Being a Good (Wine) Influence with Gourmet Blizzard
Meet Cellr’s #WeeklyCrush: Sara, aka @GourmetBlizzard, who is a wine influencer based in Perth, Western Australia. Sara has amassed an engaged audience over the years through her online profiles, where she has positioned herself as an “educator and storyteller of taste”. In addition to this, she is also co-founder of the Girls Wine Club, which is a free community hub for Women in Wine on Instagram. But you can hear all about it from Sara herself below…
So Sara, what was it that led you to the food and wine influencer space, and eventually becoming Gourmet Blizzard?
Hello and nice to meet you! I’m Sara aka Gourmet Blizzard. I was born in Italy (Milan), but I moved to Australia in my early twenties, driven by my love of travelling.
I moved to Perth in 2012 and simply fell in love with the place, and have never left since.
I first began to love wine when I was in university (I studied Public Relations Marketing and Advertising in Milan). I worked in a wine bar, whilst studying, and I was attracted by how there were so many different varieties, and how much there was to learn about each bottle we were serving. I loved observing how people experienced and talked about the wines, and how it took the whole gourmet and convivial experience to another level. All my friends drank rum and coke or gin and tonic. But I always ordered different wines, discovering new regions and new flavours.
Wine is my longest-lasting relationship.
I created my Instagram page in November 2018 (@gourmetblizzard), to start sharing my food and wine journey. I tell stories and share details about the delicious food I taste, and the extraordinary wine I enjoy and pair. I have a strong focus on supporting local businesses, between Swan Valley, Margaret River and Great Southern, but I always keep carrying the “dolce vita” in my heart and my posts: I review, research and communicate!
What role does a wine influencer play in the wine industry, and why are more wineries seeking opportunities to work with people in your role?
I want to consider the role of the influencer as an informer and educator. I spend a lot of time researching information and creating content that can educate my audience. I believe that a strength in being an influencer is not to be influenced by others, and to keep everything very personal and true to your beliefs and opinions. I don’t post if I don’t like a wine, I make suggestions and communicate based on the good experiences I have.
I don’t post if I don’t like a wine, I make suggestions and communicate based on the good experiences I have.
There is no doubt: wine and food have become 100% social! Instagram, Blogging, Facebook are platforms that provide Brand Awareness and Engagement.
I think the wineries, wine businesses, restaurants and producers are reflected in their online profiles, and they love the fresh approach and the different way of communicating their brand and products.
I love the concept of erasing the notion that wines are only for “adults”, or the snobbish aspect of wine. Wine is for everyone, so experiment with your palate- and if you need a hand you can read through my online content and maybe find some inspiration! Whether it’s picking a wine to match your romantic dinner, or a picnic with friends, or a business dinner.
My reviews are unique and personal, and always have an educational purpose. I don’t push you to buy. I urge you to discover.
What is your process for promoting a brand or telling a story when you are working with a winery?
Each story is so personal and so different. I don’t have a process that I follow; there are no protocols. This is part of my creative path of creation: I do the research, I talk to the winemakers, but at the same time I avoid anything that could influence me or has too many details so I can keep everything as personal as possible. If I can’t visit the winery, for example, I chat by phone or email to find out more about their background. But the wineries have no control over the content I produce. All my reviews are 100% authentic. I try to stay true to my senses. I always taste new wine with my partner, Sylvain. I love tasting with him. He is French and he loves his wines like I do.
With your extensive experience and knowledge about different wineries and wines in Australia, what makes a brand unique?
I think the strength lies in being genuine and faithful to what they are and what they offer; authenticity and consistency go a long way. I have discovered that in wine, as in many other products, people seek a sense of familiarity and belonging.
I have discovered that in wine, as in many other products, people seek a sense of familiarity and belonging.
I always say “make sure each of your products has a story that relates to your overall story”.
On social media and influencers…We asked Sara to shed some light on her experience in the wine market as a social media expert, as a big part of what we do at Cellr is make true direct to consumer marketing easy for producers at a fraction of your marketing budget. Find out more here.
What do you find your followers, and more broadly wine consumers, seem to find most engaging when it comes to online content?
I always start my post with an attention-grabbing question or tone. I always think about giving value to the reader and sharing the information that matters.
What advice would you give to winery’s looking to engage more consumers in the digital space?
Simple, that times are changing. Though the wine industry can be late in adopting new trends, before everyone realizes it wine producers will have no choice but to communicate with their consumers and new generations using social media and digital platforms. Those who do not will lose market share in the long run, to those who are present in the digital and social world.
Though the wine industry can be late in adopting new trends, before everyone realizes it wine producers will have no choice but to communicate with their consumers and new generations using social media and digital platforms.
In your time as Gourmet Blizzard, what has been the most rewarding experience working with a winery?
The people, meeting wonderful incredible, passionate people.
Talk to me about The Girls Wine Club, what inspired you to create an online community hub for women in wine?
Girls Wine Club is a free community hub for Women in Wine on Instagram. Girls Wine Club is the idea of two Australian digital bloggers, me and Olga, aka Winederella (Russian, but resident in Melbourne, Victoria). A project born by chance, a little for fun and a little to fight boredom, during “Covid” quarantine, in March 2020.
A year definitely to remember!
We connect women from all over the world, united by the passion for wine: Australia, Asia, Africa, America and Europe. We create projects and manage collaborations to educate our followers, improve their knowledge and expand their awareness about the world of wine. For love and passion, we think that wine should be within everyone’s reach, without discouragement.
Girls Wine Club collaborates with female wine bloggers around the world, believing that “Unity is Strength”. We coordinate and create unique contents to provide value to our collective audiences, educating them and building trust around the products and information we showcase. We are not influencers; we are informers.
We are not influencers; we are informers.
Why do you think collaboration is so important in the influencer space?
The word collaboration has recently become so overused that it has almost become meaningless, especially in a world that is becoming more and more individualistic. We should really think about the meaning of this word and read it as defined in the dictionary, “Two or more people working together towards shared goals”.
Returning to the Girls Wine Club concept, “Unity is strength” – two or more minds are better than one. Listening is better than speaking alone. How can you communicate to others if you don’t know how to collaborate and share, or accept and engage in dialogue with people other than yourself? Collaboration is key.
Let’s explore the Gourmet in Gourmet Blizzard, tell us your top three food and wine pairings of all time.
Ok this is fun:
- Oysters and Franciacorta Saten or if you don’t feel like bubbles a glass of Chablis
- Pizza and Gamay or Sangiovese
- Cray Fish and Chardonnay
Oh, and I have to add another one… my very favourite which is Dark Chocolate and Syrah