Mark Aselstine
 
May 24, 2011 | Mark Aselstine

Meeting with Vintank

During a recent trip to wine country we had the opportunity to spend some time with Peter Alig, the digital brand manager of Vintank. We had an enjoyable meeting at the Norman Rose Tavern in downtown Napa and took some time to learn more about what Vintank does and some of their clients.

These stories usually begin best at the beginning. Vintank originally came on our radar due to their Deals From the Vines Facebook group which effectively functions as a deal site for wine specific deals, many direct from the wineries themselves. Having some experience with larger coupon sites, we thought it would be interesting to have a conversation about their long term plans for the group as well as other happenings in and around Vintank.

Vintank itself is a digital think tank for the wine industry. Founder Paul Mabray has extensive experience within the wine industry, including founding Inertia Beverage Group which at the time was the only serious player hoping to assist wineries in marketing themselves online. Frankly, we couldn’t agree with the premise of the company more, wineries and wine clubs don’t do a good job enough job telling their stories or effectively selling online, us included. We’re getting better, but a wine industry which is more capable of demonstrating why consumers should move beyond generic supermarket wines is only a good thing for our business. There is certainly an incredible amount of room for growth in the industry as evidenced by the explosive growth of wine blogs, conversations on Twitter and the willingness for winemakers and vineyard owners to be available online and through social media.

Our conversations with Peter were extensive, we enjoyed hearing about his time and experiences moving to Napa Valley with a dream of working in wine, but without any job lined up before arriving. Having started our wine club in what is now being called the Great Recession, we don’t have to imagine the type of looks and comments he received when he told his friends and family in Indianapolis about his plans. Peter did a nice job outlining what Vintank is currently capable of, what the plans are for the future and how our two companies might be able to work together in the future. Frankly speaking, we’re excited about the prospects.

Additionally, I can’t help but mention the free copy of Gary V’s most recent book which we were sent home with. Initially we hadn’t realized that Vintank had a relationship with someone who certainly would count as a competitor (we do largely have different business models, so his company isn’t necessarily a direct one) but the relationship makes sense given both of their status at the top of the social media revolution within wine.

Lastly, anyone interested in selling anything online should have a look at their recent white paper about the future of wine and technology. I’ve seen quite a few people suggest that their outlook is perhaps too positive, but it does feel as if things are improving both in terms of sales and interest in fine wine, but also in how wineries and wine companies are representing themselves.

The bottom line, we enjoyed our time with Peter quite a bit and feel extremely comfortable recommending Vintank to wineries looking to increase their online presence.

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