Written by Chris van Ulmenstein and posted to her blog www.whalecottage.com/blog/
Mike Ratcliffe is probably the most experienced social media marketing wine marketer, and impressed with the different tools he referred to and uses: Blogging, Twitter, FourSquare, Twideo, Google Maps Latitude, and Nice to Meet You. He has opted out of Facebook, due to the lack of control. He writes a Vilafonte and a Warwick blog, being the Managing Partner of the former brand, and the Managing Director of the latter brand. Vilafonte grapes are grown near Sante Wellness, between Paarl and Franschhoek, and the wines are made in a state-of-the-art venue at Bosman’s Crossing in Stellenbosch, while the Warwick wines are made the traditional way by Mike’s mother Norma on their farm. Her 25th vintage celebration will take the Warwick wines around the world with 40 dinners, at which 10 vintages of their wines will be tasted. Mike is an irregular blogger, as he travels a lot, and finds he has more time to blog when he travels. He “leans to controversy” in what he writes, he says, yet he will not pick a fight, and will step back in a fight. He complimented www.wines.co.za for their platform on which he is encouraged to write, creating huge exposure to their 40000 unique readers per month.
Mike advised bloggers to be responsible in their blogging, as one influences views. One must check one’s information sources, and not use a blog as a platform for retaliation. If one disappoints one’s readers, they will no longer follow the blogger. A blog is successful when one is passionate about one’s topic, and about writing. Twitter is on a growth trend, he feels, and positional tweeting (crowdsourcing) will be introduced soon. Mike uses traditional marketing communication media too, such as advertising and PR, and the 2000 members of the Warwick Wine Club are an important testing and tasting ground for new wines developed. He claims that his marketing is spontaneous and dynamic, but one gets the impression that Mike Ratcliffe knows exactly what he is doing in marketing his brands, and is acknowledged by his peers in this respect. He was praised by a fellow blogger as a professional.
The next Food and Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting is on Wednesday 18 August, and will “pair” Sam Wilson of Food24 Blogs, and Rob Armstrong of Haut Espoir in Franschhoek. Bookings can be made by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org