Would you like to find out first hand what it’s like to work in…. the world of wine?!?
Julien Miquel, founder of an award-winning wine blog and a social media and marketing expert, gives Sip On This Juice readers an ‘Inside Look’ at what life is like on a daily basis for a social media wine influencer. His blog, Social Vignerons, won the 2015 Best New Wine Blog award for… bringing passion to the people who love wine.
Here we discuss what Julien Miquel can do for you and get the latest on this fantastic wine writer …
Julien Miquel, Social Vignerons Founder
How did you first get into wine?
Growing up in France, and having chosen to dedicate my life to wine quite early on, I never really ‘got into wine’, I was always into wine.
After I graduated high school, I went to college to study biology. I particularly liked plant physiology and microbiology. When I realized that wine was in fact a serious option as a career (as you can imagine it is in France), and one that would combine my love for science and nature, I gave it a go at working in a winery and fell in love with the job. I went to study winemaking in Bordeaux, and got lucky enough to get to study with some of the best winemaking professors in the world.
So, as a grown up at least, I’ve always been into wine. Of course, as a Frenchman, I also had a few sips and I was exposed to wine and its culture even before being at the ‘legal drinking age’.
What would you say was the initial idea that sparked your decision to utilize social media and a blog to grow your business?
It went the other way around for me.
I started thinking about blogging in early 2014 while living in New Zealand in a job that was getting too narrow for me. I needed an outlet to share my passion for wine and my wine knowledge, acquired from experience, with the rest of the world. So I started building the website and launched SocialVignerons.com in December 2014 as a hobby.
Because it took off and became relatively successful (including being awarded 2015 Best New Wine Blog), it became more and more of a lifestyle, taking more and more time sharing wine content and passion every day on social media and other digital platforms.
For a couple of years now, I’ve been looking at turning my passion into a viable activity I could live from. I help some wine producers share their story through digital marketing and quality content.
When you first started building your online presence, what were your greatest obstacles, & how did you overcome them?
Time was the main obstacle. I started engaging seriously on social media and putting together my blog the same year my third daughter was born. You can imagine how time was the main constraint!
If you do it yourself, which is my case, building an online presence is not very costly as there’s a wealth of free platforms. I had the knowledge from a long hands-on experience at quite a high level of winemaking in many countries, which was and still is my main asset.
From there, getting enough confidence to get out there, create content, and share it was the last obstacle. I overcame it by working, and further developing skills and knowledge.
Winemaking is hard, especially if you’re trying to make world-class wine with no fancy equipment which was my case as a youngster. I did ten years of it, head down. In comparison, building a blog and social media channels was easy. It was doing it while changing nappies that was hard
Who inspires you in the blog, social media or world of wine?
In the blog specifically? The world of wine most definitely. Social Vignerons is about the world of wine. The world of wine is also my passion and my job.
Social media is the vector (well the media) that allows me to share it more broadly but also more intimately with those who engage with me.
I wouldn’t do what I do, and as much social media, if it wasn’t for wine. But it is true that in the blog, I like to look at wine & social media, and wine influencers, to understand the people behind these accounts that we love and follow, and to get a grasp at this new world that’s ahead of us, how it will change the industry and wine drinkers.
How has your blogging strategy changed since you first started?
I don’t think it has much actually. I try to find fun, interesting and engaging topics that I am able to legitimately cover in an article, and then run with it and share it! Typical examples would be my French cheese & wine pairing post, or my article about calories in wine.
Because I relocated from New Zealand to France about a year ago, after 6+ years living there, some of my content around wine producers and winemakers, and about rating and reviewing wines, has naturally shifted from being centered on Kiwi or Aussie wine to revolving more around the European wine scene. But I have always reviewed wines from all around the world. It’s just that you naturally get more demanded around where you’re based. France is a great place to be in this regard, pretty central in Western Europe, especially as far as wine is concerned
What has been the greater key to your success?
I think work, staying down-to-Earth and spending time engaging and sharing around my passion for wine.
How do you choose which brands to partner with?
I help wine producers in Europe establish or develop their digital presence, sharing and caring on social media and the digital space. I am also starting to represent some brands as an ambassador for the digital wine world.
So quite a lot of who I work with, comes down to a positive feeling I have about the people working for brands. There are not a whole lot of brands in Europe that are yet entirely dedicated to investing in digital marketing. For those who do, I also need to know they do it for the right reasons, to provide value to the community through sharing passion and knowledge around their product. Not trying to only extract value from people through a salesy strategy.
Then I have to enjoy the wines, and their approach to viticulture and winemaking as well. I’m a winemaker after all, committed to promoting and elevating wine’s quality as a whole. I could not support a brand making a wine I do not like (like this really shit wine), or knowing they make nice wines in a way that is not respectful of its origin and genuine expression of the place.
What are the top three things that you would like your followers to know about you personally?
I am a father of 3 young girls. So forgive me if I’m not sharing or responding on social some nights, or even entire weekends sometimes
I live in the South of France, on the Mediterranean coast in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, one of the biggest wine producing regions in the world that is now starting to make some truly great wines.
To be able to sustain my activity and continue sharing more knowledge and passion about the world of wine, I do take on partnerships and collaborations with a few wine brands, accessories, or food or hospitality industry players. I am an ambassador for a few wine and wine-related brands that I help so they too can better share their story and passion on the digital world. For the sake of integrity and transparency, it’s important to be clear about these collaborations, so they’re all listed and updated on Social Vignerons.