tweetup

World Wide #Cabernet Day

If you are on Twitter and enjoy wine you won’t want to miss #Cabernet on Thursday September 2nd, 2010.  With over 50 wineries and over 100 restaurants participating from all over the world this is sure to be the biggest online tasting ever.  You can participate by following the hashtag #Cabernet.  This online gathering is the brainchild of Rick Bakkas and St Supery.  Rick is a  social media expert and works for St Supery winery in California.  Rick has hosted online events like this before, but this one is definitely getting the most “buzz” pardon the pun.

Check out the Event Brite listing to see a list of participating wineries and restaurants.  If you are in the Phoenix Metro area give Morton’s Steakhouse a call  (they are one of the sponsors)  They are offering BV Coastal Cabernet for $6 a glass.

Morton’s Phoenix: 602 955 9577

Morton’s Scottsdale: 480 951 4440

If you are hosting a party or event and want to promote it, please leave your info in the comment section below!  Cheers!

Is Twitter the new eHarmony?

I don’t remember where I heard it but someone said “Twitter is the new eHarmony”.

Art Department budget: $0

Initially I scoffed at the idea.  Twitter is for professionals.  Professionals don’t mix business with pleasure, ridiculous!  But then…

Tweetups.  Meetups of people on Twitter.  In my case, wine tweetups.  Suddenly I am surrounded by social people who share a passion for wine, for exploring their senses and who are interested in learning.  Twitter is still very new, there is much to learn, it is still evolving, so I think at this point Twitter is attracting a sort of trend setting crowd of early adopters.  Nevertheless I am noticing a vibe, a trend at the tweetups I have been to.  People are genuinely interested in each other!  Who are you?  What do you do?  What are you passionate about, and what do you do to pay the bills?  Sometimes they are one and the same.  Sure there is an element of networking and a professional theme (somewhat)  but after you start to meet the same people and get to know a group of like minded individuals, I can honestly say that they become friends.  Can that lead to more than friends?  Probably, I don’t have any examples as of yet.  Do you?  What do you think?  Keep it professional, or go with the flow see what happens?

Wineries and Tweetups: How to

I get quite a bit of email from wineries on the subject of Tweetups.

Imagine a Tweetup this big!

I wrote a guest article for Gary Vaynerchuk’s Corkd.com on the subject to touch on the benefits. See the article HERE.  This resulted in a whole bunch more emails with specific questions about the nuts and bolts, the details of how to do the Tweetup thing.  So I put together a quick little reference specifically for wineries based on the email help I provided this weekend.

Participate in every #varietal tweetup #cabernet #merlot #shiraz ect.  Varietal Tweetups promote wine in general and a specific varietal.  Successful examples are @rickbakas ‘s #calicabs which featured California Cabernet’s.  Josh Wade’s ( @nectarwine) #WAMerlot featured Merlot from Washington State.  Shannon Casey (@michbythebottle) put together Tweet and Taste Michigan and used the #hashtag #TTMI so that people could follow along in real time on twitter.

So step one would be to participate in every #varietal tweetup.  The next BIG BIG event is #Cabernet.  This event is being hosted by Rick Bakas and many well known wineries will be participating.  Wineries like Duckhorn, Cakebread and St Supery.  If Cabernet Sauvignon is (or whatever the next varietal tweetup is)  a wine that you make and have in stock then host a tweetup at the winery.  These events are almost always on a Thursday night, and if your winery is a long way for people to travel don’t expect much more than a few locals to attend, but be sure to email, phone and visit people to promote the fact that you are participating and fun will be going on at your winery or tasting room on that night.  Promote the tweetup on Twitter, Facebook, on your website, on Localwineevents.com and Meetup.com
If the winery does not have the particular varietal you can still participate just by yourself by going to another winery in the area who does make/carry that varietal and tweet from there.  Or you can have a private party and people can bring their own wine to taste and tweet about.

