Hardy Wallace, a man who once climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in a bumblebee suit, has been named the winner of Murphy Goode Winery’s “Lifestyle Correspondent.”
The much-publicized gig begins in early August, when Wallace will move into his rent free-Healdsburg accomodations and get down to business. His task? Spending the next six months finding new ways to reach younger wine drinkers — most notably via social media like Twitter, blogs, video and “Tweet Ups” where online chatters meet in real life. Wallace will be paid $10,000 per month for the six month experiment.
The author of dirtysouthwine.com, a popular wine blog, hails from Atlanta, Georgia and was considered a front-runner from early in the competition. He received an endorsement from local wine consultancy, VinTank, who have pledged $100,000 in social media consulting services to the winner.
The Twittersphere immediately lit up in the minutes following the announcement, with congratulations pouring in from friends, locals and even fellow competitors for the job. Which isn’t especially surprising — wineries throughout the region are poised to snap up the losers in their own bids for social media stardom. Recently St. Supery winery announced that a former Goode competitor, Rick Bakas, would be their new Director of Social Media.
Wallace, in an interview last Sunday, said that he’s well aware of the hurdles before him, noting that even within Jackson Family wine group (of which Murphy Goode is a part) there are some that still aren’t convinced of social media’s potential. It’s a concern echoed throughout the industry.
But Hardy, who recently lost his full-time job in Atlanta, says he’s more than up for the challenge. He’ll start things off by attending this week’s Wine Blogger’s Conference in Sonoma and Napa.