I first remember seeing Eric’s application video for the MGWCLC gig and thinking: Oh my. His was one of my favorites… actually, a select few really stood out with their humor and sense of how to convey/sell themselves: Eric’s was one of these.
Naturally this sparked an interest in “who is this guy” and I found myself cruising his main blog, Bricks of Wine. It was not until Vintank introduced their juicy offer: $100K for Successful Murphy Goode Candidate where I actually noticed that Eric had found his way over to my blog… he defended the offer of Paul Mabray and his fellow VinTankers and went on to apply for the possible support from them. VinTank accepted Eric, writing up the following in endorsement of this creative and versatile man:
Born in Hong Kong and arriving in the U.S. when just 4 years old, Eric has lived his life embracing change. He has reinvented himself in his career several times to stay at the forefront of technology. While majoring in urban planning and design at the University of Cincinnati, he turned his facination with computer programming into his first job in that field. From network engineer to commercial photographer to user experience designer, Eric’s love of learning has allowed him to make these transitions successfully. [Source: VinTank Supporting a Goode Candidate]
And sure enough, Eric was amongst the top ten for Murphy Goode… but as we all know, Hardy was the chap to get the job. So, what happened to Eric?
Turns out he has been working his social media magic within the wine industry. He was “picked up” by Vintage Wine Estates and has been blazing a trail ever since. I especially find this a winning combination: The strong team built up to manage the corporate blog Carpe Vino with passion and dedication, for this was one of my key questions during the Murphy Goode campaign — what are you going to leave behind? It is exactly this dedication to the brand, building it up so that one day you may be obsolete which actually strengthens your position for you become indispensable in the process… and I think Eric is right on track with his strategy.
Here is an excerpt of what Eric wrote when I asked him where the MG application process has led him:
My life has changed dramatically in the past 6 months. The first time that I showed my wife the MG thing back in April of last year, she said that I could easily do that job and encouraged me to create a video and apply. You and most people know about the next couple of months with the final 50 and then the final 10, but few people realize that although Hardy got the MG gig, some of us got some pretty sweet deals too–permanent jobs with equally good pay, albeit without the cool house in Healdsburg.
The notoriety from being in the MG Top 10, made a few people in the wine industry stand up and take notice. One of those people was Pat Roney of Vintage Wine Estates. Google his name and you’ll find lots of info about Pat. He’s a man who knows trends that help his business and he saw that Social Media was the future.
Pat contacted me within days of the announcement of the winner of the MG gig. I was already back in Seattle but getting ready to return to the Sonoma area for the WBC 09 and agreed to talk with him that Sunday in Windsor, CA after the conference. After months of interviews and negotiations, I accepted the job from Pat at Vintage Wine Estates as the Social Marketing Director for their brands. Those brands include Girard Winery in Napa, Sonoma Coast Vineyards, Windsor Sonoma Winery, Windsor Vineyards, Grove Street Winery, Fire Station Red and International Wine Accessories. In all, they produce nearly 200,000 cases of wine each year.
I moved down from Seattle and started work at the end of September and I have to say that working with multiple brands has many challenges but also many opportunities. Hardy’s new gig involves Michel Schlumberger and the NPA–2 brands. Rick Bakas represents St. Supery–one brand. I’m representing 7 brands. Seven different brands including a wine accessories brand means I have lots of things I can promote and a wide variety of topics I can blog and vlog about. It also means I can do things that other wineries can’t do, such as have contests and award non-wine prizes–the benefit of having a wine accessories company as one of the brands I represent.
Eric shares some insights on how Social Media can improve the bottom line: Content is King he says so he has taken this to heart, constantly and consistently offering fresh, relevant and qualitative information. Not only that, he has connected with people he has met via social media personally… which is way cool and an aspect I totally missed out on for my dealings with Wine and Social Media. At any rate, the bottom line for Eric has improved pretty much across the board, from 30% increase in twitter followers to some specific wine and accessories sales up to 1000% and a few neat stats in between. Eric shows me that paring wine with social media, a drive for excellence and a hunger to get to know the person behind the gravatar is a winning combination. And this is what I call Wine Social Media Magic. Cheers and all the best, Eric!
People can follow Eric on twitter or read his blogs at:
Social Marketing Director, Vintage Wine Estates
Direct: 707-921-2882, iPhone: 206-369-1696
Exceptional wines from Napa, Sonoma and the best California appellations.