There is a lot of evidence that making social media a strategic part of a winery's overall marketing mix makes good business sense. I've been working to create a concrete ROI for social media's use in wineries and in my research thus far I've have found a lot of evidence that a dollar spent on social media can be much more effective than a dollar spent on traditional media.
According to Nielson online we trust the recommendations of friends (90%) and online reviews (70%) a lot more than traditional media (62% and lower). A good wine review from a friend is going to influence me more than a good review by a known wine critic. Forrester's recent Social Technology report found that the prime wine buying demographic of 35+ year olds grew their online participation by 60% last year prompting them to conclude:
"... marketers can now safely create social media marketing for people ages 35 and older."In a recent survey by Viralvines.com on Twitter use in wineries, in answer to the question "How has your presence on Twitter helped your business? 96.4% responded that "It has helped us engage more with our customers"
Furthermore the conversation about a winery's brand is happening even if a winery chooses to ignore it and that carries a real risk of negative effects. According to Nielsen BuzzMetrics 25% of search results for the worlds largest brands are links to user generated content. This extends to niche brands as well and a bad review without the appropriate response can have long lasting effects.