The Release Of Your Wine Is Not “News”

Vinted on June 17, 2014 binned in commentary

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but someday you’re gonna die. Also, the release of your wine almost certainly isn’t newsworthy, and your press release about it is probably superfluous, the end.

To test whether or or not your wine release is, in fact, newsworthy, I have devised this handy (and incredibly easy to use) flowchart. Simply follow the one-question decision tree below to determine if your wine release is a newsworthy event:

You’re welcome…

To further the point just a tad, do you know how many bottles of wine are released every year?

About 36 billion (that’s billion with a B, as in Bill Gates net-worth volume).

I understand that your brand needs to stand out, but waxing poetic in a press release about a wine release that the recipient isn’t actually tasting is not the way to do it. I know this because I receive something like several hundred of such press releases a month, give or take a few hundred. Or maybe it just seems that way… In any case, there’s a lot of action on the Delete key of my keyboard when I check my email inbox and find these suckers in there.

Sending influential people a sample and details, and offering your availability if there are further questions? Now that’s a good way to do it, because then if the juice is really good it will stand out to the right influencers, who will share with their followers and friends the real thing that makes your wine stand out among the 30-some-odd billion (again, that’s billion with a B):

Your story.

That’s the one thing you have that none of the other 30-some-odd billion (hey, that’s billion with a B… alright, alright, I’ll stop now…) bottles have, the one thing that cannot effectively be duplicated, prostituted, or bullshat into existence.

So… what’s your story?






  • The Drunken Cyclist

    Wait, you mean I am not supposed to write a blog post based on the press release of a wine that I have never tasted? But in the press release, they say it is really, really good!

    • 1WineDude

      You're right, what was I thinking?!??? :)

  • ryan

    I think you mean total bottles when you say bbbbb-illion. Not total "brands" which is more like a few hundred thousand, by last count. Or maybe a million if we are generous.

    Or maybe you have numbers I don't know about.

    That said, I"m 100% behind you on this. I don't need to know about your new wine. My favorite is "we released this super expensive wine that some famous person pop a hard-on over, and while we're not going to let you taste it, would you please copy and paste this to your HIghly regarded website that we simply adore."


    • 1WineDude

      Ryan – correct on both counts. Spam-on-it…

  • Damon

    I understand your point but perhaps overstating it a little. There are a few wines (just a few) where they can issue a press release without me snickering… The Prisoner, Beaujolais Nouveau, d'Yquem, DRC, Grange, vintage Dom or Krug… I am having trouble thinking of many others.

    I think you are talking about the vast number of useless press releases but I did want to throw out that there are a few wines that people want to know when they are released.

    • 1WineDude

      Damon – yes, that's true, and I'm being a little facetious, there are of course exceptions; but generally speaking the “events” aren't newsworthy.

  • Jeffrey

    Joe, you should have issued a press release on this topic. It is very topical. I'd like to write about it on my own blog.

    • 1WineDude

      Jeffrey – truly you have a dizzying intellect!

  • gabe

    Well then, I know somebody who is not getting a press release when I bottle the 15-gallon barrel of chardonnay in my kitchen!

    • 1WineDude

      Gabe – invite Brad Pitt over, and you'll have a winner!

      • gabe

        Brad Pitt? No thanks, I'm happily married. Maybe I can invite esteemed wine blogger Joe Roberts to come help with bottling. Now that would be news(ish)

        • 1WineDude

          Gabe, you might have stumbled on one of the few potential press releases that's less newsworthy than what I'd written about!

  • Michael Wangbickler

    I can't tell you how often I flog this dead horse. It seems like I'm ALWAYS saying the same shit over and over again. What's the damn story? What makes it unique? Press releases are for REAL news… blah, blah, blah.

    • 1WineDude

      Mike, I feel you, bro. Print out the flowchart for the next one…

  • Todd - VT Wine Media

    Even worse than the "look we have new wine" press releases, are the ones that read, "look we've promoted our assistant winemaker to head winemaker" … and leaving out the part that the predecessor quit or was fired. I especially am interested in whose idea it is to spam folks with " we have a gorgeous new opulent tasting room, full of wines you can no way afford…would you care to write about us?"
    Craven as it may be, it probably makes sense to move all PR email to a single folder, so you can search on the terms 'sample' and 'press trip' to find the pertinent ones, and ditch the rest ;)

    • 1WineDude

      Todd – Let's just say that the text on the Delete key of the keyboard is getting worn and faded…

  • MyrddinGwin

    While I agree that a press release is definitely not necessary for the release of a wine (even if it's celebrity endorsed), on occasion, for certain wineries I like, I would like to know if a particular wine or two is coming available for sale. Mind you, the vast majority of those e-mails are not interesting, and are automatically sent to my spam folder.

    Slightly worse than the new wine release press releases are the ones announcing the changes of the seasons. Though I've suffered several concussions through the years, I still do have enough awareness of the world to recognise what season it is, and can also quickly figure out what season it is in the opposite hemisphere. To be more fair, it might be useful for some tourists who come here in late August with skis, and don't understand why there's no snow here in southern Ontario at that time.

    • 1WineDude

      MG – I never thought of these press releases as being sort of public service announcements, but we should all be thanking them for letting us know what season it is and what holidays are coming up, because we all clearly lack the cognitive ability to refer to a calendar! :)

      • MyrddinGwin

        PSAs for those who put the "Duhrr" in "Calendar"? ;)

        • 1WineDude

          MG – ha!!

