How the World of Alto Adige Wine Reacted to the Coronavirus Crisis

The 180 Degree Turn in the Wine Sector

How the World of Alto Adige Wine Reacted to the Coronavirus Crisis

Spring 2020: all important tradeshows have been cancelled, as have all possibilities to get into direct contact with the public from the industry. As a result of which: a setback in sales figures. The need to reorganize: absolutely essential. What was necessary was a strategy, a change in direction, and courageous decisions. The Alto Adige wine industry decided to go in the direction of the end consumer and to get closer to wine connoisseurs. In order to solidify and, in the best case, increase brand recognition, the Consortium of Alto Adige Wine along with the leading figures in the sector decided to increasingly focus on social media communications and, in so doing, to more purposefully pick up B2B as well as B2C customers. Even if the main focus continues to lie on B2B customers, in 2020 the end consumers became more and more important for the sector. The figures prove that this rethinking paid off. 

All four social media channels on which the Consortium of Alto Adige Wine appears – namely Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn– recorded an increase in subscribers last year,  Adjustments such as the setting up of the LinkedIn profile made a positive contribution to the awareness of the brand. The communications concept is based upon a holistic approach according to which all of the channels are used with different content that is customized for the corresponding target groups.  

In the course of this, new formats were developed, such as storytelling in Instagram stories as well as new tools such as stickers and gifs.  

Here is an overview of the most important figures: 

  1. Facebook: As of March 9, 2021, Alto Adige Wine had reached 56,593 subscribers and continues to function as a valuable instrument of communications.  
  2. Instagram: This channel has recorded the greatest growth since the outbreak of the pandemic. During 2019, some 4,179 people were following the Instagram account of Alto Adige Wine, but that figure has already grown to 4,179 (as of March 9, 2021). This growth is also clear with the impressions, which within one year have grown from 2 million to nearly 6 million. And the engagement also shows an increase of 160% in comparison to the previous year. In addition, the followers are more much active than just one year before with their interactions in the form of likes, comments, and shares. 
  3. Twitter: This channel is used  primarily for B2B communications. While in 2019, there were 3,778 subscribers on Twitter, by March 9, 2021, that figure had risen to 4,933. 
  4. LinkedIn: In June 2020, only 33 people were among the subscribers to the LinkedIn channel of Alto Adige Wine. Today there are already 555 followers (as of March 9, 2021). The subjects that are shown here are primarily B2B topics which, in spite of the modest range and number of subscribers, has already generated nearly 40,000 impressions thus far. 

If the successes of all four channels are added up, which are composed of the organic impressions as well as the impressions from sponsored articles on our own channels, then the following can be determined: in 2020, the brand of Alto Adige Wine was viewed a total of approximately 16.5 million times on social platforms (6.5 million organic impressions and 10 million impressions from sponsored articles). 

The tools that have been introduced such as stickers and gifs serve on one hand for recognition, but above all else for involving Alto Adige’s winegrowers more in the communication of the brand and providing  them with greater visibility.  Many members have followed the communications strategy, and some of them have already been working longer at building up an active social media community. We spoke with some of our winegrowers about these developments. 

Christian Rottensteiner from the Obermoser Estate Winery in Bolzano reports that in 2020, even more focus was placed upon social media accounts. In addition to Instagram and Facebook, the estate winery also makes use of Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google Business News. Even though there had already been an investment in social media platforms before 2020, the Obermoser Estate Winery refined their communications concept even further in 2020. The main focus continues to lie with Instagram. Followers are to be picked up with “fast live” short videos with a musical setting. This family-run operation places especially great value upon the videos. Christian Rottensteiner is convinced, “Anyone who wishes to reach the under-45 age group has to try social media – first and foremost Instagram.” He views the channels more as an aid to image promotion and customer care, since actual sales support can be very difficult as a result of the restrictions with alcohol. The Consortium of Alto Adige Wine supports the Obermoser Estate Winery above all else through the sharing of content. In that way, a tightly interwoven network has been created which provides for greater reach. 

Wolfgang Klotz
of the Cantina Tramin likewise emphasizes the importance of social media communications during these difficult times. Even though the Cantina Tramin had already started its own Facebook profile back in 2010, the social media communications were only greatly expanded in the past few years. Within that context, it has been primarily Instagram as well as Twitter which have gained in importance for the winery. “In 2020, new formats were developed,” says Wolfgang Klotz. “Since there is currently no longer any possibility of getting directly into contact with the public from the industry, the change was made to alternatives.”  Pivoting right on the spot, the Cantina Tramin began to hold masterclass, presentations of vintages, and interviews with sommeliers and distributed information about them over social media. Klotz views a great opportunity in this for directly reaching refined end consumers. Previously, this was only possible at this magnitude through tastings or press events. The Consortium of Alto Adige Wine supports the members above all else through targeted training.  

One operation that has newly dived into social media communications is the Peter Zemmer Estate Winery in Cortina. As Marion Harpf reports to us, the channels of Facebook and Instagram were used regularly for the first time in 2020 with posts and stories – even though the estate winery has previously been active on social media. In 2020, a separate target group was set up for sponsored articles on Facebook. Tools such as “Creator” or “Business Suite” have now become part of Harpf’s daily activity. The employees of the estate winery have been purposefully trained on the subject of social media and have participated in continuing education that was organized by the Consortium of Alto Adige Wine. For the Zemmer Estate Winery, social media communications have in the meantime become extremely important for their increase in market presence and recognition.  

Social media platforms offer possibilities of remaining in contact with fans of Alto Adige wine and increasing brand recognition, even in difficult times. With the spread of the coronavirus, an important mouthpiece has developed since 2020 which the winegrowers of Alto Adige very much appreciate. And the Consortium of Alto Adige Wine will continue to focus on it.  
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