This blog post is for the wine professionals out there. I thought I would take a moment to talk about why I am creating a post that centers around the wine industry, why I am equipped to talk about this topic and how to go about creating hype for a new wine release that is cost-effective and fun!
Why am I Talking About Wine Marketing
I decided to write about how to create marketing hype around a new wine release, because I have been in the trenches of small business wine stores and tasting rooms. I understand the feeling of wearing multiple hats, and running around like a crazy person, in order to sell wine and present a sound brand, all in the same breath. I also know having a successful marketing strategy for new wine releases rarely gets discussed or executed in these small business environments, due to the abundant amount of everyday operational work and staffing issues. Bottom line, good marketing strategy sells wine, and it can even work to sell your wine before you even bottle it, but I'll discuss more on that in the coming paragraphs.
What Do I Know About the Wine Industry
First off, I wasn't always a business owner. When I first got out of college, I decided to enter into the romantic and crazy world that is the wine industry. I came to my love of wine when I was working as a waitress during college, at an upscale restaurant. At the restaurant, I received firsthand training on how to properly taste wine and assess it for quality. I even learned how to pair it with food. My first job in the wine industry was at a high end wine shop. It was constantly busy and exciting, as we were bringing in 10-20 new wines a week that we needed to learn to be able to sell them. I later went on to receive an advanced degree from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, a globally recognized wine certification. Later, I went on to manage a tasting room in beautiful Santa Barbara. Beyond day-to-day management of employees, financials, inventory and customers, I also got to see exactly how each of our wines were made, the vineyards the grapes stemmed from and how to market the bottles once they got to the tasting room. It takes about a year for a new wine to be made, and sometimes a couple years before it will be released, for quality purposes. I have seen some wineries, but not enough, take advantage of that time period, by creating a pre-release sale opportunity for the new wine. Here are three easy ways to create the hype.
Create an Email Blast
By using mailchimp, a FREE to use email marketing program, you can send an email out to all of your customers, alerting them of the new release. You can describe the condition of the growing season, the oak usage, or it's potential age-ability. If the winery is only going to produce a small amount of the wine, it's good to mention the case production, as that will also create a sense of urgency for your customers to want to purchase it. On mailchimp, you can also track the amount of people who opened the email, how many forwarded it to their friends, if you have a plug in to purchase the wine on the email, you can also track how many people clicked into a specific portion of the email. All very helpful pieces of information that you can't get from using regular gmail email.
Have an Event
Maybe describing the wine won't push your customers to pull the "buy it" trigger, however, giving them the opportunity to taste the wine before they purchase it could be your winning ticket to pre-sales. Offer to take your customers to your vineyard for a vineyard day, where they will get to meet the winemaker, hear about the romantic process of making wine, and even give them a chance to taste the wine right out of the barrel. Most of your customers may have never done this before, so the rarity of the occasion will be a treat. You can even offer up a discount on the bottles, only for the customers on the vineyard tour. This will make your customers feel like they got the VIP treatment and you in turn will have created a positive opportunity to sell your new release.
Create a special bottling
When you're releasing your new wine, give your customers the option to have their names engraved on the bottles they purchase. Etching costs less than creating an entirely new label, and you'll create a larger dollar value for the wine, giving you a better bottom line.
That's all for now. I'm sure my passion for the wine industry will spark another blog post down the road, but until then I hope you got some good advice out of this one.
If you're looking for other ways to incorporate a marketing strategy into your winery or tasting room, don't hesitate to reach out to me.