Each year, since 2009, Jose and I not only watch who’s a leading innovator, but we also feel, as seasoned veterans, it behooves us to call attention to someone within the wine industry who demonstrates serious innovative leadership.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011, it was pretty easy to see innovation leaders… those who were creating new developments for others to utilize and enjoy:

For 2012, we’ve not found that silver bullet for new creation; however, we’ve seen someone who is the current leading, in-house multimedia content creator in our industry; someone who is completely taking advantage of what those above have developed.

Jose and I are pleased to announce that Lisa Mattson of Jordan Winery is the 2012 Diaz Communications Innovator of the Year Award. With her expertise being fully utilized at Jordan Winery, Lisa joins the ranks of who we’ve watched develop into top industry innovators.

Lisa’s background created a perfect storm for having her become a one-of-a-kind; and, Jordan Winery was smart enough to know that they needed such a person. When they found each other, Jordan Winery was steeped in tradition; and, in my humble opinion as a marketer, possibly less like to take advantage of the new world of social media. However, something – whatever it was – changed all of that. Today, Lisa has become the one person that the earliest innovations were setting her up to become. Brilliant enough to use all the new tools set before her, Jordan Winery was equally astute in allowing her to bloom within their hallowed halls.

The questions and ansswers that follow will give you all you need to know about why Lisa is so deserving of recognition.

[Q]  What is your background and how did you come to work at Jordan Winery?

[LISA]  I actually grew up in rural Kansas drinking Busch beer from a can. I thought Jack Daniels was for rich people. The odds that I would have ended up dedicating my life to the wine business were probably 1 in 100,000. I always knew in high school that I wanted to be in communications–writing, public relations–something like that. After a bad winter in 1994, I left Kansas State University and moved to South Florida for some sunshine. I transferred to Florida International University, and its JMC school shared a campus with a highly regarded hospitality school. Because I’d been waiting tables since age 15, I figured minoring in the hospitality school was a good idea. They offered wine classes. I enrolled and was hooked. I’ve worked in the wine business for 15 years–since I was 23. It’s all I’ve ever known. I’m lucky to have figured out in college that being happy at work and in life requires figuring out what you are good at and then doing that job within an industry you’re passionate about. Every job I’ve had rounded my communications background and opened a door to another opportunity in the wine world. I’ve gone from wine magazine editor to wine distributor public relations manager to wine events manager to wine PR director to my current job as communications director at Jordan–where I get to use all the skills I’ve honed since my first wine job in 1997.

My biography

[Q]  What exactly is your position at Jordan and what is the range of the activities you perform?

[LISA]  Because we are a family wine business, most employees wear a lot of hats. While all of my responsibilities involve communications and marketing, there’s still a wide range of fun things I get to do every month. I write copy for the direct-to-consumer email blasts, I shoot and direct videos, I take photographs, I write copy for the website and all marketing materials, I write press releases, I handle all media requests, I develop messaging and presentations for the sales force, I work on product packaging, I edit recipes for our chef, I write blog posts, I analyze our traffic trends to our website and blog, I post photos to Twitter and Facebook. It’s everything from traditional marketing and traditional public relations to direct digital marketing and new media. I’m a content creator. And I’m lucky to have two people on my staff–one marketing manager and one digital media coordinator–who help orchestrate the marketing projects and social media administration.

[Q]  What do you consider your professional strengths in your position?


  • Detail orientation
  • Strategic/great critical thinking skills
  • Always willing to try something new and embrace change
  • Diversity of skill sets–pitching stories, prepping spokespeople for TV and print interviews but also the ability to shoot and direct videos, use a DSLR camera, master an iPad, etc.

Having the ability and drive to do all communications functions in this digital age is critical for a PR person working at a mid-sized family business.

[Q]  How do you measure success in social media?

[LISA]  Social media is just another extension of public relations–PR for the UGC/direct communication era. Determining ROI for traditional PR and ROI for social media is one in the same for us. It’s about getting impressions–getting the brand out there in the right context in ways that make people want to go purchase a bottle of Jordan — or remember a Jordan video, blog post, Facebook photo or wine column recommendation next time they are browsing a wine list or retail shelf.

Jordan only makes two wines and they cost more at the winery than in the marketplace. Our direct business is less than 5 percent, so our focus is not to generate sales off social media directly to justify it. But we do have people comment on Twitter and Facebook that they just bought a bottle of Jordan due to a tweet of a video or some photo they saw–the same way that consumers read a newsletter or magazine and then tell us they bought a bottle because of that mention.

Some tools ….

  • VinTank Winery Index
  • Facebook analytics (talking about this, impressions)
  • YouTube analytics (number of views, retention)
  • Blog (traffic, traffic per post, time per post)

[Q]  How do you handle criticism of a company online?

[LISA]  We don’t get criticized often, but I handle it just like any customer service complaint. Listen. Don’t take offense. Be friendly, honest and helpful. State the facts. Thank them for taking the time to comment. I always make the customer walk away impressed with professionalism whenever I can, whether it’s in the winery lobby or on Twitter.

[Q]   What would you consider your most creative project at Jordan Winery?

[LISA]  Creating our annual magazine, Estate Tales, from concept to delivery: The Jordan Winery Newsletter

Also, developing new video concepts and the messaging and editing process behind those videos.

[Q]  Do you have someone that has inspired you professionally?


  • Leslie Sbrocco (writing, branding, public speaking)
  • Bret Lyman (videography)
  • Damon Mattson (photography)
  • Eric Asimov and Patrick Comiskey (writing)

[Q]  How do you decompress/unplug from your job?

[LISA]  I edit the manuscript to my upcoming book, “The Exes in my iPod: a Playlist of the Men who Rocked me to Wine Country.”

Glass of bubbly and a soak in the hot tub with my husband

But honestly, I don’t think I ever unplug from work. When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.

[Q]  When it’s all said and done, what lasting impression do you want to leave with the work you do at Jordan Winery?

[LISA]  That we’ve been able to take a stolid brand and breathe new life and excitement into it. We’ve brought the people behind the wines to the forefront and connected them to customers and consumers in a very vivid and unfiltered way…. That we’ve successfully integrated new media into a very traditional, conservative brand without compromising our brand image or elegance.

 Congratulations, Lisa Mattson… You’re so deserving of recognition…

This post originally appeared in Wine-Blog.org