Sydney -based bloggers The Wine Wankers started their WordPress site thewinewankers.com.au no sooner than July 2013, but have become since a firm favorite in the worldwide online wine landscape, and on social media in particular.
In February 2015, they made it among the very first positions of our February 2015 Top 20 Wine Influencers thanks to hundreds of thousands of wine lovers following and enjoying the wine world they’re sharing on various platforms.
While it is obvious to everyone following their publications that they carry a message of passion for wine, and of fun sharing it, relatively little is known on how they’ve achieve to reach such a large audience, and broadcast their love for the product to the world, all from Australia.
The definition of a ‘wine wanker’ according to urbandictionary.com is as “somebody who drinks wine pretentiously in the company of others to show off their knowledge and try to make other people feel inferior.”
It takes as little as reading one of the Wine Wankers’ first posts to understand the real origin (and humorous self-derision) of their name.
So I’ve asked Conrad, Drew and Neal to tell us more about how they approach and manage their social media presence, and to give us their own perspective to this success.
Q: You are ranked within the Top 10 worldwide wine influencers on Social Media, what does that mean to you?
A: This is both crazy and exciting. I mean, we’re ranked right up there with our wine idols like Jancis Robinson! The truth is we never planned to be here, it just happened. We literally came up with the idea to blog about wine one day and created the blog the following. It was all just a bit of fun and a laugh, as our namesake makes clear. Even our name wasn’t planned; it was simply “Ok, let’s create a wine blog. Well what will we call ourselves? Umm, our families call us ‘wine wankers’ so The Wine Wankers it is then”.
And how does all this relate to social media? Well without social media we wouldn’t exist. We just could not possibly fit into the mainstream established wine communication industry. Conrad and Neal don’t come from wine industry backgrounds, they are just passionate wine lovers with stories to tell and fun times to share so they could never have just walked into a wine writing job. Drew does have extensive wine writing experience but his style has always been a little tangent to the mainstream so he has found his home in The Wine Wankers social media world.
Social media is our game. It’s where we have been able to express ourselves as passionate wine lovers. Without it we wouldn’t be here. So, in essence, being one of the top wine influencers on social media means that we are at the top of our game and the work we do is appreciated.
Q: How do you generally define the Wine Wankers website and your various channels’ editorial? What is the main message you are trying to carry across to your audience?
A: Our blog is our ancestral home so it holds a special place within The Wine Wankers social media world but it is now just one part of a much larger entity. We were blessed in that our blog gained quite a following before we even moved out onto other social media. Actually, it was other bloggers that encouraged us to make the move. We didn’t care too much for it all at first to be honest, the blog already took up a lot of our spare time.
Our style has always been laconic and a little self-deprecating. We wouldn’t call ourselves The Wine Wankers if this wasn’t the case. But our name is also ironic because our style, and I suppose our success, has been due to the fact that we only ever talk about the fun we have with wine and we never get into too much detail. It’s always been about having a party. The editorial direction is likened to hanging out with your mates around the water cooler. Scrap that – it’s more like Friday night drinks with your workmates/girlfriends, talking shit! Too some serious proper “wine wankers” we may seem a little light and maybe even inane at times but to the vast majority of wine drinkers this is all they really care about, ie, “Is the wine nice and will I have fun drinking it”. Our Twitter tagline “Proudly the pop music of wine” attests to this.
So our style and our message have been totally suited to social media. We’re just having fun with wine and we’d love everyone else to join in with us… it’s a party!
Q: Your website has grown in influence since its launch in July 2013 to become very important now for the online wine community. What has been the role of the various social media platforms for you?
A: We split the responsibility for managing our various social media platforms between the three of us. If we didn’t we just couldn’t manage. What this means is that even though we have a same underlying message of “fun with wine” our various social media have different personalities and different content.
Twitter is just nuts but a hell of a lot of fun. It’s a lot about the wine banter but it’s also about increasing peoples wine knowledge in a fun way and about allowing other people to share their wine experiences. We love sharing the tweets of other wine lovers but it can be hectic at times and only the brave dare follow and join in with us.
Instagram shows more of our serious side. We do throw a bit of fun in there for balance and to keep us on track but it’s predominantly our own images of the wine or experiences we have enjoyed. It’s where we get to show the world what we personally enjoy most about wine.
On Facebook we proudly have a massive female following; it’s 63% of our audience, compared to an average of 46% for all of Facebook. So it’s girl power all the way, and that often reflects in the kind of stuff we post there. It’s a lot more topical than our other mediums and we encourage discussion and interaction and this has created a very engaged following.
Q: Does social media influence your editorial and how ? Do you to cover certain topics specifically for certain channels ?
A: Well social media doesn’t influence our editorial style, it’s actually all been the perfect outlet for what we are about, but it influences our editorial content continually and at every moment. We are so much about sharing so social media gives us a never ending stream of wine related material to share. As I’ve mentioned, each of our social media has its own character so some material may only be presented on particular media. Often this really does only come down to who shared the material with us and where, along with which Wine Wanker came across it.
Q: How does your online and social media influence translate into the ‘real world’?
A: It’s funny, despite our wonderful international following, we’re still relatively unknown by many people in the Australian wine industry. This may have something to do with the fact that about 45% of our 175K twitter followers are actually from the USA – and only 10% or so are Australian!
For example, we’ve only recently been discovered by the digital guys who run Wine Australia and Tourism Australia, the government bodies that promote Australia globally. They are excited to be working with us on a few upcoming projects – although they do have some reservations about our name! But I think that’s what sets us apart! We’re not everyone’s cup of tea (or glass of Shiraz!). Our contentious name and what we do are the reasons why we are on your list so we must be doing something right.
We know it will take some time for the ‘industry’ to come to grips with who we are and what we have become. While we are unconventional, our passion for wine is just as strong and relevant as the famous mainstream wine writers, but just a little different. If we weren’t who we are we wouldn’t be up the top of your list. 😉
That said, times are a changing for us. We are receiving quite a few invitations to wine events and we have some exciting projects on the boil that will see The Wine Wankers venturing into new areas, outside of social media. Watch this space.
A: We all have full time jobs and none of us work in the wine industry – so you actually need three people to run an entity like The Wine Wankers. I don’t know how one person could actually do it and still have a passion for wine – because each channel needs its own voice with different content for it to succeed. Simply reposting exactly the same content will not cut it. We want to give people a reason to follow each channel.
Q: And lastly, how do you see your influence over the wine community evolve within the next 5 years?
A: Whatever we do, it will always have the same essence – enjoy wine, and don’t take it too seriously. If we can continue doing that, I know we’ll be very happy. If more people who share this vision join in on the party then that’s a bonus. In the end, we just want everyone to experience the joy of wine and we are happy to be just another medium for that to occur.
Find out more about The Wine Wankers on their website thewinewankers.com.au
As a bonus, you will feel you know more about these top bloggers after you’ve watched their latest video where they taste 20 of Australia’s premium cask wines in a typical Aussie fashion: