Home Wine Business Editorial E Column An Easy Way to Get More Wine Club Members

An Easy Way to Get More Wine Club Members


E Column 300x200

I am teaching a short (eight week) class at the local Junior College entitled Consumer Direct Wine Sales & Marketing. As a homework assignment, I asked my students to visit wineries and report back to me on their experiences. My students are of different ages and both genders, a mixed group of people. They were asked to report back on:

  • How they were treated
  • What questions they were asked
  • What they thought of the experience

Many of my students are in the wine industry, so I told them to visit wineries where they were not known, nor were they to tell the people working in the tasting room that they were in the wine industry.

They went to all different types of wineries, small, medium and large, corporate and family owned. Some wineries were quiet and some were busy.

Most of my students reported that were not asked many questions except for the ubiquitous question of, “Where are you from?” which is wine speak for, “Can we ship to you?” At many wineries they were not even treated very nicely. Nor did the tasting room person try to engage or connect with them. Their server would pour the wine and walk away. Not a great way to encourage sales or a return visit.

However, that was not the biggest omission during most of the visits. Out of about 30 wineries visited, only one time did any student say that the wine club was even mentioned. Only once!!!!!!!

I was so stunned that I asked the class if they were sure that the wine club was not even mentioned and except for the one winery (out of 30) they said that was the case.

We are only talking about mentioning the wine club, so needless to say there was no chance that anyone actually asked my students to join the wine club.

The takeaway is:

If you are wondering why more visitors aren’t joining your wine club, the biggest reason is because the wine club is not being mentioned most of the time.

A tip of the glass from me to you

Elizabeth SlaterE column
by Elizabeth “E” Slater, In Short Direct Marketing

A recognized expert in the fields of direct marketing and sales in the wine marketplace. Slater has taught more wineries and winery associations how to create and improve the effectiveness of their direct marketing programs and to make the most of each customer’s potential than anyone in the wine industry today.

Follow E on twitter @esavant and facebook.

Previous articleAfternoon Brief, September 15
Next articleBeverage Diversification Key to Success in Competitive Marketplace


  1. I don’t agree that asking someone where they are visiting from is only to determine whether you can ship or not. I find it to be a nice way to start a conversation and engage a guest – don’t be so cynical.

  2. We encourage our staff to mention that we have a wine club program to every customer they serve.
    Many tasting rooms have very large wine clubs so it is impossible to know who is or isn’t a member. Always ASK.
    A good way to bring up wine club membership for someone who is just buying and not tasting is to inquire “are you a wine club member” so they get their due discount if they are.
    We do go back and forth about asking people ‘where they are from”. We question if the ‘where are you from’ approach may be conceived as ‘excluding’ and if they are already a wine club member it gets sticky – our members are important to us so we do not want to offer them something they already have. So we do not start our sales approach with this question.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.