SOURCE: Italian Trade Commission

Italian Trade Commission

February 11, 2010 12:08 ET

The Italian Trade Commission "VIRTUAL VINO 2010" Experience at VINO 2010 Italian Wine Week Feb 2-5th

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 11, 2010) -  The Italian Trade Commission's VINO 2010 -- Italian Wine Week February 2-5, 2010 -- marked the largest Italian wine trade show held outside of Italy, uniting over 400 Italian wineries with over 2,800 American importers, distributors, buyers, retailers and press over the course of the convention.

For VINO 2010, The Italian Trade Commission introduced VIRTUAL VINO, a dedicated program for wine bloggers and influential social media specialists, aimed at opening dialogue with online wine enthusiasts both nationally and internationally. Leading the conversation for the ITC, VINO 2010 Official Blogger James Rodewald (former Drinks Editor of Gourmet magazine) contributed to the VINO 2010 Blog (http://vino2010.italianmade.com/blog), posing questions and posting reactions to his experience at the conference.

A group of influential invited bloggers participated in seminars, tastings & dinners, and were among the first to taste nearly 500 newly-imported wines under the Meet & Greet VINO2010 DIRECT program, about which they actively Tweeted and shared with readers of their blogs. The keystone event of the blogger program, the seminar "Virtual Vino: Millennials & Social Media Decanted," fostered a dialogue about the future of wine education and journalism with veteran wine blogger Alder Yarrow (Vinography.com), journalist & publisher Anthony Dias Blue (The Tasting Panel), Doug Cook (Director of Search, Twitter), marketing specialist Steve Raye (Brand Action Team), Italian winemaker Susanna Crociani, and publicist Susannah Gold. A video-feed streamed live on the event website attracted hundreds of viewers nationwide, Tweeting questions to panel members, moderator Dias Blue, and Rodewald. Hundreds have since visited the VINO 2010 blog to watch the seminar in its entirety.

"Virtual Vino" panelist Susanna Crociani, winemaker of Azienda Agricola Crociani in Montepulciano, brought her experience as author of a winery-maintained blog to the panel. One of the first and most successful Italian wineries to begin blogging, Susanna helped build a foreign and domestic market for her estate by relating her personal experience as head of her family's winery online. After the video feed of the seminar, Crociani saw "more than twice the number of daily visitors to my website, most of them -- over 90% of them -- from the United States."

With such measurable and impactful results, the Italian Trade Commission hopes for "Virtual Vino" to begin an ongoing conversation, extending beyond Italian Wine Week 2010, providing an opportunity for Italian winemakers, wine enthusiasts, and critics to build a community for common education and business opportunities throughout the year.

An experiment itself, "Virtual Vino" and the blogger program were created to illustrate the growing influence of knowledgeable voices in wine on the Internet. With hundreds of followers via Twitter and Facebook, the Virtual Vino program touched thousands of wine aficionados: readers of the Invited Bloggers' websites, followers of VINO 2010's followers on Twitter, and visitors to the popular VINO 2010 blog.

To read the VINO 2010 Blog and view the video of the "Virtual Vino" seminar, visit http://vino2010.italianmade.com/blog.

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