There are a lot of cool wine shops in LA: Wine House and WineExpo on the westside, Silverlake Wine and Wine Hotel toward the east are among my favorites.
But the place I feel most at home is at Jill Bernheimer’s DomaineLA, where the focus is on the natural-leaning and old-world style.
I visited Jill earlier this year and we had a long talk about her business and her brilliant (imho) social media marketing strategy.
Launching an aggressive, high-design online e-commerce platform in 2013, she said, was expensive and time-consuming. And the hoped-for online sales boom hasn’t materialized, she conceded.
But the ambitious project has paid off marvelously for her, she told me. Her information-heavy site, she explained, has helped to get her on the radar of leading wine writers in the U.S.
“The fact that writers can see what I’m doing and the style of wines I like,” she said, “has led to great coverage in the media.”
This year, for example, she was quoted in a high-profile article by Eric Asimov in the New York Times and she was featured in Food & Wine as a guest “sommelier.”
And that has led to increased business.
In my view of online wine marketing, Jill’s approach is a model and benchmark for wine retal anywhere.
Her investment in her site was risky, in terms of both cost and sweat equity. And it hasn’t delivered in the way she had expected.
But it has repositioned her brand and given her fantastic exposure in the national discourse in wine today.
And that, to me, is key: it’s not the direct correspondence of social media investment that drives sales but rather the indirect correlation of brand positioning that delivers the desired results.
By using social media, where she is very active, to express her brand’s ethos, she has connected with like-minded consumers across her market in a way that wouldn’t have been possible in the pre-social media era.
Jill is a super cool and very groovy lady — online and off — and I’m very proud to be pouring at her shop next week. I hope to see you there!
Details follow for my Bele Casel Prosecco Colfòndo tastings in Southern California next week, including my Tuesday evening tasting with Jill at DomaineLA. If you happen to be in that part of the world, please come out and taste with me!