Public Relations for Wineries
Virginia has come a long way in the wine making industry. Since the time our founding father Thomas Jefferson tried, and failed, at making grape spirits, Virginian natives have worked to perfect the wine-making process. Now, home to over 200 and wineries, the question becomes, “How to stand out as a winery?”

The competition is high, but using the right public relations tactics will help your winery thrive. Building a strong relationship with the public is the key to beating competition and maintaining a loyal consumer following. Here are four public relation tactics that wineries can use to beat the competition, and raise their glasses to success.

1. Events

Whether it’s a grand opening, a Friday night wine tasting, or a festival appearance, hosting and attending events is crucial to getting your winery well known and create a positive public image. Events can create buzz about your winery, and media coverage from wine journalists and bloggers.

A properly orchestrated event can get your wine out of the vineyard, and into the homes of the public. However, it is important to remember budget and goals when planning your winery’s event. The event does not need to be flashy or over the top. Simple elegant events that put your wine in center focus is the way to get your winery noticed without going over budget.

2. Social Media

Having a strong social media plan is crucial to withstanding the vast amount of winery competition. Social media gives your winery its own voice in the sea of other wineries, and helps to differentiate you from the rest.

Starting a wine blog can generate conversation about your winery, and increase interaction with your key audience. In addition, using other social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to distribute your blog content will allow you to directly respond to your audience build strong relationships.

3. Community Outreach

Community outreach are ways that wineries can gain trust and good graces in the public eye. Fundraising support, donations to local charities, and local business partnerships present opportunities for your winery to give back to the community, and create a positive relationship with the public. Public favor within the community will ultimately strengthen your winery against local competition.

4. Awards

How your wine is perceived by the public is tremendously influenced by wine reviewers, magazine features, and most importantly, award recognition. Awards lead to both features and reviews, and are an important factor in gaining respect in the wine community.

You can’t win unless you show up, so the first step to winning an award is entering a wine competition. Winning awards is a public relations tactic that will put you a step above the competition, and lead to success.

By: Marissa Handerhan, Content Strategy & Communication Intern