News

Springtime advice, April 2024

The calendar pages are flying away—it’s unbelievable that we’re four months into a new year!

If you can, take a breath, step away from the computer…and look at your communications efforts and see how you’re doing.

Have you refreshed the copyright date at the bottom of your website?

Do you have fact sheets up on your website for all of your current releases (and likewise, downloadable bottle photos and labels)? Are the bios of your principals current, with appealing photos?

Do you have a news or blog page which has been updated since 2024 arrived?!

How often are social media posts happening? Are they a mix of ‘serious’ content and a lighter touch, with glimpses of ‘real’ people, vineyards, barrels? Can you occasionally quote from feedback from customers? What about sharing/reposting images and messages from the outside world?!

How often are you sending eblasts to your mailing list/club members? Are they always bottom-line-oriented, or are you trying to slip in occasional ones which don’t have a heavy sales message? Maybe you have a new solar array or are planting a new varietal or one of the wines has won a big award?

Anything to re-think about the tasting room experience? Lately I’ve been hearing back that visitors to tasting rooms are uncomfortable with heavy-handed “join our club” focus as wines are being presented.

Good old-fashioned public relations! Do you have a new winemaker? New certification for the vineyard? A new distributor or importer? There may be news lurking in your world which could be announced and attract some eyeballs.

Good old-fashioned community relations! Do you supply rack cards to hotels or tourist-welcome offices? Is that card correct and up-to-date or does it maybe need a refresh? Do you visit local concierges with gift bottles and rack cards? If not, might that be an idea?

Personality! Are there local issues where the winery should have a voice? Those might be politics or not…but subjects where neighbors and customers might like to learn that the winery is a long-time supporter of the local Boy Scout troop….or children’s art center….or a local horse rescue organization.

Speak up and speak out. Every gesture you make can generate that slight increase in awareness which may or may not be scientifically measurable but may cause one more car to turn into your parking lot!

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July 2020: Wineries are re-opening post-Covid, many with new elements they offer to customers. DTC modes of communication remain important too!

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Best Public Relations Provider

August 30, 2019:

Most of my winery clients are getting ready to harvest or have begun harvesting whites.

Stay tuned!

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The March-April 2016 issue of Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine features the results of their fourth annual Best Wine Industry Suppliers survey.

Knowing I was in the running….I made a conscious decision not to campaign, not to ask clients or colleagues to vote for me. And with that, I imagined that I wouldn’t have a chance to be chosen, not being a big agency with lots of employees, lots of bodies, lots of “muscle.”

And then, surprise! I was chosen as the Best Public Relations Agency/Provider.

Here’s what the editors had to say:

Julie Ann Kodmur founded her marketing and publicity consulting service in 1997. Based in St. Helena, Calif., she’s created multiple successful campaigns for wineries large and small. Clients appreciate her “attention to detail, reasonable pricing and incredible results,” “strong industry knowledge, innovation and excellent, timely service” as well as the fact she’s “connected,” “gets it done,” “knows the realities of our business” and “always has great and fresh ideas and goes above and beyond.

And so, long live the “little” practitioners, those of us who practice this craft as one-man shops, focusing on being creative, staying close to our clients and the media, up early, stopping late….

My thanks to Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine for the hard work that went into the survey.

And, not least in any way, my enormous thanks to my ‘family’ of clients who are my source of inspiration.

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An article I wrote on how wine PR has changed, from the April 2014 Wine Business Monthly,  WBM has kindly allowed me to share it on this site (download PDF of article).

Here is a guest post I wrote for Tom Wark’s blog Fermentation suggesting how wineries can be effective marketers while traveling.

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Veteran wine publicists Julie Ann Kodmur and Tom Wark have launched SWIG, a publication in a blog format focusing on an area rarely covered in an editorial format: wine public and media relations. SWIG will feature posts and articles addressing the practice of wine public relations, wine media trends, marketing ethics and news commentary.

SWIG is located on the web at www.SwigPR.com.

“SWIG gives us a chance to ruminate and reflect on public relations issues in the wine world, provide the industry with insights into the practice and perhaps influence a movement toward responsible and productive marketing,” said Wark.

Wark and Kodmur have separate PR consulting practices located in Napa Valley which service the wine industry. Together they have more than 50 years of experience working in the field of wine-related public and media relations (and marketing consulting).

“With the rise of social media and the attention it rightly attracts in marketing circles, Tom and I both noted a decline in the discussion of the theory and practice of wine public relations even as online information on all subjects has exploded,” said Kodmur. “With SWIG, we hope to deliver some thoughtful ideas and sober commentary based on the experience we’ve garnered,” she adds.

Kodmur has worked in the field of wine public relations since 1988 and opened her consultancy in 1997. She is the recipient of numerous awards in her field as well as the author of several articles in mainstream and trade publications. Her websites include JulieAnnKodmur, WinePRTuneup and NapaValleyValentine.

Wark began his career in wine public relations in 1990 and opened his consultancy in 1994. He is the founder of the award-winning wine blog FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog, The Cider Journal and the founder of The Wine Consumer Coalition.

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I proposed a pro bono ad in The Scout Guide for three St. Helena non-profit associations…and it’s happened:

Cameo Nimbus Sunrise in Scout Guide

Look for this in an upcoming issue of this stylish magazine.

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