Another Day At The Office -or- Tasting Room Profitability -or- #TRP2010 -or- Santa Rosa’s New Old Town!

Greetings from Downtown Santa Rosa! Took a cab today, and the driver was lamenting the loss of quality as regards the prostitutes in this once rather more rustic neighborhood … but I’m getting ahead of myself … Meaning, I’m staying in Santa Rosa, so that I can attend the 2010 Tasting Room Profitability Conference, which has, in a rather virtuoso display of real-time Social Media proactivity, already become #trp2010 … and by the way, and perhaps by way of explanation and/or the proferrment of context, the driver was a former Navy man … as was my Grandpa …

Anyhow, I’m here with my missus and our lil’ baby girl (2 ft. 7 inches worth of Lil’ Clara Bay at 15 months! Who, might I add, wore her first pair of Levis to have lunch with Daddy during a break in the conference!), which is a digression, I admit, but I am about to start a paragraph about how my day started, which will begin with the conference itself, but actually, my day started with a baby wake-up, and mushed up apples and blueberries, and  a rapidly downed cup of coffee, and such and such …

Anyhow, the day began with my meeting up with Melissa Baker, essentially my counterpart at Ridge Vineyards, meaning she is the Tasting Room Manager at our Lytton Springs facility, while I hold down the fort at Monte Bello … and we have a pretty groovy and appropriate division of labor betwixt us as regards Social Media; she being crisp, clean, focussed, and to the point, takes care of the Tweeting, whilst I, being prone to rather ponderous and polysyllabic exercises in rhetorical excess, attend to the blog … Anyhow, the rather pregnant Melissa, in search of whatever comfort a conference hall can afford a lovely pregnant woman, wished to sit right in front, where leg stretchability was at a premium, whilst I, being rather self-conscious about my height, and accordingly normally preferring the Bob Uecher seats, but out of respect, sat up front as well, and proceeded to rapidly numb my backside courtesy of a long, low, stretch …

Ugh, digressing again … Anyhow, speaker #1 was Rick Bakas, director of Social Media at St. Supery (cheers to a great producer!), and I must say, all incessant references to bacon aside, he was truly excellent … not that I minded the bacon references, mind you. Bacon is just one of those funny words. Like coccyx  … You know, coccyx! Where I was numb …

Anyhow, this is a man to listen to, and to listen to closely, and to watch, and to follow, if you have any interest in wine, social media, and especially, if you happen to be interested in the intersection of both … More on Rick shortly …

And in fact, more on the #trp2010 shortly … must go sip some of our newly-released 2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Chardonnay from, well, us (being Ridge) because I have a bottle with me, and I also have Haig’s Hummus (the greatest hummus ever, bar none, so good that either it, or other hummus, should really have to change its name), Lambchopper and Herbed Chevre from Cypress Grove, and some Roasted Garlic and Cheese bread from local stars Full Circle Baking Company, and, and, and … um, I’m very hungry and thirsty now … must run. #trp2010? Very excellent … More soon!

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5 replies

  1. Chris,

    Well played, sir. Full disclosure: Rich is a friend and someone whose perspective I cherish.)(Also, my wife and I are huge fans, and take nearly everyone that visits us up the hill.)

    We know that building “community” through “authentic” conversation and corporate “transparency’ are best practices. But what about what I call the “DAO”, or Digital Asset Optimization? (Note: I did not create the terminology.)

    We believe that you can leverage the best practices for Social Media, Search Marketing, and Online advertising for a holistic, and measurable, interactive media plan.

    Should you not be instituting integrated campaigns to measure the effectiveness of social media and the rest of the DAO?

    I bet you feel like you just walked down the wrong alley and go jumped. By no means is this the intention. Because we love the brand and product so, we figure the folks behind the scenes are ready, willing, and able to “throw another log on the fire”…

    Gabriel Carrejo

    • Thank you very much for the comment! And for what it’s worth, re: “We believe that you can leverage the best practices for Social Media, Search Marketing, and Online advertising for a holistic, and measurable, interactive media plan.” I agree! Communication is communication on any platform, and community is community in any form; technology (at least in the form of social media) is neither the enemy nor the friend per se; it’s ostensibly moral-neutral, because it is dependent on the user, or should I say, the practitioner; meaning, and to use your terminology, that social media constitutes neither a best practice or a poor one; it’s a tool like any other tool, and in the right hands, it can be very effective. Ridge has always built itself on a foundation of dual-direction community and loyalty and devotion, and if this is fostered into the future by tweeter, alongside face-to-face time, then so be it, the Ridge-way applies regardless!


  2. some speak of a “prevalent notion” which believes that treating the tasting room as a social marketing platform leads to a higher net income for a certain scale of distribution threshold. That is, if the lion’s share of revenue depends upon the distribution channel, then the TR is a cost effective place to stimulate that channel by NOT maximizing profitability in the TR, but rather by optimizing Visitor Experience (VX).

    Have we been hearing the same “prevalent notion”?

  3. Thanks for the view, Christopher. However, some uncertainties still keep some of us awake at night.

    Does the raw, unfettered pursuit of #TRP have no blowback that suddenly bites you for more than it contributed? Are there no #TRP landmines wreaking havoc with other strategic objectives?

    How do #TRP2010 propositions support corporate winery goals (the plus side), and how do they interfere (the minus side)?

    Which use cases for social media apply to the pluses and minuses?

    BTW – I love my visits to Monte Bello.

    • Wow, that’s quite a query (or set of queries, I suppose I should say …), but I’ll do my best! So, here goes: speaking only for myself, I’m not sure we necessarily pursue Tasting Room Profitability in a particuarly raw and/or unfettered fashion at Ridge, and I am also pleased to note that, for the most part, the speakers at the conference didn’t seem to be endorsing any such philosophy either; rather, I would say that there was a lot of faith of the “build it and they will come” sort; meaning, particularly as regards questions of new (read: Social) media, the prevalent notion seems to be that one should focus on community over profit, with the understanding (hope?) that with community eventually comes profit, in that happy, welcome, engaged guests will also and ideally eventually fulfill the desired goal of becoming not just a guest, but a customer as well.
      How’s that?


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