and marketing for California's coastal vineyards, wineries and food producers.
I write blogs and manage social media for small wineries and artisan food producers in California's beautiful Central Coast region. I have 20 years of experience in wine hospitality and sales. I create customized marketing plans, and provide copywriting, marketing, and media outreach to wine and food artisans. I love my job.
If you'd like to find out more about how to become part of Central Coast Wine Blogs, feel free to contact me any time. My email address is email@example.com.
I'll look forward to hearing from you soon!
Central Coast Wine Blogs provides a full spectrum of services from management outsourcing to individual marketing tasks.
Although I specialize in artisan food and wine accounts, I also engage with a variety of clients and tasks. I've done everything from working on a website about semiotics to drafting an e-book for a former NFL star.
Fermentation Tom Wark's wine industry blog is THE lodestone for common sense reporting, opinion, controversy, legal battles and public commentary.
The Winery Web Site Report Mike Duffy's FREE advice on how to improve your customers' website experience, sales conversion, and loyalty.
Think Wine Marketing The best blog out there for wineries (and food producers) to learn how to market, blog, innovate, and mine social media
ViralVines Wine, wineries, and social media ... how to communicate with customers, industry, and sales channels, and have fun doing it!
Wine Berserkers More industry participants than any other wine forum, with dedicated sub-forums for wine production and wine sales discussions. Registration is free. Industry links encouraged. Use your real name, please.
Wine and chocolate? There are two sides to the issue. On one hand, chocolate should be avoided when doing serious wine evaluation because the sugar and oils in the chocolate coat one's palate and interfere with perception.
On the other hand, chocolate is just plain fun and totally yummy with red wine. So for many people, chocolate is a welcome treat on a wine tasting weekend, when our weekday button-downed rules are meant to be broken, or at least ignored.
As wineries, we are always looking for the next great branding item to give away or sell in the tasting room. So why not edible images on chocolate? The party favor square pictured above is just the right size for a label image. Tasty Image, a chocolate company that prints images (including photos) on chocolate can also print your label or winery image on business cards, lollipops and hanging ornaments.
Branded chocolates are a nice addition to gift lines, and they're also great as a thank you gift for big buyers, loyal wine club members, wholesale clients, and sales reps.
Tasty Image is a client of mine, which means a little sumpin' sumpin' extra for you! Use the links provided here and use code SOLID10 on checkout to receive a 10% discount on your order.
If you are interested in placing larger orders (like, after the first order of chocolate disappears in about a day) let me know and I will set you up with affiliate/wholesale pricing.
Imaged chocolates are delivered by FedEx in protective, insulated packaging.
Whether you're a winery owner juggling two careers or a sales rep with an armful of wine to sell, these tips are for you.
These 50 tips will help you achieve more in less time and help you be more productive.
Self-employment has been rising by 4% per year for the last ten years, which means that every year there are nearly 10 million new small business owners. And with the available power of internet outsourcing and mobile technology, it’s now possible to work from your home, boat, or vehicle even if you are a salaried employee.
But working at home carries its own set of challenges--longer hours, no water cooler, a different set of distractions. This list is a result of my own hard knocks. Has my computer crashed? Oh, yeah. Have clients called with questions I couldn’t find the answer for? Have I stood up from my desk after 14 hours in front of a computer and wondered why my back creaks?
Stacie, a friend and fellow entrepreneur, asked me for advice. Stacie (not her real name, for obvious reasons) is a videographer that works with a number of PR firms and clients. “My video files and script changes are highly organized,” she said. “But whenever I come up for air I realize my accounting is a mess, my personal marketing consists of bent and smudged business cards with an old phone number, and I have no clean clothes.”
A cursory online search on the topic of getting organized led me to two different types of information. The first was a grab bag of articles on “how to organize your office” that included doubtuflly helpful advice like “don’t stuff your file folders too full.” The second source of help was a long list of 'organizing coaches' who charge upwards of $100 an hour to help you clean out your closets and your life.
If you're like me, you need advice on how to get and stay organized, but you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars or have your closets explored by strangers.
The following 50 tips will help you get organized and stay organized. You may also find that your creativity and self-confidence will increase along with your newfound efficiency!
Now this is marketing! It's fun, edgy, satirical, and the name of the wine is mentioned over and over again. Check it out!
Congrats to everyone on the cast and crew. I thought Whitney was great, so lovable. Austin rocks, and it was clear that everyone was having a good time. But I have to say my favorites are Jorge and Cesar. They crack me up.
Visit Dina Mande's site Juice Ideas for behind the scenes photos and more creative ideas on how to market your wine.
"Many small wineries will contract with wholesalers in their home state and other states. The biggest mistake wineries make when working with wholesalers is selling them a pallet or half pallet or quarter pallet of wine to them hoping the wholesaler sells the wine. If you really want them to sell your wine after they buy it, you'll need to demand they do so by staying in touch with them regularly. Demand they use the sales materials they get form you. Demand they deliver regular depletion reports. Demand they take time to work with your wine so you are in the market. Demand you have the opportunity to communicate with sales people. If you don't do these things, the likelihood is that your wines will languish in their warehouses as they focus on larger brands."
Mary Woodworth, owner of HarvestGate—a Paso Robles distributor that focuses on central coast brands—has a slightly different take on the subject. Mary's advice to wineries is to build a firm foundation first by studying the market, your brand demographics, and your competition. "My biggest concern is that many wineries want to launch a consumer product but have absolutely no idea where they will sell it. This isn’t a case of 'if you build it they will come'. "
Know your market—don’t sit back and expect a distributor to create a viable marketing plan for you (unless of course you pay them to do it).
Know your competition – unless you’re highly sought after, you have competition and a lot of it. Be realistic.
