Welcome back to another episode on the CRUSH @ SOCIAL PODCAST where we chat with various Wine Industry Professionals across the globe regarding Wine, Secret Social Media Strategies & Insider Marketing Tips.

In this Episode we talk with Georgia Panagopoulou, the creator of one of the top 10 Wine Instagram Accounts in the world (@wine.gini). She shares her insights on online winery branding, explains how social media is used in different wine regions, what a killer digital marketing strategy looks like & how to win over MILLENNIALS.

P.S Sorry about the feedback in the audio, we were both traveling during the making of this episode & stumbled into a few WIFI problems

Get to Know Georgia Panagapoulou

Born & raised in Greece, she began her career as a chemical engineer – a career/area of study she attributes to much of her success within the wine industry. 

Georgia came to love wine through her first academic studies when she spent a semester abroad in Spain. During her time in Spain, a lot of her friends were wine lovers, enthusiasts and studying winemakers. They would travel around to wineries tasting, touring, and learning about wine; 

“I loved wine. I loved travelling and seeing that you could make a living out of doing all these things was like – Boom! I saw a new path in life, and I was pretty sure I wanted it, it was a complete mind shift for me.”

The magical world of wine was not the typical European career choice, and Georgia (@wine.gini) had to acclimatize herself with the realization that if you dream it, you can achieve it. 

So, she got to work. After landing a job with Coca-cola beverages in Greece (which does more than carbonated beverages but wines and spirits too), she worked in many departments from marketing to sales, and others for a couple of years. 

Something was missing – her creativity. She didn’t want to be stuck in an office and longed to be outside, working, creating, giving back. 

Santorini is the Hub for Greek wines; with the support of a very respected Winery in Greece, she quit her job, moved to the hub and took the plunge into something different. 

With zero experience in Communications and Hospitality, she undertook courses (WSET) & learned on the job working with visitors, wine lovers, journalists, wine masters and more. 

How did @Wine.Gini find her success?

First, it began with her want for knowledge, yes she is one of the top 10 Instagram accounts for wine in the world but here is a little secret – there were times when she felt like she knew nothing, had no knowledge on the subject. 

Inspired by those with the knowledge, pushed her to elevate her own. 

Determination, settling for nothing but the best and studying hard has got her to where she is today. After travelling to over 30 countries during her master’s program she learned a lot about the world market. 

Key takeaways

  • You can be whatever you want to be if you work hard & are passion-driven – she is now sharing that passion with others.  

  • There is A LOT of trial, error, practice & consistency – don’t give up 

  • Distinguish yourself from the other blogs and Instagram accounts 

  • Be yourself – it’s a unique way to stand out from the crowd organically. 

  • Have fun – that’s what life is about. 

  • Humanize your content – talk your truth, share your journey, your story & mistakes. 

  • Make real and valuable connections – the wine industry is built on relationships. 

Words of Wisdom: Social media is like real life – when you have conversations with people, you show them your personality, and when you do that they remember you. 

What should be the Social Media platform choice & strategy for your Winery?

First and foremost – you DO NOT want to get lost. 

There are so many platforms, but you don’t need to be on every single one, find the ones that work for your brand. 

Quick Platform Breakdown

Facebook – for the traditional 

  • You must always have a page on Facebook 
  • It is the most critical platform – everyone is on it
  • You will find all your target audience on Facebook 

Youtube for the young & modern 

  • Huge potential for those comfortable on camera (SEO & evergreen)

Instagram – The hottest platform for the Wine Industry

  • Make sure to use all the features, the feed, IGTV & LIVE video. 

LinkedIn –  for the Wine Industry Professional

  • Incredible organic reach. 

Strategy is a tricky thing 

It is not one size fits all; it is highly personalized based on goals and the business. 

Strategies are not like recipes, to be followed out meticulously for a perfect end product.

Forget the recipes and instead know the basic terms, platforms, storytelling methods, hashtags, etc. You cannot build a strategy out of anything, take some time to understand your business and messaging – then you can strategize. 

Tip: To build an audience on social media, you need to find a personal and unique voice and to do this, you need to know who you are.

You need to set your targeting right – who you are and who you’re addressing. 

As an expert in branding and storytelling, here are her tips: 

“Find your tone of voice and try to be human, tell your story”.

