Monday, February 8, 2010

'I Taste Therefore I Tweet': Fresh & Easy Set to Hold 'Twitter (Wine) Tasting' Tomorrow Night

Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has teamed up with the online wine tasting community Taste Live, and is holding a virtual wine tasting event tomorrow evening (February 9, 2010) from 7:00 pm -to- 8: 00 pm (Pacific Standard Time).

Fresh & Easy is calling the virtual wine tasting a "Twitter Tasting" because the event will focus on tasters' tweeting their evaluations of the three wines being tasted on the social media site

Tasters will be sampling three of Fresh & Easy's proprietary wines during the one hour virtual and social media wine tasting tomorrow night.

The three wines are: Montcadi Cava Rose from Spain, which sells for under $6; Boro Hills Sauvignon Blanc (from New Zealand), which sells at Fresh & Easy for about $11; and Matuco Malbec 2007 (Argentina), which retails for under $10.

Tasters can buy one, two or all three of the wines at a local Fresh & Easy market for the tasting. Here's a brief description of each of the wine varieties.

Taste Live often holds these virtual wine tastings in partnership with various wineries like Kunde Family Wines and others.

Here's how the virtual "Twitter Tasting" works:

>Those interested in participating first need to register at Taste Live using their Twitter or Facebook account, or by creating an account at the Web site here.

>Once registered, event participants then need to RSVP their intended participation to Tesco's Fresh & Easy here.

>Tasters then buy one or more of the three wines being tasted during the one hour "Twitter Tasting" at a Fresh & Easy store.

Karen Fletcher, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's category manager for wine, is hosting the "Twitter Tasting" tomorrow night, according to Fresh & Easy.

During the one hour event Fresh & Easy will be tweeting at its @fresh_and_easy account on

The grocer's social media team has created a Twitter hashtag - #FandEWine - which it wants tweeter-wine tasters to use after each of their tweets in order to be able to track the one hour "Twitter Tasting."

Such hashtags used on Twitter allow for users to search particular topics on the site by entering the hashtag into its search function.

Fresh & Easy wine merchandising & marketing

First, Fresh & Easy Buzz likes the concept of the "Twitter Tasting." We give Tesco Fresh & Easy's marketing team, particularly its social media folks, a thumbs up for giving it a try.

The reason we like it is because it's different, is a bit out of the box, and fits in well with the much improved job (since about mid-2009) the grocer's social media team has been doing using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

We also like it because although it's virtual, it's also participatory - it brings tweeters and others together in a form of community around a common event - wine tasting.

Such uses of social media can over time build up a strong core of Fresh & Easy wine shoppers-consumers if done well.

It's using social media for marketing purposes but the event emphasises the "social" over the "marketing" aspect because of the focus on the wine tasting. Participants can be as critical as they want about the wines in their tweets, which means Fresh & Easy can't control the marketing message, like a retailer can do with paid advertising and the like.

One of Tesco's goals with Fresh & Easy is to build the Fresh & Easy retail brand in part through making its proprietary wines and wine merchandising program "famous." In fact, this is one of the charges the grocer gave to the marketing-oriented public relations firms it interviewed in March-April 2008.

Additionally, the fantastic success of wine sales at Trader Joe's hasn't been something lost on Tesco. It's no accident Fresh & Easy's wine and beer program looks very similar to Trader Joe's in terms of product selection, merchandising and marketing.

Fresh & Easy's wine program or wines aren't famous yet. But creative marketing programs like the "Twitter Tasting," combined with good product selection and merchandising, can go a long way in brand building, in our analysis.

Of course, key to tomorrow night's "Twitter (wine) Tasting" being a success is the fact that it has participants. The more tweets the better. Also, the more critical - not just pro the wines tasted - tweets during the tasting the more interesting it will be.

After all, when it comes to criticism (and even a bit of whining), some of the best involves wines.

[Readers: Click here for a selection of past stories from Fresh & Easy Buzz on Tesco Fresh & Easy's wine program, wine category merchandsing, and related topics and issues.]


Anonymous said...

Fresh & Easy (or at least their PR people) have always been very friendly to me, despite the fact that my reviews of their wine are far from universally positive (Fresh & Easy Wine Reviews). I agree that it will be very interesting to see what comes out of the Twitter tasting.

Didn't know that their proprietary wine brands were so central to PR strategy. Thanks for the inside scoop!

JWE said...

I'm a regular at the famous Manhattan Beach Fresh & Easy, which is literally steps away from a Trader Joe's, so it's very easy to compare the two stores.

I agree that F&E's wine program is very similar to TJ's. I've tried a few F&E wines (as well as TJ's) and have been satisfied with F&E's offering.

One thing I REALLY like about F&E' wine displays is the fact that they offer CHILLED wine. Sounds like a small thing, but I often purchase wine with the intent of drinking it immediately. I'm a white wine fan, so having it chilled from the store makes it easier to enjoy right away. Again, sounds small, but makes a HUGE difference for me.

OakMonster said...

I had a great time doing the twitter tasting. Although we were late to the party and our review was far from knowledgeable, we had a great time. Then again, when you put 4 girls in front of 3 bottles of wine, nothing can possibly go wrong! ;-)

Here's my recap/review of the event: