Pairing Wine with Stories: Steps for Pulling In Your Audience

What is it about stories and wine that go together so well? You could have 10 different people around the tasting room bar and you start pouring the wine and, like magic, the stories just come.

It’s what wine lovers do. They like to tell stories. They like to hear them. They like to enjoy and savor life and connect with each other, over a more elegant, grown-up version of a campfire.

We’ve got enough stories about the winery and it’s owners to fill a book. We’ve got stories about the winemaker, the folks that tend the vines, the funny office stories, the hilarious and bizarre tasting room stories. We’ve got stories about crazy entrepreneur farmers buying land just because they had an inkling that growing grapes might be a good thing. I’d sure like to hear the story about THAT decision making process! Wouldn’t you?

Did his wife think he was nuts? Did she hock everything to get a few parcels? What other options were they considering? What profession did he turn his back on? Did she jump in with two feet? What was that like? What did his parents think about his crazy, hair-brained scheme? Did she grow up amongst the vines? What was that like?

But instead we lead with sentences like “With a passion for excellence and for crafting wines of quality and structure, his winemaking coincides with the philosophy and vision of XYZ winery.” Blahdy, blahdy, blah.

Forgive me if I seem insensitive. I know how much work went into writing that history of the winery and it’s owner. And I’m still open to hearing all that information, but first pull me in with a story. Lead with the moments of emotion, worry, doubt, craziness, silliness, ANYTHING that I can relate to and enjoy.

Steps for Getting Great Stories
1) Trash the existing brochure copy
2) Clear an hour to sit down with the owner and share a bottle of wine
3) Listen
4) Ask lots of questions
5) Laugh a lot
6) Be real and get to the know the person
7) Ask questions like, “What was that like?” “What were you thinking in that moment?” “What did your family think about that?” “Was that an emotional moment for you?” “How so?”
8)  Pick one story that has the most emotional intensity
9) Lead with it
10) Fill in the remaining history or message after you’ve pulled your audience in
11) Bring it full circle and touch on some component of your story at the end of the message

Tell ALL those stories everywhere, in the tasting room, on the website, and especially in VIDEOS because you get to see the expression on the face and hear it told directly from the winemaker or owner. That’s priceless.

People want to hear these goodies. And they want to retell those same goodies the next time they open up a bottle of your wine with their friends. If you want your audience to become advocates of your brand, arm them with a really juicy story.