For tweetups intended to promote your specific brand I suggest contacting  via Direct Message (DM)   Twitter “influencers” and invite them to your tweetup. Or get their contact emails from their blogs.  Most prominent Twitter personalities have a blog.  Tell them that their tasting fee will be waived and there will be some complimentary food for them.  In order to be considered an influencer I would suggest a minimum 1,000 followers and a ratio of pretty close to 1:1  People who follow 10,000 people but only have 1,000 followers are not very influential. Also suggest some local accommodations incase they want to stay over night. Then come up with a hashtag# to identify the event and DM the influencers with the hashtag a few weeks in advance.  Do a soft launch tweeting information about the event with the #hashtag.  Then begin to actively promote the event about 2 to 3 weeks in advance. I believe that you don’t want to be tweeting about the event every day for months before it happens, it will be overkill and people will tune it out.  I would send out a tweet several times a week leading up to the event and then just before it I would step it up and then the day before and the day of the event tweet more as the event draws closer and tweet often when the event starts. Tweet about who is at the event, what people are drinking, how many people are there, how much fun it is ect.  ENGAGE with others, don’t just blast out your information.  Thank people for retweeting your message ask them if they will be attending, ask who else will be attending, be enthusiastic!  According to Dan Zarrella most Retweets happen between 10am and 12 midnight on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  This is apparently Eastern Standard Time, but I believe the same is true no matter what time zone you are in.
Getting back to hosting a tweetup to promote your winery. I would pick 2 or 3 influencers offer them a free tasting and food.  I would also put out a general tweet to all other Twitters and offer some other kind of discount, possibly complimentary cheese plates.  I would do the same on facebook, wineevents and meetup.com. Then when people show up and mention the discount you will be able to track how people heard about the wine tasting and see which form of media is most effective.
another great way to promote events is thru Eventbrite.com

During the Tweetup I would take lots of pictures for your Facebook Page, and videos for your Youtube Channel which you can embed to your website/blog.  I would limit the length of each video to 1-3 minutes maximum.  People have short attention spans.  If you visit my Youtube channel you will see that I don’t always follow the time limit rule, it’s mainly because I don’t feel like it!

One more useful event to participate in on a regular basis is #WIYG.  Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal came up with the idea.  It stands for Whats In Your Glass.  Most Friday and Saturday nights if you sent her an @ message with the hashtag #WIYG and a photo of what you are drinking, she will Retweet it.

Please email me any questions or feel free to contact the references below:

Josh Wade @nectarwine Drinknectar.com

Rick Bakas @RickBakas RickBakas.com #Cabernet information

Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal Barbaraevans.wordpress.com

Shannon Casey @michbythebottle Michiganbythebottle.com

Brian Solis’s post analyzing Dan Zarrella’s information

Arizona Wine Tasting: Scottsdale, July 22nd 2010 at 5th and Wine

On Thursday, July 22nd from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, join Jim Wiskerchen aka @mywinehelper at 5th & Wine for a blind tasting of 4 of some of the best Arizona wines. There will be plenty of great food served buffet style, all for only $25.00/person. You will also have the chance to win a gift certificate to 5th & Wine if you guess all four varietal wines correctly. After the wines are revealed you will be able to purchase these wines by the glass.  5th & Wine is a great place to hang after working all day and to escape the heat. So join Jim in supporting local wines and this great local wine bar. This event is limited to 40 people so get your spot reserved HERE
5th & Wine
7051 E. 5th Ave.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
480-699-8001

5th & Wine WEBSITE

#Scottsdale #Wine #Tweetup Wednesday June 16th 7p.m. at Kazimierz

On Wednesday June 16th at 7 p.m. the public is invited to a Wine Tweetup

The t stands for Twitter

at Kazimierz World Wine Bar.  There is no cover charge.  Local “Twitterers” Bloggers and Social Media savy people will be meeting in real life (!) for drinks and conversation.  One of the confirmed attendees is @SeattleWineGal… yes, all the way from Seattle.  If you would like more information ask the Weekly Wine Journal on Twitter @wklywinejournal or send us an email.

Seattle Wine Gal’s Website

Map to Kazimierz

How to have a wine tweetup

If you are on twitter you might be familiar with the term “tweetup”.  Just to recap:  A tweetup is when fellow twitterers meet up in real life, usually after work at a wine bar, pub or restaurant.  There are two basic points of view or categories of the tweetup

1. You are a twitterer, a social person, looking to host a tweetup at a location where you can meet people with common interests.  You might be a blogger writing about local restaurants, or even a wine blogger!

2. You are a business  looking to host a tweetup at your location in order to promote your business through social media.   You might be a restaurant, wine bar or winery.

My focus will be on category #1 because I am a blogger and twitterer.

The first thing you need to do is check your twitter follower strategy.  There is no sense tweeting about a #wine #tweetup in #scottsdale Arizona, when most of your followers are from Washington State, Vancouver British Columbia and New York City.  I learned this the hard way.

Before you start doing anything you need to ask yourself a few questions:

1. What is the purpose of this tweetup?

Is it to meet as many people who share a common interest as possible? Is is it to meet as many of your followers as possible?  Is it to meet specific followers of interest and influence? All of the above?

