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The Social Media Interviews – Virginia Wineries – Part III:  Corcoran Vineyards

This post is the third in a four part series featuring Virginia wineries that are leveraging social media tools to connect, communicate with customers/potential customers, and build their brand.  To recap,

The intent of the interviews is to showcase Virginia wineries that are actively engaged in Social Media, and to provide a forum for dialogue for other wineries considering the move to the 21st century.

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About Corcoran Vineyards: Corcoran Vineyards – located in Loudoun County, VA – is owned and operated by Jim and Lori Corcoran (Lori is the winemaker).  In 2002, the Corcoran’s planted their first block of Chardonnay grapes on their farm – which is known as Corkys Farm.  Today, Corcoran produces ~ 2,000 cases of wine annually.

Corcoran wines are created using traditional methods that enable the full flavors of the grapes to be tasted in every bottle.  Limited production, meticulous cellar work, and careful selection of fruit ensure the highest quality possible.   They have a tasting room located just outside the village of Waterford, in a restored log cabin dating back to 1750 restored log cabin.

When did Corcoran begin using Social Media? What social media tools do you currently use (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogging, Ning, etc.)?

We have 2 twitter accounts (I started to tweet in 2008, which I was one of the first Virginia wineries to do so), 2 Facebook accounts (Corcoran Vineyards & Corcoran Wines), both my husband and I are on LinkedIn and I blog (Off the Vine with Lori).   Editorial Note:  Be sure to follow @CorkysFarm and @CorcoranWine on Twitter.

Does Corcoran have a defined approach in terms of how you spend your social media time (formal Twitter strategy, specific customer acquisition plan, limited to Facebook, etc.)? If so, please describe how you developed this strategy.

We consider it another avenue to keep guests informed of what is happening at the winery.  It is part of our overall communications program.  Facebook and Twitter are our main communication methods, but I also try to blog 4 times a month.  We use them to try and keep it a little more personal with our friends & guests of the winery.

Has Corcoran realized quantifiable results from utilizing social media (increased tasting room traffic, sales, buzz, media attention, etc.)?  Describe.

Yes, we use Google analytics to measure the results.  Facebook now tells us every week how many visitors and new fans we have.

Since many Virginia wineries are small, family-run operations with limited staff, finding time to devote to social media can be a real challenge.  What advice can you share with your fellow wineries on how to work thru the time constraints of the social media learning curve and how to best use their social media time?

You have to dedicate 10-30 minutes a day to social media…my time seems to go up because I do our website as well so I try and keep them all linked together with the same information.

Given your experience thus far with social media, what are your lessons learned, and how will your approach change (if at all)?

As far as lessons learned, we have found that the younger generation uses social media much more and we need to keep up…the dynamics of how businesses are run has changed exponentially so we need to change as well.

Jim and Lori Corcoran

Editorial Disclaimer: Your humble correspondent is by no means a social media or wine expert – not even close!  Rather, I write thru the lens of a passionate wine enthusiast, advocate of the Virginia wine industry, observer of trends from a common sense perspective, and user of social media.

Next up in the series – Bluemont Vineyard

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