Over the spring and summer I have been on both sides of media tours to wineries in a couple of different countries, having both been a guest, and hosting several media folks out and about to experience our region.
There are few things I’ve noticed, no matter where I’ve been traveling, that certainly can help a winery make a good impression when media, no matter if they are traditional or digital (the “bloggerati” as I now call prominent travel, food, and wine bloggers), come to visit.
First, have a winery principal present. The owner or manager, anyone who knows the history of the winery and can tell a good story about it. It’s quite likely that media visiting you will have learned a lot about the winemaking process already…what they want to hear is why you got into the business, what makes your winery unique, or how you came up with the name.
Second, have information readily available. A media kit is of course an excellent tool either on paper, your website, or even on a memory stick that can be handed out. You don’t need reams of paper to do this properly, but include your tasting notes and sell sheets, a brief history of the winery, perhaps a few downloadable images, and of course contact information. Don’t forget to point out your social media feeds.
Third, make an attempt to make your writer feel a bit special. Not all writers need to feel like they are getting an exclusive experience, but make it easy for media to taste your wines and ask questions. Set aside a specific area of your tasting bar and have one staff person focused on them. Better yet, open up a room, or set a table outside to do tastings away from distraction. Bonus: other visitors will appreciate not being crowded by bloggers and writers asking questions.
Speaking of which, don’t be surprised by media hopping around your property, moving bottles into better light, or asking you to smile politely for photos. This is part of their job, and they want to make you look good by taking good photos. And photos are critical content to be shared across social media.
Finally, have your business cards ready and ask for cards from your visiting media. Be sure to take a moment a few days after the visit to send a thank you and see if there are any more questions.
Above all, make it easy for writers, reporters, bloggers, photographers to do their jobs and create the best content they can about your winery.