A tiny act of courage and the de-bunking of mystique

by Laura Gray on February 18, 2010

The rolls of labels for 2005 and 2004 Riserva arrived today, in the nick of time for Benvenuto Brunello, the four day trade and press launch of these vintages which starts on Friday.

Those familiar enough with our label, should they scrutinise the small print, might notice two additions…. our website and twitter id are there for all to see.

Originally it seemed like a logical evolution of our “communications strategy” (er, that’s me chewing a pencil down in the office). We have a new website. I’m on twitter. I check. I post. Why not tell people?  Search engines find us but the combination of palazzone being a noun (a big palace), the common loss/addition of  zeds or the other 4 Palazzone wineries cluttering Tuscany and Umbria make it a hazardous journey. We also have a Facebook fanpage (www.facebook.com/ilpalazzone) but I thought that in a Bottle On The Table In A Restaurant scenario, twitter is more likely to be immediately useful.

Shall we, shan’t we… will we, won’t we… I researched and pondered and spent many an hour trying to find the most elegant twitter bird. Including websites is pretty commonplace these days but there are a lot of opinions out there about putting twitter ID on high end wines, particularly those destined to age like Brunello. And generally the agreed place is the back label. We only use importer specific backlabels in Canada and America so it was front label or nothing.

And then I started worrying about that bird: what if twitter is superseded by another version of itself? Will it destroy the romance of our traditional label? Worse still, will it be considered inappropriate/tawdry for a wine of Brunello’s calibre/price point? In a good scenario will it create an avalanche of contacts that stops my children having their dinner on time? Is our production too small to merit the effort of investing in a social media presence? Am I fuelled by ego combined with the frustration of ploughing through the internet day after day and never finding a reference to our tiny reality (which of course is Our Whole Existence for me and my family)? Lonely?

Il Palazzone is a tiny niche producer – we made exactly 3916 bottles of 2004 Riserva and 11536 bottles of 2005. My husband and I live on site and manage the property with the assistance of two great workers, Florin and Jalil. And that’s it. Hardly worth the agony for these kinds of numbers. But the bottom line is I would like to make it easier for people to connect with the estate. This is a real farm run by real people. What’s the point in playing hard to get? Apparently the whole point about social media is interaction. How can I listen if I make myself ex-directory? And all that mystery and allure – surely that’s something that starts as soon as the wine starts swirling in the glass and the first layers of aroma begin to emerge?

So I checked with the owner, made sure Marco knew what twitter was, threw caution to the wind and confirmed the new graphics.

And we are excited to see what will happen next.

It goes without saying that I am readying myself for the anticlimax of Absolutely Nothing.

NB. What’s in our bottles, the result of five years’ work, is infinitely more important than the label, there’s no doubt about that. I will be posting about 2005 and 2004 Riserva very soon.

2005 labels

The split in opinions is evident in the title and comments of Seattle Wine Gal’s great January post:

http://barbaraevans.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/social-media-strategy-or-tacky-putting-twitterfacebook-info-on-wine-labels/

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