In The Trenches-1: Wine Writers & Clients
In the very end, public relations professionals tell stories. That’s what we do. On the pages of a press release, inside brochures, while giving speeches, when on the phone with journalists…it’s all about telling the client’s story. Of course, the best and most important method of imparting the client’s story is when you sit them down, face to face, with a journalist.
I facilitate such meetings alot. There are times when these meetings don’t go well. The client and journalist don’t click; the journalist really doesn’t care beyond the free lunch they are getting; the client is uninspiring. But sometimes the meeting of client and journalists goes very, very well. This usually happens when you are sitting your client with a writer who cares tremendously about the wine industry, wine and their place in the industry. I was with my client on one such meeting yesterday.
Ronn Wiegand is the publisher of Restaurant Wine, he is a consultant to restaurants and wineries, and this is just the start. He is also the first person to hold a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier designation. When you meet with Ronn you usually go over to his home office, show off your clients and their wines and chat. And here’s what makes Mr. Wiegand the kind of journalist you want your clients to meet: he tells the truth from a place of knowledge and concern for the industry. He’ll tell you, “These wines aren’t up to par”, or “Great wine, price too high,” or “Lovely wine for the vintage but here’s where you will run into problems.”
Most times clients meet with journalists in the hope of getting a good review for their wine or perhaps a story out of the meeting. With people like Ronn, or Dan Berger for example, you hope they’ll simply have time to chat seriously with you because you learn so much not only about your wine and your circumstances, but about the industry.