The Secrets to Great Wine PR

SpinningThe craft of wine industry public relations doesn't strike me as being altogether different than real estate, publishing, high tech, or any other industry PR effort. There is a different body of information that a Wine PR pro must master and of course a different set of media to understand. But in the end, the simplest explanation of what a Wine PR pro must do is the simplest explanation of what any public relations professional does: communicate a brand message to a targeted audience. This is the essence of public relations.

I had an inkling of this simple idea when I was hired in 1990 to work at a wine-oriented public relations agency. But I didn't understand it completely. I learned the craft from my peers in the office who were willing to put up with my mistakes and guide me. There was no manual I could pick up; there was no Wine PR 101 I could read.

That arrived in 2004 when long-time publicist Harvey Posert and journalist Paul Franson published "Spinning The Bottle: Case Histories, Tactics and Stories of Wine PR. This was the first book on the subject I'd ever seen. When I read it in 2004 I did so with the intention to see if it's contents contradicted what I had learned and practices over the last 14 years. It turned out I had been on the right track. I cam to admire the book as the perfect tool to recommend to folks who had just gotten into my field or wanted to.

However, the changes that have come to public relations since "Spinning the Bottle" was published in 2004 have been monumental. Specifically, the tools that publicists use have changed. It's for this reason that I was very happy to learn that a new, revised and updated edition, "Spinning the Bottle Again", was to be published. I found out about the new edition when Paul Franson called me and asked me to contribute a chapter on how publicists should set out to work with wine bloggers.

I think I was a decent choice for this chapter. The year the first edition of "Spinning the Bottle" was published I started this wine blog. Over the past seven years I have not only been heavily involved in the wine blogging movement and worked to promote wine blogging, but I also have found myself reaching out to wine bloggers regularly in my day job as a wine publicist. My chapter in the new "Spinning the Bottle Again" focuses on the short history of wine blogging and how publicist ought to work with bloggers. I think it's helpful.

The new "Spinning the Bottle", however, is much more. The new edition not only lays out a very specific and focused curriculum of how to practice wine public relations and delves deeply in to what is being called "The New PR", but also provides numerous wine PR case studies written by some of the best practicing wine publicists in the business. This element of the book should of tremendous aid to new and experienced publicists.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that practices wine PR. There is nothing else like it. You will not find a compendium of wine PR wisdom anywhere else on or off the net. "Spinning the Bottle Again" can be purchased HERE in traditional book form and it can be downloaded as an eBook HERE.

I want to close with a final note. There is an impression building in the wine PR realm as well as in other industries that the new social media tools are redefining the practice of public relations; that publicists who can manage a Twitter feed, Facebook page, YouTube account and other social media services will succeed. While this is clearly a set of new tools that publicists in and out of wine must master, they are not key to succeeding at wine public relations.

I'm going to tell you the key to being a great publicist: Know how to tell and sell a compelling story to the people most likely to be receptive to that story. Doing this cannot be done with a Twitter feed and Facebook page. You need email and a telephone and ability to sell a story idea to an editor or writer in a few sentences or a few words. Yes, this means a good publicist is also a good salesperson, a good writer and a good observer. This message comes through in the new "Spinning the Bottle Again", and that makes me very happy.

7 Responses

  1. Julie Ann Kodmur - March 2, 2012

    Good recap of the two books, Tom! Everyone will be lucky to read your chapter and benefit from your expertise. Just to make it even more interesting, today brings us more PR brainstorming from the New York Times:

  2. Regime ahmmadwarssi - March 2, 2012

    Thank you fro writing this kind of blogg. while i was reading your Blog. It has gave some sort of an idea about the writing.
    Not just Blogs. But i was interested to write a book. It may will help me to get new ideas that how to write the Book.
    Thank you

  3. Ron Washam, HMW - March 2, 2012

    You never reached out to me, Tom. I’m stunned. Hey, I plugged Soos Creek and he sold a bunch of wine because of my plug, he told me. I’m crushed. Fools get no respect. Too many uptight wineries.
    Then again, probably smart on your part.

  4. Samantha - March 4, 2012

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    How are you?
    I would like to contact with you about our 8th Shanghai International Wine & Spirits Exhibition on May 3-5, 2012 at INTEX in Shanghai, China.
    I will appreciate if you can have a consideration of participating in.
    If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact with me. Thank you!
    yours sincerely,

  5. Jim Caudill - March 5, 2012

    The more I see, the more I appreciate why Carl Byoir & Associates made me take both a writing test and a “smarts test” when I started in the agency business, well, a while ago. Everything old is new again, and more valuable than ever. I’ve updated my chapter in the book, at the editor’s request. I’ll look forward to the new edition.

  6. Kris Chislett - March 8, 2012

    🙂 Samantha’s comment made me smile! You’ve got to love Press Releases that start out with “Dear Sir/Madam”! Even funnier that someone would choose to write that on this particular post.

  7. 5 PR Basics, As Explained by Game of Thrones : The Buzz Bin - May 28, 2014

    […] that the Stark children were hunted by nightmares for days. Old Nan mastered what Tom Wark from Fermentation Wine Blog considers the key to being a great publicist: “Know how to tell and sell a compelling story to […]

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