Vine Talk: Facebook gains popularity in wine industry

Tue Oct 5, 2010 6:07am EDT
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(Edward Deitch is an award-winning wine columnist based in the United States. He created and wrote a weekly column for eight years on and in 2010 launched a wine blog, The opinions expressed are his own)

By Edward Deitch

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Social media is exploding in the wine business and a new survey illustrates just how important it has become, especially in this tough economic climate.

More than 80 percent of 109 grape growers, distributors, retailers and other wine experts in the California who were questioned in a survey by the Wine Industry Financial Symposium Group and the University of California-Davis Graduate School of Management said they were using Facebook in their business, up from 46 percent in 2009.

Sixty four percent were using Twitter, compared to just 21 percent in 2009, and 52 percent had a company blog, a rise from 18 percent a year ago.

While the jury is still out on social media's effectiveness in driving sales and profits, using Facebook and Twitter and blogging are relatively inexpensive ways for companies to get their messages out and get direct feedback from their customers.

So, it's not surprising that the growing use of social media has coincided with the continuing hangover of the recession in the wine business.

The poll paints a picture of an industry hit hard. More than 83 percent of the wine professionals said they've had to be more flexible with their business plans.

About two-thirds have reduced operating costs and have made less profit, while more than half have reduced staff. Many have no plans to bring back those who had been laid off.   Continued...

<p>A Facebook page is displayed on a computer screen in Brussels in this April 21, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Thierry Roge</p>