Great wine is made to be shared, wouldn’t you agree? And it’s not always about cracking open the oldest bottle in your cellar (although that’s a unique story in itself!). It could be a wine you were given for your wedding, the birth of your first child or an inexpensive bottle picked up on a visit to your favourite winery.
One of the best things about enjoying special wine is the enjoyment of the stories and memories that were made through your ownership of the bottle.
To quote an oldie but a goldie – life’s too short, drink the wine! So put 29 February in your diary, gather your nearest and dearest, crack open your special bottles of wine and make memories while remembering those tales that have been kept in the cellar for too long.
Open That Bottle Night (#OTBN) is held on the last Saturday in February each year, this year being 29 February – here’s how you can make your own #OTBN an annual tradition.
What’s Open That Bottle Night all about?
The concept of Open That Bottle Night (#OTBN) was initiated by two reporters at The Wall Street Journal. Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher wanted to encourage their readers to open a significant bottle, then to share their stories. Since its inauguration in 2000 (well before social media became mainstream), the event has become a global phenomenon, and is always held annually on the last Saturday in February.
The underlying premise of Open That Bottle Night is that wine is more than liquid in a bottle. With the opening of these wines comes a memory of life milestones, births, deaths and marriages, long-lost loved ones and treasured holidays. These memories are too precious and significant not to celebrate and share.
For those in the hospitality industry, Open That Bottle Night is an opportunity to help customers put wine on the centre stage of your tables. Why not host a BYO night at your restaurant, or at least highlight your venue’s status as BYO?
For wineries and retailers, Open That Bottle Night represents an opportunity to focus on the compelling stories about your wines and producers, and encourage customers to open and enjoy the wines they have put aside. For retailers, why not encourage staff and customers to tell the tales of all your quirky producers that you have featured in your store.
The last Saturday in February every year – in 2020 it’s Saturday 29 February.
How to get involved?
Is product trial a challenge for your winery? OTBN is your chance to promote range discovery. Maybe there’s a back vintage pack you can release in cellar door or to your database? A special release of small parcel wines? Or why not compile a pack of your winemaker’s favourite wines for purchase? There’s so much scope to participate and help customers share wines they may have put away for a special occasion and put your product in the spotlight.
As a wine lover
Dig out a special wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion or purchase a new release with an interesting back-story to join in the fun.
Invite friends and family to your place, a restaurant or host an outdoor picnic while the weather is warm. Tell your guests it’s a special occasion – you provide the wine, they bring a plate. Or ask everyone to bring their own special bottle. You could also try to match the food to the wine being enjoyed that night.
So what are the stories behind the wines? Just ask a few questions and the tales will start to roll in…
- How did you discover the wine?
- From where did you buy it?
- Did you meet the winemaker?
- What’s the variety and why do you like it so much?
- Have you visited the region of provenance?
- Which food styles are its best matches?
In previous Open That Bottle nights, we’ve been blown away by how well the wines have drunk on the night – guests brought an old Chardonnay they found while on holidays, others opened small parcel wines they were given for a birthday and had no idea what to expect. The most memorable wines are not always the most expensive, but those that relate to a personal connection or memory.
Once the wine has been opened and tasted, post your thoughts on social media using #OTBN, or post your OTBN photos on Facebook
Plan to do it all over again throughout the year!
Restaurants and On-Premise Venues
Be the facilitator to encourage customers to enjoy wine even more and create a bit of fun. Promote #OTBN as a chance to have a BYO night, raid your own cellars and pull out special wines you want to share. Inspire your staff to tell their own stories about wines on the list or those they’ve enjoyed in their own time. Let the quirky anecdotes about the producers on your wine list come to life.
Why not promote a selection of wines in your store and encourage people to purchase so they can get involved in the global conversation? Maybe you have back vintage wines you’d like people to discover, or small parcels from your favourite producers that have an interesting story behind their production. This is a perfect opportunity for you to get your own customers interacting, purchasing wines or raiding their existing cellars – which may result in them returning to stock up!
Use this Open That Bottle Night Collateral!
We’ve made it easy to promote OTBN on your own social media platforms. Feel free to use the descriptions above to explain how to get involved to your consumers. The hashtag for the night is #OTBN and the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Openthatbottlenight will continue to feature stories and great products for people to discover.
To make it easy to participate, use this support material. It’s free to download and use.