In the American wine world, the majority of social media influencers remain in their niche and are directly connected to established wine publications.
The NYC-based public relations firm Colangelo & Partners carried out research on wine opinion leaders and influencers in social media in 2017. They presented their findings at wine2wine 2017, a B2B event organized by Veronafiere and Vinitaly. Among the opinion leaders studied were top influential sommeliers, industry publications, social media influencers, and wine critics.
“Writers in the wine world definitely need in-depth knowledge to be influencers,” says Claire Hennessy, author of the Colangelo & Partners study presented at wine2wine, “and they won’t attract the attention of mass followers like food and lifestyle influencers will. Numbers are important, but you won’t find wine influencers with millions of followers. What counts more is expert leadership and the capacity to influence the decisions of buyers and clients who have spending power. Major publications especially have been able to take advantage of this, as they’ve invested in digital promotion.”
Another aspect that emerged in the study was the target audience. “Influencers’ content is not so much directed towards millennials, who are more oriented around lifestyle. Instead, their target specializes in wine. Also, unlike social media influencers in other realms, non-digital material is still a major driver of buying and investment decisions. Journalists’ opinions about wine still have a big impact on sales,” says Hennessy.