*Updated November 2022
Cabernet Day, Chardonnay Day, Malbec moments … it seems that wine marketers exploit any commercial opportunity that presents itself to sell more wine by way of varietal wine days. And yes, we’re guilty as charged, often working to mastermind ways for our clients and the industry in general to tell their varietal stories on a global social media platform.
Mastermind has pioneered many of these varietal days over the past 10 years. We’ve been involved from the early days of Chardonnay and Cabernet Day in Australia, where we got regions involved in tweetups across the country, to the Rosé Revolution and Three Days of Rosé, for which we generated the ideas for these longer campaigns. At the time, industry colleagues such as The Qwoff Boys (now Vinomofo), Spitbucket and Jayson Bryant all joined together to help educate consumers about the varietals in our own backyard and the vast product choices they have. The mouthpiece was social media – a new platform at the time. It was a novel, fun way to tell stories, but importantly, it gave brands a chance to collaborate and collectively tell their stories with greater reach than they could ever achieve alone.
The results were phenomenal!
At some events, Twitterfalls of the commentary (yes, Twitter was once the big thing!) were posted to the walls, others featured live video broadcasts (De Bortoli generously hosted the first rosé live event from its deck in the Yarra Valley), and multiple winemakers even took over Sydney’s Coast Restaurant with consumers lining up to taste the wines. These were exciting times, and a key outcome was the spirit of camaraderie and collaboration of all involved!
The idea for many of the varietal days started with Rick Bakas who, as social media director for St. Supéry Winery in California, dreamed up the idea of Chardonnay Day in May 2010, just before American Memorial Day. This evolved into Cabernet Day, which traditionally takes place on the last Thursday before Labor Day in the US. The concept of varietal days spread quickly, with new days joining the global digital calendar and regions championing their most well-known varietals and enjoying added sales opportunities.
Although the momentum may have died down slightly since those early days, there’s no denying that these varietal days have a place on the marketing calendar for wineries, restaurants and other wine-related venues. On these particular days, we’ve seen incredible sales results from the wineries and restaurants that we work with, so I encourage you to embrace the tactical opportunities for telling your stories.
TOP TIPS ON HOW TO LEVERAGE VARIETAL DAYS IN YOUR MARKETING:
- Plan ahead
Think about the outcome that you’re looking to drive by participating, and plan your marketing activity in advance. This might mean organising a tasting, delivering a specific email marketing campaign, capturing new product photography, or convincing your winemaker or brand spokesperson to go live on social media and helping them refine your story. (Yes, this means engaging directly in a two-way dialogue.)
Perhaps you have some back-vintage releases that you could bundle together for your email lists to enjoy a specific limited offer. Alternatively, you could write a blog post on your interpretation of the varietal, the way Brown Hill Estate in Margaret River did, to showcase unique characteristics of your region.
- Involve your consumers
Consumers love the chance to enjoy their favourite wines, and addressing this desire presents you with opportunities for a tactical promotion – to connect consumers to or deepen their understanding of your brand. Live tastings on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube present a new and compelling way to connect and tell your story. Consumers can directly ask questions to learn more about the wines you’re showcasing.
Over the years, we’ve found that promoting your event in advance means that you’re broadening awareness, selling packs, and offering a preview of what’s to come. It’s not rocket science; you’re inviting your customers to join in the festivities and potentially getting them to engage. This works particularly well for days like Open that Bottle Night (the last Saturday in February every year), where wine lovers can gather like-minded oenophiles to join in the fun.
- Choose what’s relevant
Although the days-of-the-year calendar offers plenty of opportunities, not all will be relevant to your audience. Be strategic and determine which ones will best suit your brand. For instance, there may be opportunities to work with other brands in your region to expand reach or to join in bigger initiatives that may be occurring on a global level. New Zealand wineries do a great job leveraging days such as Sauvignon Blanc Day, purely because this wine and this day are so relevant to their story.
- Track and measure your results
There are plenty of tools available to determine your results and evaluate how you can optimise future performance. Using Google Analytics obviously is key to understanding website sales and performance, but don’t forget metrics such as time on site for reading blog posts, engagement with live video or feedback regarding packs.
A LIST OF REMAINING 2022 AND FULL YEAR 2023 VARIETAL WINE DAYS TO ADD TO YOUR DIARY
- International Port Wine Day – celebrated 27 January every year
- National Rosé Day (Australia and New Zealand) – 5 February
- Global Drink Wine Day – celebrated every year on 18 February
- Open that Bottle Night – celebrated last Saturday in February every year – 25 February this year
- Mulled Wine Day – celebrated every year on 3 March
- Riesling’s Birthday – celebrated every year on 13 March
- Malbec World Day – celebrated every year on 17 April
- International Sauvignon Blanc Day – celebrated first Friday in May every year – 5 May this year
- National Moscato Day – celebrated every year on 9 May
- Pinot Grigio Day – celebrated every year on 17 May
- International Chardonnay Day – 26 May
- International Rosé Day – celebrated fourth Friday in June every year – 23 June this year
- Shiraz Wine Day – celebrated fourth Thursday of July every year – 27 July this year
- National White Wine Day – celebrated 4 August every year
- International Pinot Noir Day – celebrated 18 August every year
- International Cabernet Sauvignon Day – some celebrate on 30 August every year; others use the Thursday before US Labor Day, which in 2023 is 31st August
- International Port Wine Day – celebrated 10 September every year
- International Grenache Day – celebrated third Friday in September every year – 15 September this year
- Pinotage Day – celebrated second Saturday in October every year – 14 October
- Carignan Day – celebrated last Thursday in October every year – 26 October this year
- Champagne Day – celebrated fourth Friday in October every year – 27 October this year
- Merlot Day – celebrated 7 November every year
- International Tempranillo Day – celebrated second Thursday of November every year – 10 November this year
- Beaujolais Nouveau Day – celebrated third Thursday November every year – 17 November this year
- Carménère Day – celebrated 24 November every year
- Cabernet Franc Day – celebrated 4 December every year
- Pinot Meunier Day – celebrated 16 December every year
- Sangria Day – celebrated 20 December every year
Need some help working out how to best leverage these opportunities as part of your marketing plan? Give our team and call – we’re happy to assist.