In the final night of campaigning for Murphy-Goode’s “A Really Goode Job” there was plenty of schmoozing at Healdsburg’s Cyrus.
During this final stretch, it’s the politician that’s the most intriguing. Atlanta’s Hardy Wallace is the author of the wine blog Dirtysouthwine.com and he’s a true campaigner in one respect: His strategy is to rack up endorsements.
“To me the key to social media isn’t technology,” said Wallace with a grin. “It’s relationships. It’s about building as many relationships as possible so I sought people to endorse me – food bloggers, wine bloggers, the Atlanta magazine, etc.”
By high noon today we’ll know whether the endorsements gave Wallace an edge in this four-month competition. The stakes are high. A chance to be a Wine Country ambassador for six months, at the tune of $10,000 a month. Yes, the finale is just hours away.
Will there be an unwieldy, Oscar-infused thank you speech? Hard to predict. But there is one thing I do know, and that is that the winner is hardly the point.
What is key about this “American Idol” twin competition is whether there’s some kind of shake out in store for Wine Country because of it. Will wineries chase after the runner ups? (Barbara Banke, co-owner of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, hinted that other brands will be eying the vetted candidates.) Will more wineries realize social networking is something they just can’t ignore? Will they put more resources into it? Bigger budgets? Will there be a truce of sorts between wineries and some of these confounding twenty-something Millennials whose curiosity about Wine Country is sometimes surpassed by their boisterous, alcohol-infused enthusiasm for it?
One social networking expert, who preferred not to be named, said Wine Country is an interesting place. The boomers are running the wine industry and while half of them embrace social networking, the other half is running scared. As 55-year old Banke joked, “social media is something my kids (ages 19, 21 and 23) are more familiar with than I am.” Of course there is hope. Banke said, “My 81-year old mother Twitters and she was on Facebook first.”
The crux of the matter is that many boomers in the wine industry are technically-challenged They see the Millennials as though they were the Borg (part-human, part-machine) from the Star Trek series. No wonder they’re confounded.
Interestingly our expert agreed with Wallace that social media isn’t about technology. He said you don’t have to be a technical engineer to maneuver easily on the Net which is why he’s dumbfounded by certain wineries’ reluctance to embrace social media.
He said T.V. didn’t kill the movie industry and cable didn’t kill T.V., so what’s everyone so shaken up about? It’s a fair question to ask ourselves.
So today, when the spotlight is on the winner, the hoopla, the spectacle, I hope you’ll join me in keeping your eye on the big picture, the maneuverings in Wine Country as a result of this well-publicized odyssey.
What’s your thinking? Will the twists and turns of this social networking mini-drama have a big impact on Wine Country? If so, how? What changes, if any, will it bring? What do we stand to lose or gain?