Buying Into The Millennial Wine Buyer

imageA couple of weeks ago I sat on a panel in Saint Helena that explored the Millennial wine buyer. The primary question was how do you reach this growing demographic?

My response to the primarily Napa Valley and Sonoma County winery representatives in the room was this:

Beware: Millennials are not buying expensive wines. And if you are selling $50+ bottles of wine and selling out every year and if your buyers are made up primarily of Baby Boomers and older Gen Xers, well then what do you care about Millennial wine buyers? Keep doing what you are doing. Eventually the Millennials will grow up and buy your wine.

I’m right about this. But it doesn’t address the question, what if you really do want to target Millennials for some reason?

One thing we know for sure about Millennials of all ages is that they are far more adept at incorporating social media and interactive communications into their lives. And they are using numerous different tools to explain their lives, explore the world, run their lives and interact with the world.

This brings me to VinTank.

VinTank is the tool developed by Paul Mabray and James Jory that for imagea number of years now has allowed wineries to monitor, track and understand not merely the results of their own social media efforts, but also to understand the habits, affinities, actions and movements of consumers using social media to interact with wineries and the wine world. Used to its fullest, VinTank allows subscribers and users to target social media outreach to people far more likely to both buy and make an impact on your winery brand’s equity and exposure.

Put simply, Mabray and Jory have built the best tool in the business for monitoring and analyzing social media.

No doubt this is why VinTank was purchased by W2O Group this week.

W2O Group is a number of things, but most importantly it is a firm offering precise, useful and actionable analytics tools for its clients. With VinTank now part of its stable of companies and tools, W2O Group has a social media monitoring and outreach tool that gives its clients a means of virtually corralling and capturing the most important online influencers that concern themselves with wine and wine brands.

Which brings me back to wineries and millennials.

It strikes me that any attempt to actively market to the Millennial wine buyer that doesn’t actively deploy a robust social media outreach component is not only incomplete, but bound to fail. The number one rule of marketing is you must go face to face with your target audience.

This amounts to more than simply tweeting a few times a week, more than simply snapping a beauty shot of your vineyard, more than commenting on a Delectable post about your wines. It means understanding who the influencers are, how they communicate online and how to proactively reach out to them in a space where they feel comfortable and confident. VinTank is probably the only tool built specifically for the wine industry that allows wineries and wine-related companies to do this efficiently.

I know Paul Mabray. I’ve worked with Paul. Paul is a friend of mine. He’s prone to audacious thinking, speaking his mind, and wishful thinking. It’s these qualities that have gotten him in trouble, provoked people to wonder about his motives and, also, to have allowed him to radically succeeded in nearly every wine industry venture he’s ever pursued. They are also the qualities that have allowed him to create what is perhaps the only indispensable tool for those few wineries that are committed to pursuing the Millennial wine buyer.

Now that W2O Group owns VinTank, it will be interesting to see if more wineries choose to adopt this tool as an essential part of their Millennial and Marketing outreach efforts. And it will be interesting to see what Mabray and Jory have up their sleeve for the wine industry.


2 Responses

  1. Matt Jackson - May 13, 2015

    As a marketing consultant for wineries, VinTank sounds like an amazing tool.

    Like you mentioned, a lot of wineries think that it’s about tweeting content and then having it “go viral” with millennials sharing it. It’s almost never the case.

    What i’ve found useful is to get the product into millennials hands and then have them share it (which acts an endorsement of sorts).

    Something I’ve suggested to wineries is to ask for social shares as a discount for wine tasting. Share on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook and instead of $20, it’s $10.

    Another tool I’ve found useful is It helps get the product into the hands of millennials — allowing them to share. The biggest benefit is that it doesn’t dilute their brand (since it doesn’t involve discounts).

  2. Jorge Yu - May 18, 2015

    Very informative, A must read… To complete your wine experience, check out, Le Cool Stick wine chiller.

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