This was an interesting panel; Jeff Siegel, the Wine Curmudgeon - social media will replace the traditional gate keepers. Lenn Thompson, New York Cork Report feels the gatekeepers will not go away - but bloggers will fill in the blanks. Readers do not want to be bond by the rules from Wine Spectator - want to find a conversation about local\regional wine. Jennifer Breaux Blosser, Breaux Vineyards knows that the gatekeepers won't give local wineries the time of day - and then usually bad criticism. With social media - people have chosen to engage. Social media is the #1 priority for marketing and engaging with customers.
Good comment from Cathy Harding from C-Ville Magazine that the publications that are flourishing are those that deal with local content.
The discussion also turned to the legitimacy in wine bloggers. Lenn made the point that wineries should get to know and actually read the blogs in order to separate those that are serious and those who just want free samples. David Falchek commented that its difficult to tell if a blogger has a self-interest motive in writing about a wine or winery. Mike Wangbicker commented that all bloggers should have an About Me page to discuss their background.
Then to content - don't post about your dog unless your winery is based from dogs. Don't tell us about when you last went to the bathroom. Siegel gave the great point that wineries need to provide the fun information about the wine. The Story sells the wine. Customers don't care about the tech sheet. Why are your wines different? Jennifer at Breaux Vineyards does a great job educating and making customers interested.
Wineries can also engage with Facebook and Twitter followers to participate in Face to Face or Tweet Up events.
Social meeting also increases sales - tasting room attendance increased, sales from Breaux have increased.