Know your customer – who is it that buys your wine (to drink!) and why. What will you do to reach that pull through?
Know the sales reps – treat them with respect as they represent your hard work.
Understanding the market and your competition is key to a healthy sales program because conditions continually shift, like sand dunes. New wineries entering the market may take your place if you are complacent, and new consumer trends may veer retailers away from your product. "The product itself is both subjective and dynamic. In other words, the variables are not constant. It's a moving target if you will," says Mary.
Although we are seeing signs of general economic recovery, the last year has been a hard slog for small winery and vineyard owners. In an economic downturn, the luxury good, hospitality, and travel industries are often the hardest hit. Among our associates, chins are held high and stories of silver linings abound. But industry vendors and salesmen are telling a different story--one of back payments requiring COD status, higher returns, downtrending sales, and equipment foreclosures.
Now more than ever, it's important to have a clear-eyed view of your business' health, ratios and sales trends. In a climate where bankers are looking at every new loan application with a jaundiced eye, and subjecting renewals to greater scrutiny, it's important to be able to identify and address each of the signs that your bankers will be looking at. Even if you feel that your sales and bottom line are healthy, you may be surprised to see your business in a different light by applying some of the ratios below. And if your business really is healthy, then you should be able to present these ratios with pride and explain what you are doing to protect and increase them.
In fact, I may occasionally take you outside of your comfort zone and show you the possible.
For instance, when I met New York cookbook author Brigit Binns, who is also known in culinary circles as roadfoodie, I was instantly charmed. Who hasn't heard of roadfoodie, the sassy vixen who has documented her culinary travels across the US and around the world? Brigit is the author of 23 cookbooks, including some gorgeous Williams Sonoma selections. When I met her last month she was working hard on a couple of cookbook drafts and taking a month-long hiatus in Paso Robles to relax and finish her recipe testing. But her current dream is to write a cookbook inspired by the central coast, where she spent many glorious summers as a child.
To help her achieve that goal, I introduced her to some wineries and local food artisans. But I really wanted her to experience our culinary connection to the land, so I even went so far as to set up a boar hunt for us. Dubost Ranch Winery kindly hooked us up with professional guide Matt Tupen (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we had the time of our lives.
"I am standing underneath a scarred, ancient oak tree on an isolated ranch far to the west of Paso Robles, in central California, with a dead body, a blond woman, and a strange man—I first laid eyes on him five minutes ago—who is holding a very, very sharp knife. 'It’s a surgical blade,' he says, with disarming cheer."
"The dead body is a 200-pound wild boar, the man is a hunter, and the blond woman is Mary Baker, of Central Coast Wine Blogs; she has opened doors for me in this wine community that I might otherwise have spent months—if not years—knocking on."
You might think that sliding around in the mud in an ATV and learning to skin a boar with a surgical knife is not a typical woman's idea of fun. And you'd probably be right. But we loved it And the boar (pictured above) was parceled out lovingly to local foodies. In Brigit's hands, he became a delicious and robust cassoulet, which she proclaimed a 'Passoulet', and it was served with Paso Robles syrah and cabernet.
So when you ask me what Central Coast Wine Blogs does, my reply would be . . .
I help you realize your dreams. Whatever you want to achieve, I can take you there and beyond.
I am delighted to announce the publication of our first in an upcoming series of wine industry eGuides and eBooks.
This 14-page eGuide provides a complete Ten Step Marketing Plan for vineyard owners. It is a brief and to-the-point distillation of over 20 years of experience working with both vintners and vineyard owners.
Coming soon, I will also be publishing an eGuide for cellar rats, an eBook on tasting room management, and another eBook on brand building!
Sign up for email updates or follow us on Facebook to receive news about new CCWB publications as soon as they become available. (Just look for the email signup and Facebook boxes in the right column.)
Have you ever wished you had help marketing your vineyard?
Do you want a complete marketing plan specifically designed for your business?
Have you ever wished you had a waiting list of back up buyers?
This 14-page eGuide provides a complete Ten Step Marketing Plan for your vineyard.
I have distilled 20 years of experience into a Marketing Plan for Vineyards that addresses YOUR needs. For little more than the cost of a grande cappuccino you can purchase a plan that will lead you through a full year of activities that take your timing, your energy, and your needs into account.
Have you ever wished that your source vineyards were better at communicating?
Do you wish they had a plan and a protocol for dropping off berry samples and requesting wine samples?
Has communication about harvest timing, quality, or contracts ever been a problem?
This inexpensive eGuide makes a great handout for your current sources. I highly recommend it as an addendum to new and renewed grape contracts.
To be accessible to your existing customers and fan base
To build a larger fan base for your product
To network with wine industry contacts, including distributors, retailers and restaurants
Social media sites are for socializing! These are not appropriate venues for a hard-sell product pitch, or for consistent and annoying brand messages.
The really excellent news is that social media can both replace and supplement old-fashioned stumping.
Inter-personal contact has always been important in the wine industry. Wine pourings, charity events, ride-alongs with sales reps ... and of course, the tasting room. Anyone in sales or marketing in the industry will confirm that the personal connection is important. Wine is a fairly expensive luxury good and customers want to know the artisans behind the brand.
Social media gives wineries a golden opportunity to expand that personal connection. You can build a collection of friends and fans, contact them regularly with a personal 'wazzup' and be accessible on their favorite platforms. While it is not an appropriate avenue for hard sales, social media is just as important as personal appearances. In many ways, it's actually more effective because you can relate to your customers on their schedule, and not on yours. Instead of a once-every-six-months appearance at a wine bar, you are accessible at any time.
Sign up below to receive email updates when new articles are added. You will also be notified when our ebooks are published! 'Managing Your Tasting Room' and 'Building Your Brand' will be available soon.