The Greatest Return on Investment in Wine Marketing

Why won’t you say “Thank you“?

Saying “thank you” when a person of any occupation or circumstance praises or draws positive attention to your work, is the gracious and appropriate and normal thing to do. It’s also the most inexpensive marketing and PR effort you can make that also happens to carry the highest Return on Investment.

A friend of mine, a wine writer, related to me that in twenty some odd years of writing at a prominent media outlet where they regularly reviewed wines, no more than the ten fingers on their two hands were needed to count the instances of winery representatives, let alone their owners, reaching out and thanking them for the review of their wine.

My writer friend’s first explanation for this stupid lack of initiative was that too many of those who had their wines reviewed felt diminished in some way by thanking someone for appreciating their efforts; that they believed the acknowledgment of their effort should have come earlier. The second explanation was that winery representatives and owners felt it would be inappropriate to be seen as trying to curry favor with or butter up a writer.

Though my friend didn’t mention it in our conversation, I’d bet that another explanation for the lack of gratitude on behalf of the reviewed is simple laziness. We can’t be bothered. Plus, despite the nice things said about our product, the review won’t move the needle much on sales.

“Laziness” is my go-to explanation for most social slights, so I won’t address this explanation. But I do want to address the idea that folks don’t say “thank you” because it diminishes them and because they don’t want to be in a position of appearing to butter up a writer.

Wine writers have the option of reviewing hundreds of wines, which means most wines they

taste never get a lick of their pen. And most wine writers don’t bother to review wines they don’t like. This boils down to the fact that someone who had every reason the world to not acknowledge your work in the vineyard and cellar was inspired in some way to do so. Thanking them for making the effort to choose you is no different than thanking someone for presenting you with a gift. (You’d do that, wouldn’t you?) Sure, they could have done so in a more timely manner. Sure your wine is the best ever produced and they should have acknowledged it sooner. But for God sake, make the effort to say thank you for choosing you. You aren’t bending your knee to them. It’s a just a normal form of gracious social interaction.

As for the excuse that you don’t want to be seen buttering up a wine writer, thanking them isn’t a form of buttering them up. It’s a normal and appropriate form of social and business interaction. Take this from a PR guy. Surely you can think of better ways to lay on the butter. If not, call me. My rate is $125 an hour.

But most importantly on this topic is the fact that besides being the right thing to do when someone positively acknowledges you, thanking someone is a form of PR that has a very high return on investment primarily because it has become such rare thing. Whether it’s the wine writer that positively reviewed your wine, the blogger that hyped your book or article, the social media gadfly that retweeted you to their 7,000 followers or the visitor to your tasting room who walked out with a couple bottles of your Merlot, the act of thanking them will strike them as unique and attentive in a world that seems to thrive on indifference.

“Unique” and “attentive” is the very essence of direct marketing. One-on-one interaction is so easily accomplished in today’s world it’s a remarkable thing that the most intimate kind of one-on-one social media action (the “Thank you“) is not the first item on the social media marketing To-Do List. And rest assured, because so few people take the time to say, “thank you for the review” (or visit, or retweet, etc.), the person at which your attention is fixed via the “thank you” will remember you, likely recommend you, and choose you over others when all other things turn out to be equal.

And what does it cost you? Literally twenty seconds: “Dear Joe The Writer…I read with great appreciation your review of our 2015 Refosco. I’m very pleased you liked it. Thank you very much for taking the time to taste it and write about it.”

Ok, maybe 25 seconds.

And assuming you have their email address, what about the visitor to your tasting room: “Dear Joe The Visitor…I just wanted to thank you for coming by Chateau Me the other day to taste our wines and visit. We are honored you chose to visit. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.”

And to the person who retweeted you: Hey, Joe The Tweeter…just wanted to thank you for the retweet. Thanks for taking the time.”

Joe will be positively impacted by your gesture. Plus, it’s the right thing to do. 


6 Responses

  1. Alan Goldfarb - July 10, 2018

    In my almost 30 years of writing about wine, I’ve received likely a couple of dozen thank yous; every one was much appreciated.

    Another reason, however, to give a nod of gratitude is that it elevates a writer’s sense of worth (sometime even usurping the lack of remuneration from the media outlet); and it tells the writer she/he is recognized. Most importantly, read. Often, without acknowledgement, a sense of writing in a vacuum is not pleasant.

  2. Pepik the Lion - July 10, 2018

    Great article and many thanks for writing it. Too many of us in the wine, beer & spirits industry take reviews of our products for granted. Your words remind us all to give a little credit back to those who’ve taken the time to enjoy and write a few words about the products we craft. Cheers.

  3. Patricia - July 10, 2018

    Hi Tom,

    Excellent article…and you are so, so right. Every now and again a producer who receives a gold medal from one of the many competitions I judge does in fact take the time to find my email address and send me a ‘Thank you’. It’s gratifying to see that some people can be bothered to acknowledge the effort we put in to write about their wines.


  4. Les Heinsen - July 11, 2018

    Hi Tom,
    Thank you for the excellent reminder. It reminded me that I can always do better at showing appreciation. Thank you for taking the time to write about it, as simple and obvious as it may seem it could have easily been overlooked for another topic.


  5. Jon Bjork - July 11, 2018

    Thank you, Tom!

  6. Daniel Cajigas - July 18, 2018


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