Presented earlier this month at the London International Wine Fair, this month's management briefing for just-drinks members is our State of the Nation 2012 survey of the wine trade in the UK. Part three can be found here, while this, the final part, looks at the results of the final set of questions.

XII - Which forms of social media do you use for your company/organisation?

  • Facebook: mentioned by 89% of respondents
  • Twitter: 74%
  • LinkedIn: 54%
  • Blog: 41%
  • YouTube: 35%
  • Google+: 17%
  • Foursquare: 2%

XIII - Which have been most beneficial and why?

  • Facebook: mentioned by 49% of respondents
  • Twitter: 44%
  • LinkedIn: 30%
  • Blog: 21%
  • YouTube: 12%
  • Google+: 2%

XIV - Which of these have you been disappointed by, and why?

  • MySpace: mentioned by 32% of respondents
  • Google+: 29%
  • Facebook: 24%
  • LinkedIn: 18%
  • Twitter: 18%
  • Buzz: 18%
  • Foursquare: 18%
  • Blog: 15%
  • YouTube: 9%

A whole series of new questions here on the complex and fast-changing issue of using social media and blogging. A few conclusions, at least, are clear: the vast majority of people acknowledge its growing significance. Some 87% ranked the role of social media in the wine trade as important, very important or essential, with 92% predicting that its importance will grow in the future.

Facebook and Twitter are the most favoured means of communication, followed by LinkedIn and blogs – while MySpace and Google+ receive a general thumbs-down from our respondents.

Talking about why social media is important is a different matter. Several respondents still maintain that most, if not all, of it is pointless trivia, and that wine companies are only engaging with it because their competitors do.

But, for others, it has become a vital and established part of their communications strategy, offering direct contact with target consumers for a relatively small investment of time and money.

Nonetheless, there is also a recognition that this world is fast-changing and dynamic, with new ideas such as Storify and Pinterest growing in popularity all the time.

Comments

“Very important, because it has become part of people’s lives and is full of the most powerful recommendations: from friends, family and the like-minded.

“Your social media list lacks Storify and Pinterest, both of which will be of growing importance. MySpace is an irrelevance to the wine trade.” - Robert Joseph, DoILikeIt?.

“[We use] Twitter and Facebook – but don’t ask me. The young in my company know – I do not – but I make damn sure we are up there and with it!” - Nick James, Pol Roger.

“Facebook and Twitter. Both are proving to be excellent means of communicating news and other information to our customer base quickly and efficiently.” - Adam Wyartt, PLB.

“Social media (particularly Twitter and LinkedIn) is a very important PR tool and helps to raise awareness of a specific brand or business. It does not often translate into direct sales in the short term, and there are sadly a lot of businesses who went into social media just for the sake of doing so but without a strategy.” - Gavin Partington, WSTA.

“Very important, because you can show many people your news in/of every part in the world, also with feedback. It’s easy to manage, you just need to be proactive, and it is not expensive.” - Bonifacio Correa, UK sales director, Viña Ventisquero.

“In terms of practical/tangible results, LinkedIn is the most beneficial as it creates opportunities that you wouldn’t necessarily find without it – new customers, employees, suppliers… the list is endless.” - Dan Bolton, Louis Latour Agencies.

“[Using social media is] essential, as it is the medium of choice for the younger generation.” - Anne Burchett, Sopexa.

XV - Which wine bottle closure is best: cork, artificial or screwcap? Why?

  1. Screwcap (2011: 1)
  2. Natural cork (2)
  3. Artificial cork (3)

Asked to nominate their ideal closure, a huge majority of respondents named the screwcap, giving it its biggest lead in the history of our survey over natural and artificial cork.

The reasons – quality control, product consistency, convenience and, over artificial cork, aesthetic concerns – are familiar from previous surveys.

Also familiar is the equivocal nature of many responses. If we had an “it depends” option in the survey, it would probably win most votes, because large numbers of our respondents believe that screwcap and natural cork (but to a lesser extent artificial cork) have their own market niche. Screwcap for everyday wines and aromatic whites, natural cork for higher-level reds with potential for ageing – that appears to be the thinking of many in the trade.

Comments

“Depends entirely on the wine in question and which market you are focused on. Fresh, early-consumed red and whites – then screwcap. Artificial cork – plainly horrid; and cork for decent kit.” - Nick James, Pol Roger.

“[It] will depend on the level of the wine and grapes. Cork is important for the high-range red wines because they need the micro-oxygenation for the evolution of the wine in the bottle. The screwcap doesn’t give this quality.” - Bonifacio Correa, Viña Ventisquero.

"Our winemakers have been researching closures for more than 20 years now and while there is perhaps no such thing as the perfect closure, we believe that screwcap comes closer to this ideal than any other closure type. This is for two fundamental reasons: product consistency and convenience.” - Simon Thomas, Pernod Ricard UK.

To read the third part of this management briefing, click here.