If you have a strong local following finding people to attend shouldn’t be too difficult, just send out a tweet.  If you don’t have a lot of local followers and want to meet as many people who share your interest in wine  send your tweets with the following hashtags: #wine #tweetup and #the-name-of-your-city.

Does anyone respond? Send out the tweet in the morning then again before lunch and maybe another one in the late afternoon.  Do this at least several days before the tweetup to give people time to plan ahead.  Don’t be too surprised if no one responds right away.

If you are looking to target specific followers and people of influence you should look thru your Direct Messages and contact those people via DM …

“Just a quick note, thinking of having a wine tweetup, you interested?”  Something like that. You might want to include foodies, food critics, writer’s, artists, an eclectic group.  Or you might want to include just the most influential PR people in your area.  It’s up to you what the mix is, but you need to be aware of it.  You need to think about the dynamic between quantity vs. quality.  My first tweetup was a small group of quality connections.  In the future I plan on hosting a larger group to experience that dynamic as well.

While you are waiting for responses you can start to choose a venue for your wine tweetup.  Your best bet is a restaurant with a decent wine list, or a wine bar.  How do you choose the venue?  Google “wine bar” and your city.  You will come up with a list.  Quickly go through the list and visit each place’s website.  Check the wine list, check the location.  Make a list of about 3 to  5 places. Make notes and write down contact information.

Next, make contact.  Should you call, or write an email, or use twitter?  You should do all the above if you want to make sure they get your message.  Leave a message if you get voice mail.  You need to make contact with the manager or prefferably the owner.  You don’t want to be making plans with whoever answers the phone at the front desk.  Nothing against people who work in that position but you are going to be making a business proposition not a reservation.  When you talk with the manager or owner you should explain that you are a twitterer, a blogger and what you blog or tweet about and that you are looking for a venue to host a meeting of people who follow you.  If you are just starting out with your food or wine blog don’t expect anything in return for hosting this event.  The restaurant wine bar winery might not know who you are, you will probably have to prove something first.

However, if you have a decent blog and can point to site stats like how many hits a day you get, how many subscribers you have, how many local twitterer followers you have you should probably make them aware of that.  You need to let them know that hosting this event will bring their business a lot of “free” press.  In return for this free press, you would like to know what they are prepared to offer you.  Don’t be pushy, snooty or demanding about it, you just need to ask.  It doesn’t hurt to ask.  If you are emailing them you might want to include a link to an article extolling the benefits of hosting a tweetup at your place of business.  Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal has a good one here. Josh Wade @nectarwine also has a good article on it here

Okay so where are we?

1.You’ve sent out  tweets  letting everyone that follows or everyone in your area interested in wine, or specific followers  know that you are thinking about putting together a wine tweetup.

2.You’ve Direct Messaged people on your DM radar about your plans

3. You’ve contacted possible venues.

Next, you are going to need to make some decisions about which venue to choose.  For me, in my first wine tweetup the choice was pretty simple:  I chose the only place that responded!  Next, choose a day and time.  I chose Thursday night at 7:30.  A lot of people have other plans on Friday and Saturday nights and unless your wine tweetup is the talk of the town it might be difficult to pry them away from their other plans.  Also give people enough time to get home from work and change, or at least to grab a quick inexpensive bite to eat before meeting up.  That way people can have more $$ to spend on wine, but it’s also not too late to eat at the tweetup if they are hungry.

So lets say you’ve decided where to have the tweetup. The venue will need to know how many seats to reserve.  Now you are going to need to do some quick juggling.  Tell them based on your initial guesstimate that you will need a reservation for X amount of people but that you will get back to them by a specific time  with a more definitive answer.  Ask your contact what is their preferred method of communication, and make sure you communicate with them like you said you would.  If you said you will get back to them by 4pm, then get back to them by 4pm, even if you have no new news.  It is important to do what you say and do it by the time you say you’ll do it in order to build credibility.  That goes for all aspects of life.

Now you need to move quickly and with a sense of urgency.  Tweet, Direct Message and get people to commit.  Get back the the venue with a concrete number.  It’s very important to keep in constant contact with the venue about the number of guests you are planning on bringing.  That was one of the mistakes I made.  I made a reservation for 5 people, and on the day of the tweetup I learned that there were now going to be 10 people, I left a twitter message, but did not follow up with a phone call.  A restaurant manager or owner is a very busy person.  They do not have time to check twitter all day long.  But when the phone rings, they answer it.  Luckily for my tweetup the owner and staff were top notch problem solvers and managed to make a table for 10—in a restaurant that seats less than 40!  But you might not be so lucky.

