Will Internet Save the Wine Business? (short piece #10)


The American wine business has been in trouble for at least the past year. The fact is so have been other regions of the world in one way or another. The search for cures has gone on everyday and finding a quickfix solution has been very difficult. American wine business is one of those industries that was designed to operate on its own. The market for wine had a natural availability for wines made in America. That was a whole standard for doing business and little else had to be done. Made in America sold and was enough to build a whole industry ignoring the other realities.

That is the story of the American wine industry. The wines had to win a few awards which they did. The wines had to get a few high ratings which they did. The wines had to get lots of polished media coverage which they did. And that was it. They automatically sold well using their strong featured mentioned and more. The market changed however over time and the economy collapsed also. The American wine industry did not respond. They never cared to have a plan and thought they owned a good sector of wine expenditure in America no matter what. That assumption proved wrong. What is the new solution? Some wine media folks think Internet will save the world or the wine industry. Will it? Will Facebook and Twitter bring the good old days back and secure the industry? They are likely to do good, at least, for the short run. The important thing is betting everything on a few minor factors and assuming the best will not work and is not the best course of action. American wine industry knows this firsthand. They should not expect the social media to save them 100%. If social media does not save the American wine industry, it will at least push the industry in a new direction in a constructive way. Is that worth all the work it takes to make social media work for the American wine industry? It makes sense but is not worth the effort unless it fixes everything for the industry. That is the trouble with this industry. They don’t believe in developing products and services. They believe if America makes it, the product ought to sell itself and if not, everyone has to join in their worries of being in trouble.

Social media will do some good. It may not save the American wine industry but at least will brings a new life into the poorly-developed structure of this industry. The efforts to expose the industry and products the markets using the new medium will result in further development of this industry. That is what is never done domestically. Research and development in US always gets the absolute lowest money compared to other industrialized countries percentage-wise. American industries want their products accepted as they are and bought with little resistance. They no longer can tell the consumers to buy them because of who owns the company, or that is made in America or that the consumes will get into trouble if they are not conforming by buying American. The consumer now has to think (because that is the new thing for the past few years and not because it is the right way) and come up with his/her choice. This does not mean the consumer knows anything and is qualified to decide but that the decision-making process has changed.

American wine industry cannot tell people what to buy. That is their problem. The economy is just one aspect of the situation. The competition is another. Those darn sommeliers and wine directors who refuse American wine at their restaurants are another. The real problem is the market does not belong to the American industry. The consumers want to go through a process of deciding what is their choice to buy. American industries do not like to make products and services that are extremely well-developed and compete well. That is the history of the American business after World War Two. They like to do what they do and the American market mindlessly buys their products.

Today, American wine industry has reached a low point and will climb lower unless they are willing to try new ways of doing things. None of these potential solutions are supposed to save the industry and enable it again to exist as a mindless huge entity. The industry at best will benefit a little from each experiment that really works and improves things a little. The important thing is the world will not change and the industry has to keep working at developing whatever it takes in products or marketing to make its products competitive. They really don’t like that and the big proclamation about social media will save wine industry or stick your head in the sand will not bring the good old days back either because it is not a real solution. The wine industry wants the good days back and nothing else matters as much. They can try and use social media as a serious experiment to help the industry but shouldn’t expect the whole world to turn around just because they used social media and want nothing but a single and perfect solution for their problems. Social media at best will help somewhat and that is all they should expect.

*This post belongs to this week’s edition of Wine by Cush Magazine blog and published early in World of Cush also.


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