Creating Opportunities to Sell Wine

Posted: June 29, 2009 in marketing, wine

bigstockphoto_Wine_Stains_1551006Smartly, most Australian winemakers are resisting the urge to slash prices and advertise their heavily discounted wines at cellar door.

While this might sting a little on the balance sheet, it’s a knee jerk reaction that is hard to pull back from.

Recent research (and no, this time it isn’t from the L’Oreal Institute) shows that while many consumers are looking at lower priced wines, many (such as the Millennial generation) are continuing their love affair with wine and aren’t simply attracted to slashed priced wines or fire-sale advertising.

Focusing on the longer term, post-recession markets are a smart move – a strategy being adopted by more wine companies globally.

According to Chris Hanna, owner of Hanna Wines and a board member of the Sonoma County Vintners “Experience has shown that slashing prices to drive sales is not a smart long-term strategy. That’s what wineries did in the early 90’s and it’s tough to recover from such a move because consumers become accustomed to the lower prices.”


So, if reducing price is a last resort, what are the other immediate options?

After all, there’s little point in focusing in the long term if you aren’t going to be around…

How do you move your wine without devaluing your brand?

Therefore, to get the debate raging, for the next few Monkey Marketing Mojo articles, we’ll be focusing on some ideas to really make the Cellar Door experience work, and on creating simple on-line strategies that deliver.

We’ve picked these two issues, because that’s where most of you are focusing your questions to BoozeMonkey (so, in the words of Julie Andrews, it’s “a very good place to start”)

Many of you have invested in Cellar Doors, and often this is because you are situated in high-tourism traffic flow areas and are part of a critical mass of cellar doors, restaurants and other food and tourism related experiences, that have a natural regional ‘pull-through’.

If so, you can probably walk outside, chuck a grape and hit someone else in the trade who is also wondering how the hell to get sales.

Simple Events at Cellar Door

  • People still like to lunch, so consider putting on a long lunch, with great local food prepared by a local chef and matched to your wines.
  • It sounds obvious, but many wineries don’t promote the event well enough and therefore don’t get the benefits.The events themselves may be fantastic but suffer from low ticket sales or consumer awareness.
  • Have the event hosted by the winemaker, and keep the event intimate. This will keep your costs down significantly, but adds to the consumer experience.
  • Make a deal with a local foodie that focuses on joint promotion. This will expand and diversify your market reach.
  • Promote the event via local B&Bs, State Tourism bodies, Facebook, website and mailing lists.
  • Don’t forget local radio, press releases to regional and city papers.
  • Your Regional Association should be able to assist, so put your event on their website and Facebook and social media hit-list.
  • Use paid adverting only if you WANT to – consider the other more cost efficient options first.
  • (We’ll deal with effective press releases in another exciting episode…)
  • Use social media such as Digg, Mixx, Facebook, StumbleOn, BeBo, Twitter etc etc to get the message circulating. (If you aren’t sure, put down the brown paper bottle bag you are hyperventilating into and call us to help)
  • Package up accommodation options and add further value by offering guests a bottle of wine, (signed by the winemaker) if they bring 2 or more friends, or an entry into the chance to win a dozen wines.
  • Partner with neighbouring wineries to host the event – or do it as a progressive lunch at three sites (with a responsible transport option).
  • If it is winter, sell the fact you have a roaring fire and a warming fortified, or if it’s summer, host the event under the trees.
  • Give people the recipes for the meals they have enjoyed that day – make it intimate and engaging and ultimately something they will tell their friends about. Add purchase details and your website address to the flyer. Encourage them to respond with their recipe interpretations and put them on the website.
  • Email guests after the event and thank them for coming. Tell them they will be on the A List for the next event, and tell them how to subscribe to say in the loop.
  • Make sure they are on your Mailing List, and if you don’t HAVE a Mailing List, this is a damn good opportunity to start one.
  • Once you have a well-oiled and effective event, package it up and hit the road. Lots of corporates, conference organizers and social groups (not to mention restaurants, retailers etc) are looking for new and exciting things to offer to THEIR customers. Be the solution and open up new opportunities and markets for your brand.  Think outside the square – then get on the phone/email to sell your package.


•    USE whatever you’ve got and then SELL it using social media and targeted PR. Your event will be cost efficient and targeted.
•    Work with others in your region to make a collective, memorable experience.
•    Follow up with your new customer contact.


Admitedly, these ideas are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of options, but are just to help you reassess and review where YOUR opportunities are.

Next time, we’ll pick up Investing in Your Front-line troops (Your Staff).

In subsequent blogs, we’ll also cover Customer Relations, Wine Clubs and Mailing Lists as a strategies to increase sales, and have a few more case studies on using Social Media.

Cheers for now



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