Winemakers shun social media grapevine

Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:03am EDT
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - When it comes to social media, most winemakers prefer to drink alone.

More than 80 percent of the 532 French winemakers surveyed by online marketing company said they did not blog or use Facebook, Twitter or other websites that allow consumers to comment, recommend, track or question wine producers.

Although Old World winemakers prefer to stay offline, their New World counterparts in the United States, South America, Australia or New Zealand seem to be sensitive to social media's impact.

Five of 11 winemakers at a Moet-Hennessy gathering admitted they used Facebook. They were from Argentina, California, Chile, New Zealand and surprisingly Spain.

"Well, I'm just past 40 and I did spend a great deal of time in Argentina before coming to Numanthia," explained Manuel Louzada, who makes some of Spain's most highly rated reds. Numanthia's website is still a work in progress, but he does have a seldom used Twitter account.

New World winemakers may not tweet much, but they do read wine blogs.

"Wine is a social beverage and with the social media, I want to be part of the conversation rather than being talked about," said Cloudy Bay's Ian Morden, a 41 year-old winemaker who has worked in Australia and New Zealand who read bloggers.

His colleague, Nicolas Audebert, 34, a winemaker for Cheval des Andes, is amazed by how extensive social media is and appalled by how intrusive it can be.   Continued...