After making wine in his basement for many years, Chuck Nunan planted his first vines in 2011. His Harvest Ridge Winery was only the fourth winery in Delaware when he and his wife, Chris, opened for business with their sons in 2013. Located on the Delmarva Peninsula, their farm spans the Delaware-Maryland border as well as the historic Mason-Dixon Line. “We are not in a region that people typically associate with winemaking,” says Sofia Horvath, Social Media Manager. But they are certainly making their mark.
“People like wine, and they like talking about wine online.”
Sofia Horvath, Social Media Manager
The winery relies on the Internet to communicate, build the brand, and sell wines online. “I live and die by Google Calendar, to see what’s going on,” says Sofia, who works remotely from Minnesota. Gmail keeps everyone in touch. Google Analytics gives them insights into how people are finding and interacting with their site, which helps them keep the website relevant and user-friendly. Google+ is an important part of their aggressive social media strategy, which reaches some 15,000 people, and the winery has their own YouTube channel as well. Harvest Ridge also uses AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to connect with customers searching for wines. When they hold their special events each year to benefit local charities, they turn to AdWords to geographically target potential guests.
Harvest Ridge Winery has 20 varieties of wine sold online.
Harvest Ridge Winery has a noticeable impact in their rural community. “We have reached a lot of the locals, who are really excited that we’re there,” says Chuck. “It is something new and different for them.” The business now has ten full-time employees plus 20 to 30 part-time workers. They have launched a sister brand to make hard cider, which they expect to market and distribute nationally. Overall, about 75% of the marketing budget goes to online activities. “We have found that you get more bang for the buck online,” Chuck says. “We really think that we can get out beyond just Delaware and the East Coast. That’s where we’re going.”
For more information on the Harvest Ridge Winery case study, visit http://economicimpact.google.com.
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