Reminder that April’s Virtual Tasting will be the 2009 Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling. The tasting will take place on Wednesday April 28th from 7-9pm. Read more about it here.

Recently I wrote a post encouraging Washington wineries to become involved in Social Media. Something I believe discourages involvement is a number of myths about wineries, Social Media, and their interactions. Here’s a list of the ones I hear most frequently.

MYTH #1: “If I just produce great wine, I can expect to be discovered and whisked away to the magic wine kingdom by some anointed wine writer or by a uniquely intelligent customer base.”

Most people at wineries got into the business because they wanted to make wine, not because they wanted to market themselves in some fashion and certainly not because they wanted to dive into the world of Social Media. Many wineries hope for their ‘Oprah moment.’ However, most wineries are not going to get 100 point scores, have a years-long waiting list, and open only a day or two a year. Given that, what is plan B?

MYTH #2: “Everyone else knows exactly what is going on with Social Media. I’m the only one in the dark.”

Many people feel they are the only ones who don’t know what is going on with Social Media. This is intimidating as people are reluctant to admit that they feel in the dark. The fact is Social Media and the world surrounding it are extremely fluid. Everyone is figuring it out as they go…except that some people aren’t going yet. Some people, though, are far down the road.

MYTH #3: “If I hold my breath long enough, Social Media will go away, and I will be magically transported back to 2007.”

Many people I talk to just want Social Media to go away. They wish they didn’t have to become involved in it. Additionally, everybody wishes for a return to more prosperous times. Social Media, however, will be increasingly important in the coming years, and the economy most likely will remain stagnant for some time.

MYTH #4: “If I enter the Social Media world, I can expect to see instantaneous results.”

A number of people I talk to enter the Social Media realm expecting to see an immediate impact on sales. When they don’t, they get discouraged and abandon the space. While it is possible to have relatively quick success with Social Media, for most it is a medium-to-long-term strategy. It will most likely produce very few immediate results except disappointment if you expect otherwise.

MYTH #5: “If I just create a Blog, Facebook, and Twitter account, consumers will come and my wine will go.”

In addition to expecting instantaneous results, people at many wineries think Social Media is a cure all for selling wine. They believe that if they just create accounts on Social Media/Social Networking sites, lots of people will come to the winery and buy wine. The reality is, if you don’t have a well thought out branding, marketing, and sales strategy as well as good execution, don’t expect Social Media to fix it! Social Media is just another tool in the toolbox.

MYTH #6: “If I use Social Media to tell people to come to the tasting room and buy my wine, people will come to the tasting room and buy my wine.”

People who run wineries are obviously interested in using Social Media to sell more wine. However, many people think of Social Media as a tool for straight advertising. For this reason, they use the tools available to push their product. This is a mistake. Social Media is about building relationships. The key is communicating and interacting with people. If all you do is talk, sooner or later, people stop listening. Think of it this way, do you turn the volume on the TV up or down during commercials? Some amount of product pushing is acceptable, but it should be limited.

MYTH #7: “Social Media has never sold a single bottle of wine (or anything else for that matter).”

This is one I frequently hear. Social Media impacts decision-making that can impact sales. If you talk to people at major companies, they are all in on Social Media. Why? Because they believe that it can help them brand their product and move their product. Part of the reason why I believe this myth persists is that the relationship between Social Media and sales is often indirect, difficult to measure, and is more of a mid-to-long-term play. Additionally, even to the extent there is or isn’t an effect on sales, most people at small wineries don’t measure how people came to the tasting room or why they decided to buy their wine. Rather, they just look at net sales.

MYTH #8: “If I want to be involved in Social Media, it’s going to take up all of my time. I’m too busy already.”

A big barrier to many people – which is a real one I believe – is the fear that involvement in Social Media will take an enormous amount of time. While this can certainly be the case – and there are surely Facebook and Twitter Twelve Step programs out there already – you can devote as much or as little time to Social Media as you wish consistent with the amount of time you have. Of course, if you put more in to it, you may get more out of it.

MYTH #9: “But I’m a private person! If I use Social Media, everyone is going to know everything about me!”

Many people fear giving up their privacy by using Social Media. While I understand this concern, I believe it is less grounded in reality than many people realize. You can control what you put out there and say as much or as little about yourself as you like. Gary Vaynerchuck gave a great example of this when he was in Seattle promoting his book Crush It! He asked the audience how many people had seen a picture of his wife and/or knew her name. Very few hands went up. You can choose what you want to reveal. Besides, everyone already knows everything about you anyway!

MYTH #10: “But I don’t want to be involved in Social Media, and you can’t make me!”

As I said earlier, many people wish Social Media would go away and steadfastly say that they will never become involved. The reality is, if you operate a winery, you are already involved. People are already talking about your wines and winery on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other mediums. You just don’t know it! Doesn’t it make sense to be part of the conversation?