Social media has become essential, says Amanda McCrossin, a Napa Valley sommelier known on YouTube and Instagram as SommVivant. These platforms allow sommeliers to connect with new customers and buyers, and for some it helps them make a living in a highly uncertain market.
Wherever you go, whatever you do, you can always take [your audience] with you, and you can use them, McCrossin says. It’s a very precious thing.
He must have opened the door… Now we have experienced so many people who just want to share their knowledge. -Kisha Davenport, Tanam…
Tanam, an operating restaurant in Somerville, Massachusetts, closed in March 2020. Before reopening in September to welcome customers, Kiisha Davenport, partner and beverage director, spent a lot of time networking with other business and wine personalities on social media.
I think the biggest benefit of social media today is networking, she says. On the one hand, it was a blessing to be able to connect with other companies while we are normally very busy.
Davenport says she saw no financial or material benefit. For small businesses, there wasn’t necessarily an immediate benefit during the pandemic unless you were already heavily involved in social media marketing.
Davenport and Tanama remain a dismal market for restaurant staff. The unemployment rate in the hotel sector is 157% higher than the national average. In December 2020 alone, 372,000 hotel jobs were lost in the United States. In January 2021, there were 2.5 million fewer restaurant jobs in the US than in February 2020.
During the pandemic, being active on social media and using virtual events was all we had. It was our wine bar. This was our tasting room, says Philippe Andre. Photo courtesy of Philippe Andre
McCrossin, former wine director of PRESS restaurant in Napa, issued the warning just weeks before Pandemic closed its doors last March to focus on its own brand.
What I did on Instagram was really just a scaling up of what I did in the restaurant, McCrossin says. It was an interaction with people. Social media allows the Somsens to showcase what their life is like outside of the restaurant and what is important to them as a wine lover, not just as a professional selling wine on the floor.
McCrossin’s Instagram and YouTube channels, SommVivant, have 24,100 followers and 6,500 subscribers, respectively. Through her channels, she organizes tastings with winemakers and visits to wineries such as Opus One and Harlan Estate.
This direct portal to other people, anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, makes wine education more accessible, Davenport said.
It has definitely opened up access to what people were paying for some of these courses, classes and workshops, and now we’ve been able to meet so many people who just want to share their knowledge, she says. Davenport hosts online classes through his Instagram handle, @barnoirboston, which has more than 600 followers, in partnership with Boston Area Business.
Being active on social media and using virtual events is all we had. It was our wine bar. This was our tasting room. Philippe Andre, Charles Heidsieck Champagne.
Social media has also changed access to great tastings and other once exclusive events. When the pandemic broke out, we had no choice but to be active on social media and use virtual events, explains Philippe Andre, Charles Heidsieck champagne ambassador in the United States. It was our wine bar. This was our tasting room.
A pandemic of restrictions created problems for André, who was responsible for developing a small, little-known brand in the United States. Charles Heidsieck exports about 4,000 cases a year to the United States, while rivals Moët Chandon and Vove Clicquot account for more than 60 percent of domestic champagne sales.
Nobody’s asking for your wine, so why should I bring more champagne? I’ve heard that every time I’ve talked to a vendor, Andre says. The way to redefine this problem [is] to go directly to the consumer and ask them in the liquor store to ask for my wine. I could use Instagram to reach consumers in a different or unique way.
Andre’s Instagram account, @niquesomm, has 16,100 followers. In addition to using social media to support their businesses and customers, he believes wine professionals should focus on inclusion and accessibility in the aftermath of the pandemic.
I think we as catfish or wine professionals have a bad reputation for being pretentious, and the wine industry itself is scary because of that pretentiousness, he says. And if you take race or gender into account, it becomes even more pretentious and scary.
It has to work somehow. How do you create a community that is fun, challenging and fulfilling rather than silly, boastful and exclusive?
Sommelier in Napa Valley, known as SommVivant on YouTube and Instagram / Courtesy of Amanda McCrossin
This topic has been the subject of dozens of webinars, panels, Instagram lives and Facebook lives since the pandemic began. In June, Andre co-hosted a two-part webinar titled Unheard Voices in Wine, focused on amplifying the voices of black wine professionals.
During the workshop, an all-black group spoke about their experiences and their hopes for developing a sense of inclusion in the sector. Davenport says it’s a big win.
I think that’s the main thing that came out of this, she says. More and more people are open to simply sharing knowledge, as opposed to controlling or accumulating knowledge. This improves the sector as a whole.
McCrossin would like to see the wine establishment embrace the democratization of the industry.
I hope people realize that we’re trying to connect more people with wine, and that whether it’s through IG live or some other way, it’s a good thing and should be championed, she says. The new generation is exploiting the market.
best wine social media campaigns,social media for wineries,best winery social media,how to promote wine on social media,digital marketing for wineries,walsh family wine instagram,Privacy settings,How Search works,influencer marketing wine,copywriting ideas for wine industry