“The point of the story isn’t to talk about you, it’s to give something to the reader. We care about the wines, but it’s not just about that – let the content talk about you, not you talk about you, make it memorable”. 

“Don’t make it borning – share information, useful tips, have fun, and good content will be shared.”

Wine & how to win over Millennials?

It’s not the job of one Winery to market and be successful in winning over millennials. If we want to be successful and elevate the industry, it’s about teamwork. 

The entire wine industry has to work together. 

Greece, for example, has made many efforts to reach young consumers – fairs, educational courses, free classes in wine bars. 

Once you learn more about and are educated on an (intimidating) topic like wine, you can be empowered and more intrigued to opt for it as a beverage choice. 

That is where the disconnect with the industry comes in – we need to educate that it is a world of discovery and fun – we need to move away from the “snobbish” attitude. 

To make millennials consume more wine – they need to feel more connected to wine. We also need to connect with them where they are… hello digital!

Crush @ Social community has questions for @Wine.Gini 

  • Keltie Maguire from @outshinery

Q) With a constant barrage of expert opinions and voices on how to show up on social, the best ways to grow your following, etc – how do you quiet the noise and determine the most effective strategies to use?

A) “Don’t care about growing your social media, focus on engaging your community – find your voice and have fun. If you enjoy it let it show and people will enjoy it with you and the growth will follow – give value.”

  • Cristian Ventura

Q) What is the path you follow from connecting on IG with people and creating a relationship, to actually selling wine?

A) “Build excellent brand awareness – Influencer marketing; it will bring excellent brand awareness, so people will know your name, ask about your wines.  If you make very very good content and place the right links in the right spots – you can sell your wines. (The right platforms with the correct links). Educate, build the relationship and then sell.” 

  • Peter Klerkx 

Q) What was your best decision in relation to your business and life? You must have had at least one moment or circumstances that were of high influence on your CV/ personal & business development that you learned from, what was it?

A) “It’s all about dots – one dot connecting the other – the most important thing that helps me is my background in engineering. I find solutions to problems – and now those problems are in the wine industry. It’s amazing how past experiences can bring so much to the table, use them!” 

  • Ami from OnCloudWine

Q) I would like to learn how to become a brand ambassador and get invited to press trips. How did you make it happen?

A) “I don’t believe in influencing, I am a person that is a digital marketer who tries to build good strategies and brand awareness for my clients. I study a lot, I work very very hard, I care about my community, and when I do collaborations I want to bring value to my clients, I want to spread the word. Key people in the wine industry see that I’ve never sent my CV or applied or even reached out to a winery. If you give your best, some key people will reach out to you. And through these connections, you meet new people and new collaborations arise.”

  • Vinovanny

Q) Will you be visiting Canada soon, more specifically British Columbia? And have you tried Canadian wines? If so, which one(s) and what did you think?

A) “I don’t have experience in Canadian wines, I have been to Montreal for one day. It is a paradise for Wine Tourists and friends who work there who have had good experiences but no real experience of my own yet.”

  • Amybellotti

Q) How may I reach natural and organic wine consumers? Piedmont to begin. Are natural wine drinkers looking for these wines in Michelin starred restaurants for example?

A) “It all comes down to the Sommelier – if a winery wants to sell any wine – premium to super-premium wines, reach for these experts because they are there. Let them see your cellar, see the vines, they will bring the wine to the consumer. Bring the Sommelier into the picture. They will sell your wine.”

  • Palm & Vine

Q) What are your tips for growing an authentic, ENGAGED social media audience?

A) “Engagement is going down; it is a result of Facebook wanting to get more advertising, especially with bigger accounts. Can be discouraging, and tricky, however, to build good engagement, I try to experiment, be original. Experiment with different styles of content. Try to make content that is more niche with a trademark style and be creative.”

PS “Your Trademark = Consistency in your style of how you show up – it will take time to develop, but have fun and experiment with it.”

  • Di.vin.e

Q) How do you get started in social media, wine & creating a lifestyle like yours?

A) “Most essential pieces: 

1) Find the right platform (videos, creative photos, writing) for your style 

2) Find the right name (represents what you want to communicate with your audience) 

3) Produce content that will give value to your audience – you are your content – it is your identity; it is everything.

Last but not least –
a question for Georgia.

Q) What is your biggest piece of advice for Wineries?

A) “Whatever you do, never forget to have fun!”