A Paternal Moment in Wine Blogging

I’m feeling rather paternal today.

A Wark Communications client, Goosecross Cellars, recently launched their own blog, aptly named, "The Goosecross Cellars Blog".

The Goosecross Cellars Blog is the second winery blog we’ve helped birth. The question with any blog, winery related or not is two fold: Can you write on a regular enough basis to keep the attention of your audience and can you deliver content that is both compelling and the unique voice of the winery.

I was extraordinarily pleased when I saw their most recent entry: " ‘Great Wine’ By The Numbers?" It’s exactly the kind of post I like to see from a winery blog: it takes on a controversial subject with voice and opinion. In this case the topic is ostensibly Enologix, but substantially the idea that wine should reflect something real, not created.

Enologix is a consulting firm that helps wineries create wines that are more likely to get high scores from leading critics. Not a bad business model, eh? But I was happy to see that the Goosecross crew got right to the heart of the matter and nailed it:

"Who wouldn’t want 99 points? You can’t blame a businessman for trying
to make a product that sells. As long as there’s been commercial
winemaking there’s been that push and pull between the drive to bottle
a unique artistic expression and keeping food on the table. But you’ve
got to have a killer vineyard to even begin approaching these scores (I
don’t think they’ve figured out a way to fake the fruit yet—stay
tuned). It may be an antiquated concept, but would that vineyard make
more interesting wine if the winemaker simply attuned himself to it by
walking it frequently and making harvest decisions by tasting as well
as testing?"

Goosecross is an interesting story. These guys fly under the radar in Napa Valley. Yet, they’ve achieved the remarkable feat of being able to sell 98% of their wine direct to the consumer.

Ninety Eight Percent!!! And we aren’t talking a boutique winery producing only 800 cases per year. They’ve been successful in part because they perfected the art of reaching out to consumers early on and were never afraid to try something new. In addition to their blog, they also are the proprietors of "Napa Valley Wine Radio", a regular podcast that has gained a substantial listenership. They also have one of the most customer-centric web sites in the wine business.


I know, this sounds a bit like a commercial for a client. Chalk it up to that paternal thing I’m feeling. I simply get excited when I see anyone, client or not, do it right. Their post on doing wine right and focusing on creating something natural is exactly what many wine lovers are looking for from a winery they want to interact with.

Part of my job is to keep pushing the Goosecross crew to post more, develop their voice and not be afraid to step farther out on the blogging limb. They’ve begun to inch their way out there now. That is in  large part what many new bloggers do. They test the water, dip their toe, try something new and find the spot that feels comfortable.

3 Responses

  1. Winesmith - September 28, 2006

    Tom: Interesting story behind Goosecross. For a winery that sells 98% direct to consumers, a blog seems like a no-brainer way to develop customer loyalty and to develop new customers.
    What are your thoughts on blogs from wineries that sell less than 5% direct to consumers. Do you think there are types of wineries that should not blog?

  2. Mike Duffy - September 29, 2006

    Goosecross is one of the Web sites I’ve always used as an example of many good practices over here at The Winery Web Site Report. My main criticism is how visually busy their home page is. But 98% direct is an incredible statistic! And I think their Web site is part of the reason (along with all the other stuff they do to reach out to consumers directly).
    I look forward to reading their blog!

  3. Mike Duffy - September 29, 2006

    PS – why a separate URL (goosecrossblog.com) instead of blog.goosecross.com? And where’s the link from their home page? [grin]

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