The "World's First Twitter-Enabled Tasting Booth" was the headliner news from Noble Hill Wine Estate, a boutique vineyard and winery tucked between Kanonkop and Paarl Mountain in South Africa.
The winery proudly annouced that it was "ceding control of its brand to the public".
Alerted to this innovation by South African Wine News (http://www.wine.co.za/news/ ), we were interested in what can be done with the basic 140 characters in a Tweet, and this was it: Noble Hill Wine Estate launches the world's first Twitter-enabled tasting booth, ceding control of brand to the public.
The press release made some important points:
"If the 140 character blurb above seems like a foreign language, it's because it is written for the micro-blogging service Twitter which has gained a worldwide following including the likes of Oprah, Richard Branson, and Barack Obama to name a few. Twitter is used by celebrities and the proletariat alike to post short bursts about daily life, links and comments.
However Twitter took on a new role connecting the wine-loving public with a boutique South African producer at the WineX Festival in Cape Town, held from September 9 to 11.
The idea is simple: instead of using its booth to indoctrinate the public with pre-formed ideas about its wines, Noble Hill Wine Estate is ceding control of it's marketing message to wine-savvy festival-goers. Talkative sales reps will be replaced by a Twitter-enabled tasting booth that will let tasters post their comments, thoughts, and reactions directly to Twitter or via their smart phones. Tweets@noblehill or containing #winex keywords will be displayed real-time in large-format for all to see.
"Most luxury brands exercise draconian control over their message in order to sell their products. We're turning this idea on its head because, let's face it, wine drinkers are an educated and opinionated crowd and can already turn to forums like Spit or Swallow and other blogs to broadcast their experiences," said Director K. Austin Tillery. "Instead of ignoring this elephant in the room, we are embracing public opinion and letting it shape the direction and tone of our brand. We're not editing what people have to say; we're giving visitors a platform to share."
Prizes were awarded for the best Tweet of the Day each evening.
Useful Links:Noble Hill's Twitter stream - www.twitter.com/noblehill
The official Noble Hill web site - http://www.noblehill.com/
Rate and review South African wine farms - http://www.spitorswallow.co.za/
WineX Rand Merchant Bank Wine Festival official site - http://www.winex.co.za/
Noble Hill is a single-vineyard estate produces premium red and white wines sold in select restaurants and bottle stores in South Africa and abroad. Noble Hill has garnered international acclaim, including being recognized for producing the Best Merlot in the Paarl District by South African Terroir and winning Michelangelo International Gold and Silver Medals for its Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
All information courtesy of press release from Noble Hill.