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Wine takes to Internet in a big way

  • Hahn, which produces the Cycles Gladiator label, is among those trying to appeal to millennial wine drinkers.

A naked lady riding a bicycle is the image on the label of Cycles Gladiator wine, but marketing to the millennials, the offspring of the baby boomers, requires more than sex appeal. It requires a Net-savvy courtship.

Hahn Family Wines, which produces the Gladiator label in Soledad, has supported and participated in Wine 2.0 Twitter Taste Live and wine blogger forum events. Closer to home at John Tyler Wines in Healdsburg, marketers Katey Bacigalupi and twin sister Nicole spend 20 hours a week on social networking Web sites to promote their wine.

Last weekend was the signature Passport to Dry Creek Valley event, and with more wine events in the months ahead, vintners are keeping an eye on the millennials, a demographic that ranges in age from 21 to 31. Wineries may want to monitor consumption, yes, but they also want to tap into this generation that is now driving the wine market as key agents of change, according to Vic Motto, a wine analyst with Global Wine Partners in Napa..

Every generation redefines culture, Motto said. The trends toward social networking in part define this generation and the rapid communication of information supports this.

The millennials are, by all accounts, as information-savvy as a computer chip.

Despite the information overload of the high-tech age, these new consumers are not overwhelmed by a large quantity of information, Motto said. They are willing to take chances on new things, but they sort them out and filter them very quickly. So, with rapid communication, there is unprecedented consensus about whats hot and whats not.

Motto said his hip resident millennial, Harvard-educated son Scott Becker, tells him one of the most popular Web sites is Cruvee.com. This media-monitoring and networking site helps wineries promote their brands by measuring, interpreting and engaging in online doings. The sites home page says it feeds information to online sources and offers real-time wine consumer insights to help wineries know who their current market is.

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