It may seem that there’s an abundance of wine related social media initiatives emerging and something to get involved in on a weekly basis. Having started the first few Australian Tweet ups with #WCATT in August 2010 this really excites me as people surely are embracing the concept and wanting to get involved.  Success stories are already emerging of new distributions, increased sales and greater brand awareness and reviews for participating.

So why am I getting behind another initiative like open that bottle night?
The concept is not a new one. In fact it was invented over 10 years ago by former Wall Street Journal columnists, John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter as a way to share the many great wine anecdotes they heard from their wine loving readers. The first OTBN stories were printed in their wine column and proved to be hugely popular with their readers. Every year, the event grew and soon OTBN parties were being held all over the world.

Since John and Dottie left the newspaper in 2009, OTBN has lost some momentum so a good friend Liz O’Connell and I (with blessing from the founders John & Dottie), have decided to ensure this great event doesn’t die.  In 2011, rather than printing in a newspaper, wine lovers around the world can post their pictures, stories, tweets and videos for others to enjoy on the OTBN Facebook page. What a better way to encourage participation and involvement in this great industry of ours than to get people opening wines and reminiscing about stories behind them.

The wine could be a special vintage from the cellar, your dad’s favourite wine, the wine you enjoyed on your first date or one you bought on a memorable visit to a winery. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a bottle that means something to you. Or if you aren’t saving a wine (wine is meant to be drunk after all!) OTBN is a good excuse to go out and buy a bottle and treat yourself!

Some tips on how to get involved:
• Join the OTBN Facebook page and share your favourite wine stories, photos or videos
• Follow OTBN on twitter @Openthatbtl and use #OTBN in your tweets about wine that you could potentially open
• Sign up for the OTBN tweet up on February 26th to keep up to date with ways to get involved
• Organise a dinner or OTBN party with wine loving friends or family and ask people to bring along something special for dinner
• If you’re a winery, consider selling some back vintage wines to your consumers and let them know how to get involved so people can talk about your wines and brand.

Support Flood Victims with #OTBN event
With the recent devastation of the floods in QLD and VIC recently there’s also a great opportunity for people to hold a dinner party, a function at your winery and ask for a donation to the Premiers fund or by calling 1800 219 028. If you’re getting involved outside Australia then a great opportunity to think of the people in Brazil and donate to the Red Cross.

I look forward to hearing the stories behind your wines that are opened on 26 Feb.