In a recent social media study performed by the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre results showed that 84% of Ontario Wineries are involved in Facebook and 44% Twitter. The respondents concluded that using social media will help to build a stronger wine industry in Ontario; however it seems that they are unsure of its effectiveness as many wineries neglect to measure their results.
Just as a good wine must slowly age before drinking, the wine industry has also been one of the slowest industries to adopt internet-based technologies (most of the Ontario wineries have been active in social media for less than two-years). Word of mouth is increasingly important for consumers to learn about a recommendation for a good bottle of wine, however wineries fail to recognize that technology is moving quickly and social media is a huge opportunity for interactive two-way symmetrical communications with their customers.
Social media has changed the way wineries communicate by providing immediate and timely messages and receiving a better understanding of their customers as communications are reciprocated. Most posts are done by multiple people including owners and staff who have other responsibilities. According to the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre’s Social Media in the Ontario Wine Industry report, the most popular posts are: coming events, food and wine pairings, winery news, and new wine releases.
Pillitteri Estates Winery took their internet technology to the next level and posted video tours of their winery, information on the grapes and other wine news on YouTube. They also communicated on Facebook and Twitter that as individuals tour their winery they can scan the various QR codes around the property for additional information. They are changing how they operate by innovating the way they are selling their through the use of internet technology.
I found that the smaller wineries did not have a strong social media presence like the larger more established wineries. It’s one thing to create a social media site, however it can only be effective if it is maintained and followers are engaged – smaller wineries often struggle with resources and finances to do this. However, by not being engaged in social media they could lose brand awareness and be technologically left behind.
Although Ontario wineries may be slow to engage in social media, I believe that it is having a positive impact on the wine industry as wineries benefit from brand awareness and loyalty amongst their consumers – but only if they remain committed to it.
 Social Media in the Ontario Wine Industry, April 2011. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
 Social Media and the Wine Industry: A New Era, February 2, 2012. Vinography: a wine blog http://www.vinography.com/archives/2012/02/social_media_and_the_wine_indu.html