Picture a bunch of wine drinkers sipping, chatting and sharing their tasting experiences on Twitter. It’s called a tweetup and it equals fun for participants and free exposure for wineries.
I joined a group of about a dozen wine enthusiasts last week at a wine storage facility in Bellevue. A friend coordinated the event to promote #MerlotMe, a global Twitter campaign that’s shining a spotlight on a luscious grape that’s made a comeback since being dissed during 2004’s Sideways. Everyone brought a bottle of Merlot. Most were from Washington but there were a few French Bordeaux blends, as well. You can read my notes and view label photos at @KristinConveys.
Wineries and tasting rooms can host their own tweetups and score free publicity. A 2010 tweetup involving more than a hundred Washington wineries reportedly generated nearly 2,000 updates.
Virtual tastings, like those organized by wine writer Sean Sullivan (@wawinereport), are similar to tweetups but allow wine lovers to participate from home. Participants purchase a chosen bottle, pop the cork at the designated time, then tweet their impressions online using a designated hashtag.
To launch your own tweetup, select an appealing venue (like your tasting room) that has wifi. Promote the event to your existing Twitter, Facebook and email networks. If possible, invite some interesting speakers to draw a wider audience. Pick a descriptive hashtag and encourage everyone to include it in their tweets.
Here’s a list of Twitter hashtags commonly used by wine geeks:
#CabernetDay – occurs the Thursday before Labor Day
#ChardDay and #Chardonnay – occurs during May
#MerlotMe – occurs during October
#SauvBlancDay – occurs in May
#WineWednesday and #WW
#foodiechats – occurs every Monday night
#ORwine and #oregonwine
Kristin Alexander is the founder of Cork Chatter, which provides social media services for small wineries.