Virginia Wins National Award for Niche Marketing Wine Tourism

The Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) won the ESTO Mercury Award for Niche Marketing for wine tourism promotion. Virginia took home top honors for “Vintage Tweets” – a cutting-edge public relations effort that utilized social media to promote wine travel in Virginia.   This was one of only   12 awards   the U.S. Travel Association   gives out to the top marketing initiatives in the country.

In congratulating the VTC, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said, “Tourism is one of Virginia’s most powerful industries, generating billions in revenue for our economy.   Our wine industry is a key part of what attracts visitors to this state. I am proud of the innovative efforts of our state tourism office to find new ways to market Virginia and keep tourism strong throughout the Commonwealth.”

The Virginia Tourism Corporation organized Vintage Tweets in September of 2009 in Arlington, Virginia to kick off October Virginia Wine Month.   Vintage Tweets was the first ever Virginia wine tweetup.   The state tourism agency used the social media network Twitter to target media, bloggers and consumers who are passionate about wine travel, live in and around Washington, D.C., and had significant number of Twitter followers.   The Virginia Tourism Corporation used Twitter to invite 40 of those consumers to a wine reception, featuring six different wineries from across the state.   The guests tweeted about their wine tastings and also took part in Virginia Wine Travel Twitter trivia.   In total, Vintage Tweets was able to reach over 43,000 consumers in just 24 hours, providing key facts and travel ideas to potential visitors from across the country.

“Public relations is one of the most effective means of marketing using social media,” said Alisa Bailey, President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation.   “We are honored to be recognized as the best of the best amongst the nation’s state tourism offices and grateful for our strong partnership with the Virginia Wine Board and the wine industry.”

Virginia is quickly becoming one of the top wine destinations in the country.   The state is home to 160 wineries, 16 wine trails and was recently named one of the top five up-and-coming wine destinations in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine.   Each October the state pays homage to wine travel with Virginia Wine Month, with dozens of wine festivals and special events.   For more information about travel and wine destinations in Virginia, visit www.Virginia.org/wine or call 1-800-VISITVA.