So now you’ve got the venue, you’ve got X amount of people committed to coming at 7:30pm or whatever time you chose.  It’s very important for you as the host to arrive early.  I suggest no less than 15 minutes prior to the reservation time.  This way you can greet the guests as they arrive.  You can introduce yourself to the owner/manager.  You can observe the facilities, make some notes, maybe do a little tweeting on your smartphone.  You can also grab a big glass of water.

The guests arrive, you’ve got your table…you’re on your own now!

Any Questions?  Leave a comment or email me:  weeklywinejournal at gmail do com

My first wine tweetup, January 14th 2010

A tweetup is where people who use twitter meet up in real life! Wow! What a concept!  It is quite a concept though.  I had never met any of the 300 plus people I follow or who follow me on twitter and the wine tweetup seemed like the best way to do it.

Having never organized a tweetup before I thought I better ask some people who have organized tweetups how to do it.  So I contacted Barbara Evans @Seattlewinegal and asked her a few questions.  Barbara has written on the subject of the wine tweetup here.

My first question was:  Should you contact the wine bar to make a reservation and let them know you are a wine blogger and are having a tweetup with other wine bloggers?  I really didn’t want to sound self-important or seem like I was asking for special treatment.  Barbara said it would be a good idea to let them know ahead of time so they can save space for the tweetup.  You wouldn’t want to arrive with 10 people only to find out that the place is full and then have to wait a long time, or start trying reorganize and go somewhere else.  She also said it is a good idea to contact more than one place.  Not all places can accomodate larger groups, not all places return phone calls or emails :(  She said its worth noting to the establishment  that they will be getting a fair amount of free press out of the even, and any discounts or complimentary food and or wine would be greatly appreciated.  Sometimes they say yes, sometimes no.

I chose Pavle Milic’s FnB restaurant because he got back to me right away and was very enthusiastic about the event.  I asked about the discount, but he explained that he has only been in business for 5 weeks, and I said say no more.  Cash flow is difficult when a restaurant first opens, there are a lot of unforeseen expenses and plus, who is the Weekly Wine Journal anyways?  Bloggers shouldn’t assume that anyone outside of the blogging community knows who they are or can gauge their influence.  Best to show what you can do first and then ask for a discount later!

First I  made the reservation for 10 and then sent out tweets with hashtags #wine #tweetup and #scottsdale.  This lets other twitters who are searching for tweets with those specific words in them know about my event.

It was only after I started sending out these tweets looking for people who would be interested in a wine tweetup that I understood the meaning behind the twitter follower strategy.  Most people suggest that you start with a local following when you are building a twitter following.  And now I know why.  When I sent out tweets for a wine tweetup in Scottsdale, Arizona…my 200+ followers from around the world were not able to attend.  I seemed to have just a few local followers.  So I got little response.  Luckily my friend and fellow wine blogger Josh Wade @nectarwine was visiting the valley for the PF Chang’s Rock N Roll Marathon, so I knew at least one person would show up. So then I had to get back to Pavle and let him know I would probably only need a reservation for 5 people.  But then an interesting thing happened…

Ty Largo @JuxtaPalate RSVP’d and invited his friend Nicki Buchannan,food critic for the Arizona Republic.  Then Colleen Chase @CChaseEnt who runs Arizona Grape Escapes responded.  Next thing I know we’re up to 12 people.  Pavle was very accommodating I have to say.  I neglected to tell him about the extra people. He was able to think on the fly and his head waiter Josh put 4 tables together in the front of the restaurant and it all worked out absolutely fabulous!  We were joined by Marianne Belardi @ciaomari who is the  “Schmooze diva” for Cowboy Ciao, Kazimierz, and FnB!

Afterwards we decided to head around the corner to Kazimierz for some more wine and we were joined by Justin @JustinEats.  Ty is a fantastic connector and organizer, I have to say.  We walked into a very crowded and busy wine bar and were seated immediately at a “reserved” table.  Blogging has its privileges!

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  I learned that it’s not the quantity of people that show up for your tweetup, it’s the quality.  With the people that were there, we had rich and interesting conversation.  The guests were engaging, outgoing and interesting!  And somewhat important to a tweetup is that the guests share common interests.  This tweetups guests were very interested in social media, entertainment, wine and food. I am really excited to plan another one ASAP!  I know Ty is working on something Top Secret…