This Local Business Figured Out How to Capture a Shifting Consumer Audience

In the late 70’s, video killed the radio star. Fast forward to 2018, and now the Internet seems to be the ominous power swallowing up every channel from print to radio to television. How do media companies compete with the sheer clout of the digital age? Well, you join it. That’s exactly what Valhalla-based Wine Enthusiast has done with the premiere of its new episodic series, “It Starts with Wine” set to launch on Amazon Prime Video tomorrow, January 4.

The transition from print media to video production wasn’t a difficult one, according to the firm. Wine Enthusiast Magazine, a niche publication for wine, beer, and spirits aficionados, has seen a substantial increase in traffic on its website and through social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. The magazine draws an average of 2.1 million views on their page monthly. What’s behind the surge? “New wine drinkers turn 21 every year. Wine consumption continues to grow and imports and supply are meeting that demand,” explains Wine Enthusiast Senior Vice President Jay Spaleta.

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According to research from the Wine Market Council, a nonprofit association consisting of grape growers, wine producers, and importers, in 2016 there were more Millennials consuming wine than baby boomers (36% vs. 34%).

With many Millennials now watching most of their shows through streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix, creating “It Starts with Wine” became an ideal way for Wine Enthusiast to reach that target demographic. “The symbiotic nature of content driving wine-accessory sales and wine-accessory sales driving reader engagement is our secret sauce,” notes Spaleta.

The first of its kind, the series travels around the world to showcase not only the cultivation process of this timeless drink, but how it serves as an emotional and cultural connection to the people who make and enjoy it. By using video, the series is able to illustrate the beauty and process of winemaking to the audience — something that can be challenging to do in print.

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In the pilot episode, the show takes a trip to the rural country of Uruguay. Here, famed Chef Francis Mallmann, who is known for mastering the technique of open-flame cooking, is paired with winemaker Alberto Antonini as they share their passion for all things culinary and wine.

“Purity of the wine is a key point in order to have a perfect match with the food,” explains Antonini in the pilot’s trailer. Another episode takes viewers to Northern California, where vineyard director Joseph Brinkley combines organic and biodynamic farming techniques, including a unique process for creating rich, fertile soil: inserting chamomile flowers into an animal’s intestine, then burying it in the ground. “So it’s life fertilizing life,” he explains on-screen.

The company is excited about the series launch, which is set for January 4. “We certainly expect that when the streaming launch happens, it’s really going to help feed our digital subscription,” explains spokesperson John Van Dekker. To watch the series, viewers must be an Amazon Prime Member in North America or the United Kingdom. International viewers will be able to watch via Vimeo-On-Demand.

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