Thursday, August 6, 2009

A terrible waste of ink...

PR guff in the format of news. This article appeared in the Daily Wine News of 6/8/2009.

I have never been to Shoalhaven. Based on the misleading, misinformed information below, I never will. My comments are in bold italics below.

Shoalhaven Wineries lead the way in use of social media and harvest technologies http://www.winebiz.com.au/dwn/details.asp?ID=2675

Shoalhaven wineries are leading the way in the use of social media in Australia to attract new visitors to wineries and investing heavily in new equipment in their ongoing quest to develop high quality, market leading wines.
Rajarshi Ray, owner of the dual branded Silos Estate and Wileys Creek wineries commented "We were the first winery in Australia to develop a Twitter presence, and this has attracted a whole new range of people – local and overseas — finding out about us and the South Coast region.

There have been many on Twitter who question this. They believe that Silos Estate was not the first to use this technology. 
Additionally Silos Estates only have 21 followers on Twitter and you do not follow anyone else. This would lead to questions on the validity of their social media credentials.

He added, "Earlier this year, we preceded this by being amongst the first wineries in Australia to have a Facebook and Skype presence. These tools allow us to engage with customers and visitors alike in an ongoing conversation about our wineries — and the wine region as a whole."
For context Silos Estates have 21 followers. Why is this news? Teusner Wines has 20x more followers, and would have a greater claim to be a proponent of using social media.

Further down the coast, Louise Cole, owner of Cambewarra Estate pointed to the use of mechanical harvesters for their picking season as key to the improvement in their wine quality in recent years. "Not only has the cost of labour been reduced, but most importantly the crushing can now be done on site before we send to our winemaker as picking is so much faster. This makes a dramatic difference to the quality of the end product," she said.

It has been so successful other winemaking regions are now using our equipment to make a similar level of improvement in their wines" she added.  

Machine harvesters have been used since the 1970's. That technology is older than I am. If you have just discovered it - congratulations, but please don't be offended if I tell you that this is irrelevent to the rank and file wine industry.

Sometimes there is an anger in me. I feel this 'news story' is Nero fiddling while Rome burns. There is real news out there.

Reply from Silos Estate:

Dear James,

We hope this e-mail finds you well.

We were doing some work this evening and came across your blog... and your notes. Certainly not our intention to mislead, but we were advised fairly early in the piece that we were the first winery to go for Twitter. We set up a Facebook page almost a year and a half ago, but were not sure about the technology... and indeed what it meant so we never discussed it. We were asked by several wine commentators to encourage other wineries to look at the use of socal technology... hence the comments in the press release.

The harvester comments are interesting and valid, but remember for small winery regions like the Shoalhaven... this does represent a big advance, as most of the time they are sending it offsite uncrushed and creating quality problems during transport. At a total regional crush of less than 500 tonnes at present, for wineries like Cambewarra this is a big advance (we only do 20 tonnes and it’s all hand picked but processed on site).

We wish you success with this years vintage (we have already had bud burst!) and look forward to reading more of your comments (for good or bad!) in future.

Your Hosts,

Sophie and Rajarshi

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