  • Tom

    They only reason I open any of those e-mails is that I have a certain fascination for the amazing number of adjectives used in wine release PR. I would have thought there were only so many ways to enthuse, but I keep seeing more.

  • Joe Gargiulo

    Funny flow chart, Joe. … Disseminating a press release about the new release of an existing product is not newsworthy unless that wine happens to be an icon such as DRC, etc as mentioned above. … I believe the offenders are more naive than malicious, and I have personally been given marching orders from more than one obtuse company president to write and disseminate a monthly quota of press releases. Imagine the awkwardness of having to explain this to someone signing your monthly retainer check. In those cases, I typically point them to the media section of the Apple computer site to demonstrate that even the most successful company in the history of mankind only disseminates a handful of press releases during an avg month.

    • 1WineDude

      Wise tactic, Joe. You can also give them this flowchart now :).

  • Craig Camp

    Each release for a small winery is news, at least to us that made the wine. We struggle to bring these wines to market (both financially and physically) and think it would be nice to at least let somebody know. We don't do (or for that matter know how to do) press releases, but if you don't at least try to reach out to someone you're sure to die a slow death. Does a tree that falls in the forest make a noise if there is no one there? One thing for sure is that a wine released in the forest of noise out there today does not make some noise of its own no one, but no one will hear of it or drink it.

    For me each vintage is new creation. Call me naive, but that's why I send them out to the media, in the naive hope they'll see the beauty I see in them. I don't send out samples or announcements in the hope you'll affirm my vision of winemaking, for which I seek no affirmation from anyone, but simply because we need the support of critics to sell our wine. I am the entire salesforce for Cornerstone Cellars and can't even hope to physically get everywhere. Sending out samples and announcements are one of the few tools available to me to reach more consumers than I could ever hope to on my own.

    • 1WineDude

      Craig – you're not naive if you are sending those notes to the people with whom you have a relationship (media, buyers, customers…). In those cases, it's time and effort well spent. FWIW, I'd say you guys are doing a great job in that department. I suppose I should have added “unsolicited” to the title or made that point more strongly in the post itself, because it seems to be getting lost against the more comedic elements.

  • 1WineDude

    I should clarify by way of example.

    Good: "Hey, Joe, we've got a new release with the following story behind it, we think it's a good fit with what you do, we'd love to have you try it and see if you agree…"

    Bad: "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE! Winery Whatever releases 8th vintage of its 654,000 case Sauvignon Blanc!…"

    The former is personalized, capitalizes on the aspect of building or maintaining a relationship, and explains its premise and story. The latter is not personal in any way, and incorrectly equates the event with news. I receive more of the latter than the former by a ratio of probably 50 to 1.

  • Beau Carufel

    Most wineries should print out this entire blog post and paste it on the desk of whomever does their PR or marketing. Big or small production, it doesn't matter. Sending out press releases announcing a new vintage is stupid. Vintages happen every year and as a winery, it's assumed you'll release new wines from that vintage. I prefer a more direct approach you enunciated, Joe. Hmm..maybe I will start a name and shame blog to highlight the worst offenders of the press release.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Beau!

  • Paul

    I can't help but feel, that a lot of it is PR companies justifying their own existence. Mostly I think it is counter productive, especially if there is a lot of bs in the release.

  • Press Agent

    The decision to issue a press release can be driven by many purposes as well as create many unintended consequences.

    Having a press release land in the email inbox of someone who sees it as unwanted is one of the unintended consequences, sort of like the unwanted tweet I got from you whining about unwanted press releases.

    SEO considerations, among other reasons, are part of the rationale for a press release being included as a component of a comprehensive marketing campaign.

    Press releases help make the economic world go round.

    • 1WineDude

      Press agent – only you don’t have to follow me, do you? Problem solved for you. I can’t opt out of the crap you’re sending me, which you’re falling to see is the equivalent of a complete failure on an opportunity to establish a meaningful relationship with an influencer. Whoops!

  • Press Agent

    In fact, I don't follow you.

    Someone I do follow re-tweeted your original message.

    If the only contact you ever have with a brand / label is a press release (that was intentionally sent to you) then that is indeed a failed effort on the part of the brand.

    If a press release was but one component of a multi-threaded effort to make a new release known to a broad audience, with each component reinforcing a shared message, properly a/b tested, targeted and segmented using appropriate techniques, then it probably had some positive effect for the brand.

    A properly done integrated messaging campaign (of which press releases are frequently a component) is also of value to the audience as it can make that audience aware of something that they otherwise might have missed.

    The likelihood that someone will click on the banner ad on your site is greatly increased if they also admire your published content, have heard a radio ad from that company, saw a similar print ad last week, saw something on Facebook about the company…and yes…were exposed to a press release earlier from the same company.

    It is much harder to do a (wine) release campaign well than it is to send out a weak press release and hope for the best. It appears that your own popularity has made you a target for poorly done PR campaigns.

    • 1WineDude

      PA – your Twitter friend’s questionable taste in retweets notwithstanding, we’re in violent agreement.

  • Peter Slate

    There is a site that lists wine releases… and as you would suspect, it is

  • Matt

    There's only one thing worse in my book, and that's wineries giving their own $10 (taste's like $2) wine a 99pt review. It happens, and it happens far too often.

    • 1WineDude

      Matt, I give our websites both 98 points… ;-)

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