And January’s wine innovation questionnaire goes to… Joe Roberts who is the voice behind 1WineDude.com, voted Best Overall Wineblog in the 2010 Wine Blog Awards, and one of the top on-line destinations for Intermediate wine lovers everywhere.
Joe is also recognized as a thought-leader on the topic of wine and social media, and his opinion shave be cited in outlets as diverse as the L.A. Times, NY Times, CNBC.com,Mint.com, and Publix® Grape Magazine (seriously). His wine reviews appear in popular iPhone and PDA wine applications such as HelloVino and Pocket Wine Assistant. Joe holds the WSET Advanced and SWE CertifiedSpecialist of Wine qualifications. Let’s see his opinion on wine innovation!
WINE INNOVATION QUESTIONNAIRE
WSP: Which is your definition for wine innovation? / Which are the main features of a wine innovator?
Joe: It’s no different than innovation in any other industry: it’s not being afraid to chase down a good idea. And it often means ditching lots of good ideas, and planning to fail on many of them, in order to iteratively develop the good ideas. Where the wine biz most needs this, I think, is not in the cellar or bottling lines – innovation happens in the production area in the wine biz all the time. Where the wine biz needs serious innovation help is in reaching the people who drink the stuff, because they will lose those customers to other brands – and other industries! – that do that well.
WSP: In your opinion, which are the main advantages for a winery for innovating in its wines?
Joe: Its wines? Almost nothing. How much more can they do without stripping out some of the soul of the wine? The recent work on Brett in Australia is really promising, but it’s years and years away from being applied to eliminate Brett in the winery.
In how they communicate to their customers? Everything! Wineries have the ability, through social media, to reach younger wine consumers directly and be just as influential on their buying decisions as Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, or little ol’ me. That is an amazing opportunity and those that do it right are gonna beat the pants off of those who don’t in the marketplace eventually. It takes time, and a long-term view because the influence is done via one-on-one relationships – patience is going to pay off in that case!
WSP: Let’s get down do business… as one of the top wine bloggers, what has been the most useful innovative product / service you have ever seen? Why?
Joe: The Internet. Think about it this way: the Internet has made the cost and effort of connecting with other people who share your passions pretty much $0.00. And it’s opened the door for smaller companies to win over customers from their biggest competitors (for reasons stated in the previous question). In that way, the Internet is the most innovative product ever for nearly every consumer-facing industry.
WSP: Talking about the future: in 2012 What is the area of the whole wine production process (machinery, bottles, labels, seals…) where you would predict more innovation?
Joe: Being “green” (lighter shipping products, lower energy consumption, etc.) is for me where things will be at for the wine biz in the production area in 2012, which will once again underscore that the wine biz is about 6 years behind most other industries.
WSP: One of the trending topics at the moment is Innovation 2.0. Which is the best strategy to incorporate communication 2.0 and 1.0? What will Social Web and Social Networks mean in the wine sector?
Joe: The wine biz needs to worry about communication 1.0 before they start trying to go to subsequent versions! The tools are available for wine producers to talk directly with their customers, and build relationships that will have those customers telling their friends how awesome that company that engaged with them on-line is. And that will translate into increased loyalty and sales for those that do it well. And yet I am told time and time again so many lame excuses for not doing it – from “I can’t win against some big company that is also using twitter” to “I don’t have time for it… I ma making wine.” And yet, I know some small producers who ONLY use social media and NO traditional advertising to sell out their production. And I’ve been able to do those things (grow a brand, compete to some extent with MUCH larger, well-established print publications, create a name for myself in wine while also working a day job, raising a daughter, being in a band, etc., etc., etc.). I wish more small wine producers especially would stop wasting time on complaining about social media and just start using it to connect with customers already!
Well-said Joe! WSP team thanks you for your kindness and collaboration. We wish you all the best!
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