Currently the largest producers/creators of wine videos is me. I thought—should I really do this article? What if…. What if someone thought I was being too self promotional. Then I thought I have been tucked away in meekdom for far too long. I also thought I am a wine videographer, reviewer, educator, writer… of course I have to market myself. And I have been a professional wine marketing manager at a large multi-state wine retailer. So marketing is something I am good at doing…. I should do the same for my brand… for me.
I have gone to many events or tasting rooms where a friend or colleague might mention that I am the largest producer of wine videos—and it is lost on the producer—it is like nothing was ever said. It made me think how undervalued wine videos are–not all but many; not just mine but many others as well.
I was looking at creating wine videos as early as 2006 but I voted against doing so. I saw someone by the name of Gary Vaynerchuck and saw his click rate was relatively small compared to the high click rate of general vloggers and how toer’s. I am huge believer in wine videos because there seems to be a general appetite for videos in general. YouTube is certainly eating the lunch of all US television networks combined because the general secret sauce is something simple as self-selection.
I was engaged in creating wine videos simply because of wine video contest by Murphy-Goode called ‘A Really Great Job.’ I, of course, was not selected but the contest got me to rethink wine video production. My passion for the moving image was a natural fit for wine. I looked at my written blog and found that I have completed a very large number of entries. So the next extension was to continue the journey and it was easy and hard to do with respect to video. Easy because there is so much subject matter… so many stories to tell and wines to be video reviewed. Hard (and rewarding) because the moving image is dynamic and there are so many elements:
- Brand creation and development
- Continuous improvement of video production
- Logo development
- Graphic placement
- Music selection
- Continuity of key messaging
- Developing patience for retake after retake
- Developing a presence onscreen
Gary Vee gave up at a 1,000 to develop something called The Daily Grape and he soon abandoned the Daily Grape concept soon after. I finished my 1,000th about one year and four months after Gary’s (March 14, 2011) mine was completed on August 5, 2012.
In 2011, I decided to complete a 1,000th videos not for the sole purpose of getting to this number but my content list was over 1,000 subjects. I thought if I didn’t make a concerted effort to get through my initial 1,000 plus subjects I would never fulfill those videos I had wanted to make.
I did get some comments from people saying that wine video creation should be about quantity of video but quality. I agree and pointed out that few subject matters like wine have so many items to discuss. I would never be at a loss for my desire to create them. I did continue after the 1,000 and did not have a specific target of videos to make after the first 1,000. It was what I wanted to make and no milestones needed to be attained and in fact I still operate under that same state. It took me less than 2 years to get to 1,500 and in doing so and each hundredth number almost snuck up on me each time.
I have many more subjects to cover and wines to review and wine countries to visit. I do think that wine videos and have said so many times before have yet to be discovered but will be discovered some day. Not only are people interested in wine and I think there is a great bank of people interested in wine videos and have yet to find videos they are seeking because simply many don’t exist. What I mean is that if someone is looking for a specific wine they are interested in and they may search YouTube and it confirms their thoughts on wine videos – it doesn’t exist. I don think with 1,600 videos I have hardly scratched surface of the total wine content canon.
I am interested in what drives video click rates. There are some subjects that I think are interesting and I think there might be a larger interest level and those videos have had a poor click rate. And there are those that for me have garnered a larger click rate than I expected. I am not just interested in click rates… I am interested in talking about this subject matter. I do think the written word is something either fewer people have time to do or that there are dynamical features about video—emotion, authenticity and something that sometimes writing can convey solely.
I look at my early wine videos and compare that with my most recent. A very different look and feel. My tone is different…. I am still a faster speaker than I would like to be (learning to slow down though). Wine video creation has certainly helped in my CBM (confidence building measures) to borrow from my International Relations days. It has helped me to be confident and even more eager to do what I do. I love wine and while my brand is to demystify I find that this thing called wine ever so marvels me.
In my off premise wine marketing days I had to endure many ad agency’s pitches and positions and (sigh) insights(?). They weren’t insights just guesses and insulting ones at that. One agency though of Hispanics/Latinos (which I am a member) like only Merlot. I very much appreciate Merlot—I also have a passion for many varieties in addition to Merlot. Where do advertising agencies come up with this?!? Why not Tempranillo or wines from Argentina, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, or Mexico. They couldn’t answer. My exploration and experience in the wine world has helped to hone in on more knowledge based views on wine and less guesses.
Everyone is trying to crack the wine code… the ultimate marketing knowledge that I don’t think anyone has ever cracked this code or ever will. Wine is a great and mystery subject of branding; and not just branding but individual wines multiplied times vintages. Wine is a product category like no other.
Wine is dynamical—many variables: 1) many regions 2) many cultivars (over 10,300) 3) vintage 4) other features: style, old vine, reserve to name a few. Add a dash of complexity: distribution, availability, production and add an overwhelming portion of alcohol beverage control laws (no other country has more than the US). Wine, beer and spirits are the most over regulated consumer product in the US and I can see why it is hard to get some things in California—wines from other states—an over abundance of license requirements. I remember asking a winery in Delaware if I could get a bottle of wine and they couldn’t send to me because they needed a couple of licenses that would be a hurdle to get and I think it may not have made economic sense to do so.
I think many consumers are open to get their wines shipped to them and perhaps many would prefer it. But the prohibition by 50 states Alcohol Beverage Control authorities do their best to retain a1930s mentality. They make it hard for producers to see the light of bottle getting in hands of consumers. I think many consumers will not go through extraordinary requirements to get wine or seek wine from sources they may have little experience. I am excited to taste wines from Maryland, Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Cyprus, Croatia, Turkey, Morocco, Republic of Georgia, Republic of Macedonia but I am not sure others feel the same way. The longer I observe my metrics I find my audience is internationalizing; a lot of Americans watch my videos but the audience from other countries around the globe is growing.
I have felt it important to complete videos on every angle of wine content possible; lesser known brands, large well known labels, wine regions that are undergoing a renaissance and sub-regions that get lost in the major wine regions brand authority. I have completed videos on wines from less represented regions like British Columbia (non-ice wines), New Mexico, Arizona, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Georgia, Bulgaria, Morocco, Kingdom of Jordan. I have of course completed wine review videos from very well known regions. Often but not always wines with either larger production, wider distribution get more clicks—that should be of no surprise—consumer can reach for these wines; have tasted or will taste the wines I reviewed. If I am reviewing from a smaller producer of 100 or fewer cases it might be difficult to get a register of interest half way around the world. So I don’t have the expectation that every video of mine have the same number of clicks. I do think it is important to get the producer and their consumers to find these videos. I think there isn’t that kind of video mining yet—discover, share, embed and like these videos.
I am passionate about the moving image—I am dazzled and love this medium. I do think it is the right medium for wine. I think it conveys more than just the written word. I have said before that writing still does not have the lift as my videos seem to have a great ability to attract more viewers than my written material. I know video is not for everyone I have encouraged many people to do and many have told me they won’t do it.
There is expectation that I also complete a lot of writing too which has been a bit challenging as my 24 hours is challenged by so many things to do (more than ever before). I do find a welcoming challenge to do both and supplement my videos on past writing topics and vice versa. I have not purposely cut back on writing; hence this is a written piece and I loved writing it. Content creation is a challenge but also a very rewarding one.
Video is a lot of work. It is a commitment to complete them and to have rigor to do continuous improvement. I love the ability to make a more interesting statement and I like what I have learned about myself. Stay tuned for more to come—stay with me on this wine journey—we are in the best of the beverage arts time and the best of wine times!
– James Melendez
Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.
© 2014 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.
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