Early Bird Ends
January 31, 2024
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June 20, 2024
Five years ago I created “Wine with Paige”. At the time, I was working on my WSET 3 and regularly visiting wineries around the Bay Area. I was based in San Mateo back then with a corporate job, but I wanted to share my weekend wine adventures, and what I was learning in my courses, and shift my love of photography into the wine industry. From there, things quickly gained momentum.
In 2020, I left my corporate job to pursue wine photography, writing, and social media full-time. It’s been such a fun and rewarding experience to be able to help make wine and wine country feel more accessible – I love sharing the stories of the incredible winemakers and regions I visit.
Now “Wine with Paige” has a full spectrum of platforms – Instagram, TikTok, my website, Pinterest, and my newsletter, which cumulatively reaches over 250,000 wine lovers each month.
In addition to engaging my own audience, I also do photography for wineries and manage a few clients’ social media accounts.
There are so many important stories happening within the wine industry – I love being able to help create content to spread those messages.
When I’m preparing for a wine tasting, I like to learn all the background information I can – I love to get nerdy with it! I look into the winery’s stories as well as the region(s) where the grapes grow. I want to know it all!
If I’m tasting at home for the purpose of reviewing wine, I’m super picky about glassware. It’s so important to me – it needs to be thin-lipped and well-balanced. I also try to taste in a relaxing environment that allows me to really focus on what’s in the glass and get in the right headspace.
I like to review the wine both professionally as well as from a consumer standpoint – how can I envision my audience enjoying the wine? With Netflix? With food? Who’s going to enjoy the wine? A collector? Or someone just looking for something good to sip? Is it a porch pounder? Or something to covet? How can we make this wine fit into a consumer’s life? How can I tell its story? These are all things I think about in addition to the traditional ratings and tasting notes.
I find that many people overthink wine tasting – if you’re just doing it as a consumer, it’s meant to be fun! We all have our own “aroma dictionaries” and past experiences we’re bringing to the table. What I might call “blueberry and dark fruit” notes in wine might remind you of blackberry marmalade on toast at your grandmother’s house. Bring up those experiences, have fun with it, and let yourself free-associate! There are no wrong answers in tasting notes.
Virtual tasting opened so many doors during the pandemic – It was a great opportunity for people who might not be able to get to a region in real life to be able to have front-row access to winemakers and regional experiences. Now, however, the world is open back up and I feel like virtual attention spans are shorter than ever before. If you’re doing a virtual tasting, you need to keep things fun, engaging, and interactive. Make sure people have the opportunity to participate and encourage them to do so with fun games, contests, or unique elements like cooking together.
I’m so grateful for my WSET education and I plan to continue pursuing it with dipWSET later next year. Not only does it give me credibility with what I do, but it also has provided a springboard to provide my audience with a depth and breadth of knowledge about wine. I have a deeper understanding of what’s happening in the glass and can ask winemakers and vintners better questions to convey their stories.
If you’re about to start the WSET at any level, my number one piece of advice is to remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint! Actively learn and memorize as you go, versus trying to cram all at the end. There’s a lot of information covered!
My whole job is social media! Photos and videos are such powerful tools to create connections with people and share our stories. I love that social media has given us all a way to have a voice and find our aligned group of people.
Specifically, I do several things with social media: I have my own account, Wine with Paige, where I share about wine, the wine lifestyle, and adventures on Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest. I also manage social media for several wineries and utilize my photography and video skills to create content for their accounts.
I think social media is a powerful way to connect with people all over the world.
Join a community of wine lovers who share a love of wine, a thirst for stories, and a passion for meaningful connections.
The biggest piece of advice is to be yourself! What sets you or your winery apart from others – what is your unique story? Never, ever stop telling your own story. It might feel repetitive to you, but people forget, they have their own things going on, and it’s not going to feel repetitive to them. Your story is your magic. It’s what sets you apart and is going to pull in people who are aligned with you.
Everything else stems from that – be open, honest, and engaging, and invite your audience into the conversation. Don’t just talk AT them, talk WITH them. Ask them what they’re drinking, what their biggest questions or concerns are, and where their upcoming trips are taking them. Then use that information to serve their interests.
And last, but certainly not least, every piece of content should be super focused on serving your audience. It should entertain, educate, or inspire.
If you’re curious to chat more, I’d love to hear from you! I offer wineries and other wine businesses Instagram feedback/strategy sessions. You can get more details on my website here.
Starting my dipWSET is on the table for sure! I’m really excited about that next chapter. I also am continuously trying to expand my offerings to better serve my audience and help wineries and consumers connect. You can learn more about my offerings here.
I find social media is a great place to learn about wine trends and I’m constantly poking around at what my audience is drinking. For industry news, I love Drink Business. I also read lots of wine magazines like Decanter and Wine Enthusiast, as well as staying on top of new book releases. I’m especially excited about Natalie MacLean’s newest book coming out soon!
Right now Wine with Paige is a three-person team – myself and two part-time assistants. I handle the major stuff, such as strategy, Instagram, photography, videos, logistics, planning, and marketing. There’s also a big social side of it that I love – such as attending events, exploring new wineries and regions, and traveling – things where I can connect with other wine lovers and winemakers.
Then, I have my virtual assistants who handle a lot of the admin stuff for me – Haley helps me create great Charcuterie roundups on my website and manages my TikTok community, while Allie manages Pinterest and writes some incredible articles for my blog. They’re so helpful in taking things off my plate so I can focus on the parts of the business that I love!
Written by Rasika Mahajan, Beverage Trade Network