It’s fall of 2018, late October to be exact. In the wine industry harvest is either trickling across the finish line or every last berry has been plucked, trucked and sucked into the stemmer, pumped around through snake like tubing here and there. Sampled, monitored, sampled some more and making steady process toward bottling. People, wonderful people buzzing around it, your wine has been confidently left in good hands.
Some of you may be headed off for vacation, more of you are thinking about what 2019 is going to look like. Like our friends the grapes, it’s a time to turn back to our roots. Comparing, what worked and didn’t work about 2018 to make adjustments for 2019. I’ve been there, not this year but I’ve been there. That why I studied marketing. I also realized that I don’t taste pears, spices or leather. I taste dirt, special dirt where grapes live. For me, wine is an expression that encompasses tractors, trellis styles, petiole analysis, sun exposures, light penetration, canopy management, verasion, sustainability and determination. It all tells a story that transforms into magical elixir that comes with a government warning about alcohol causing embarrassment. It turns out, I like helping people sell magical elixir.
For the purpose of brevity let’s agree on some basic fundamentals so I make a blog post instead of a blog book:
- You’ve wrapped your unique branding message around your fabulously wonderful signature wine.
- Your tasting room is a breath taking oasis showcasing your history, wines and future commitment to excellence.
- The sales staff is trained on relating your perspective, telling the tale of your wines all the way back to the dirt the vines were planted in.
- Your source fruit is produced with the utmost care and diligence by a skilled and respected vineyard manager.
I want to focus on your best marketing tool, your website, the digital face of your business. Website technology has changed in the past few years and developed into something amazing. In the past websites were setup and forgotten, much like a brochure. Now websites focus on the interactions visitors have with your brand. Websites allow visitors to take a deep dive into your brand, your soils, your wines, your story. Websites are also accessed on the fly through smart phones while shopping for wine. Now that’s only scratching the surface. Websites now are focused tools of business growth! Here are a few examples of how:
Wine sales enablement – materials designed to facilitate distribution. Fact sheets for every wine that trace all the way back to the soil, rootstock & scion. Shelf talkers to educate potential buyers at a glance. An up to date listing of all the places customers can get their fingers around one of your bottles.
Fruit sales enablement – information for buyers to facilitate relationships. Soil maps, block specs: rootstock/scion combinations and historical harvest dates, brix, ta & ph.
Human resources – attract and retain qualified talent. Set the bar on what you are looking for in any open positions you have. List qualifications, length of employment and any special skills or knowledge that come along with joining your team.
Futures – the opportunity to purchase in advance. Finished cases at the end of the aging process. Single or multiple barrels for a custom blend. One or more vineyard rows for a truly custom wine experience – have some choices about fruit production, vinification, aging and either bottling or delivery via keg! Purchase an entire vineyard block and have it vinified with a custom label.
There is more, much more, which is why I love marketing.