Wine tasters all a-Twitter over Naramata wines

Alison Markin aims to spread the word about Twitter and how it, along with other forms of social media, can be used to promote cultural activities and businesses in the South Okanagan.

Please raise your hand if you don’t know what a tweet is.

Alison Markin aims to spread the word about Twitter and how it, along with other forms of social media, can be used to promote cultural activities and businesses in the South Okanagan.

She’s kicking off her Eat.Drink.Tweet conference on the subject tonight with an event highlighting 18 wines from Naramata Bench wineries and using Twitter to allow everyone interested to join in the wine-tasting event.

A tweet, by the way, is a 140 word message sent out over the internet via a service called Twitter.

“Ideally, what you have happening is that everyone who is at the event tastes and tweets about their favourite wines or what they are experiencing,” said Markin. “People who can’t make it to the event follow along on Twitter from wherever they are and hopefully have a bottle of wine in front of them and can join in the conversation.”

Eat.Drink.Tweet. begins tonight with an evening keynote presentation from Rick Bakas, the world’s first winery social media director, who has already done world-wide wine tastings on Twitter.

Bakas will declare that it is Merlot day on Twitter, or Chardonnay day. Then people around the world grab their favourite bottle and tweets what they are drinking, what winery and what part of the world they are from, creating a whole conversation online about a specific varietal.

“When he did that he had thousands and thousands of tweets and people talking about Cabernet,” said Markin, adding that the purpose of doing a live tasting like that is to generate some chatter online, get people interested. Hopefully people following, she said, will notice there is a lot of chatter about the Naramata Bench.

“The goal is really to get them to come here to the South Okanagan, getting them to learn about our region and this is just one way to do it,” said Markin.

The three-day conference will be hosted at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College over the weekend, with seminars all day Saturday and a panel discussion on Sunday.

“Eat.Drink.Tweet. combines education, food and wine, an ideal professional development event as the Okanagan becomes a culinary destination,” said Donna Lomas, regional dean for the South Okanagan.

Markin said the conference will bring stakeholders in the cultural tourism industry together to learn about social media and the different tools that are out there and then start implementing them.

“Again, using those tools to bring people from outside of the Okanagan here,” she said. “They will see a lot of buzz online and they will think this is a place they really want to come visit.”

“Naramata Bench Wineries have always had an appetite to present their wines in fun and accessible ways to everyone who appreciates fine wine,” said Tina Baird, Marketing director for the Naramata Bench Wineries Association. “We are looking forward to a real time online tasting that our fans everywhere can take part in, plus introduce new people across North America to the Naramata Bench.”

For more information and to register, visit www.allshewrote.ca/eatdrinktweet, or call Okanagan College at 1-866-510-8899.