Winemakers blend tradition and technology

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Live video chats where winemakers discuss the nuances of their latest vintages.
QR codes on wine bottles that provide food-pairing ideas with a scan of a smartphone.
Winery-hosted Twitter tastings where participants try wine at home and then discuss it virtually in tweets.

The Old World trade of winemaking is experimenting with social media, iPhone apps, QR codes and other digital advances to bolster sales and solidify customer relations.

For tiny wineries such as Cartograph Wines in Healdsburg, Calif., sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube provide an ideal platform to engage customers.

“It makes an actual difference that we’re doing the direct communication through social media,” says co-owner Alan Baker. “That’s why we stand out.”

He and partner Serena Lourie use social media to share photos of their grape harvest, to answer questions about their tasting-room hours and to provide details on great restaurants in their area.

“Good wine is simply the starting point,” Baker says. “If you make good wine, you’ve got a shot. But this is about creating a relationship with people.”

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