In spite of the recession and other significant economic changes, the US wine industry has enjoyed a rarity in the business world: constant growth. Since 1993, wine is the only beverage to see a steady incline in consumption for over two subsequent decades. Within that time frame, thousands of new wineries opened and the United States is the fourth-largest wine-producing country in the world.
After so much growth, it’s no surprise then that the consumption rate is predicted to plateau this year.
According to the State of the Wine Industry 2018 report, sponsored by the Silicon Valley Wine Bank Division, wine consumption will not grow more: “After more than 20 years of straight-line growth trends, total volume growth is leveling out.”
This is far from being an alarm bell to the industry; instead, it’s signaling a new chapter for wine growers and producers. Now that the US wine audience has established itself, it’s the right time for US wineries to grow and develop their legacies, the way wineries in France or Italy have done for hundreds of years.
Target New Audiences with Winery Visits
As the owner or manager of a winery, your business isn’t confined to at-home-consumption; it benefits from the tourism and hospitality industries as well. (Both of which provide fantastic opportunities to reach new customers in new regions.)
Target and attract new customers with unforgettable visitor experiences.
Promoting local tourism is a business strategy that works for all wineries. By hosting memorable wine visits, buzz can grow through word-of-mouth and press, putting your wine in front of brand-new wine stores, hotels, and restaurants
To create stand-out winery visits, incorporate the winery’s unique qualities into the guest experience—it could be the blending process or your rock star winemaker. Do you have an interesting background story? Sharing the history of your product line can entice visitors and attract new buyers.
Integrate Your Legacy with Guest Experiences
The qualities that make your winery unique to others have defined your business’s values and are the roots of its legacy. It might be that your growing technique is unusual, that you have a socially-conscious-minded model, or perhaps yours is a family-owned and -operated business. Whatever makes your winery special, integrate into the guest experience for a truly memorable visit. See these five ideas below:
Invite Guests to Partake in Your Unique Blending Process
Wineries that specialize in wine blends have an unforgettable experience to offer guests: For a certain price, offer visitors the chance to make their own unique blends. It’s a concept that has made Australian winemaker Penfolds stand out as a top choice for tourists and locals alike. At the Magill Estate Winery, visitors can choose among grape varieties to make their own wine creations. Take another page out of Penfolds’ book of guest experiences and offer customized plaques with gifts.
Offer Tailor-Made Wine Tastings with the Winemaker
No one can show off your winery like your winemaker. For those who are passionate about wine, spending time with a seasoned winemaker would be a dream. Talk with your winemaker and if he or she is on board to share tales and advice, make it known to interested customers. This personalized experience would make for an unforgettable wine tasting.
Charm Guests with Historical Heritage
To some wine lovers, the heritage of a wine is as important as its vintage. For instance, in the famous wine-growing village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in Provence, France, it’s the ecclesial vines from Clos des Pape that attract wine lovers. Although there are other excellent wineries to choose from, its history for being the pope’s vineyard makes it the top choice for many.
Like Clos des Pape, allow guests to relish the heritage of your winery with a tour of the property and tales of its history.
Have Tasting Rooms
For a winery, a quality experience translates into tasting room visitors, wine sales and wine club memberships (retained and new sign-ups). For the visitor, quality is personalization, ambiance, the search for the ultimate wine, value received, and knowledgeable hosts, and services offered by the winery (newsletters, private facilities for intimate tastings, etc.). The Wine Business Monthly/Silicon Valley Bank 2015 survey of tasting rooms shows that “nearly one in three wineries, offer seated tastings of some sort and the seated tastings are associated with higher average purchases.” That to most wine folks is a trend.
There are a lot of factors that dictate the effectiveness of tasting rooms relative to maximizing sales: size of the winery, tasting room accommodations, staff and facilities costs, and whether wineries use Three Tier Distribution for off-site sales. (The latter point is also the main driver in wineries selling more wines direct-to-the-consumer.)
Even when a winery must conform to a “by appointment only” tasting room policy, sales at the winery are getting a lot of attention and respect as a channel of distribution. One such measurement is year-over-year Direct to Consumer shipment which is growing at approximately 15% annually in some wine regions.
Present Food-Pairing Ideas and Recipes
Food-and-wine pairing menus are successful for restaurants. It gives them a chance to showcase their selection, and customers can learn about a new grape or wine-growing region.
Highlight your wines and show customers how to enjoy them at home. Suggest specific foods, prepare a series of recipes for them to take home, and even offer food-and-wine tasting sessions if there is a kitchen on the property. Take this program to the next level by starting a winery loyalty program. Send wine club members food-pairing ideas every month like the Robert Stein Winery & Vineyard in Australia does.
Offer Luxe Hotel Accommodations
Be inspired by the luxurious boutique hotels in Tuscany, Italy and offer outstanding hotel accommodations to guests. Wine tourism is a growing niche within the tourism industry, and it’s an effective way to bring in new customers. Fix up the properties on your winery, invest in a world-class kitchen and chef, and offer a program of personalized wine tours with bike rides, hikes, and picnics for an unforgettable winery experience.
Apply these ideas to your winery, and attract the right audience with these tips.
See how a Winery POS System supports your business’s needs.