It is going to be an interesting year for the wine sales in the United States. Reports are saying that wine production is increasing in the U.S. with more wineries opening every year and wine imports to the U.S. are increasing. A May 2018 report from the Wine Institute noted that wine available for sale in the U.S. from all U.S. production sources and wine imported to the U.S. by foreign producers grew 1% to 403.4 million cases in 2017.
As of 2018 there are 9,654 bonded wineries in the United States. This number does not include the virtual wineries without a brick and mortar winery. These producers make their wine at host facilities (i.e. custom crush facilities) and sell through mailing lists, retail stores, email and over the phone.
It is also expected that individual wineries will see fewer people as wine consumption slows in the Boomers and Matures generations while, at present, Millennials and Gen Xers consume more liquor and beer than they do wine. It is expected that Millennials will be the largest group of fine wine by 2026 (only 7 years to go).
What does this mean to you as a winery?
It means that the majority of wineries have put more effort into selling wine to the guests and customers who take the time to come to the winery or have signed up for the email list.
- In many wineries I visit, I find that people who are supposedly selling wine were hired because they know a lot about wine and want to have a spotlight to talk about what they know. Owners and/or winemakers, who started a winery or make wine, also got into the business because of their love of wine. Unfortunately, knowing a lot about wine, is not a great recommendation for a hospitality/sales person. While it is important to know about the wine you are selling; it is more important to know about the people to whom you are selling.
2. Guests are overloaded with jargon that they may not understand and probably won’t remember by the time they have made a left-turn out of your driveway.
Guests leave your winery without buying any wine and without a story to tell their friends about your wine. I doubt that this is what you want.
The solution to the problem is two pronged:
- Change your hiring practices, so you are hiring employees who like people even more than they like wine
- Training your hospitality staff is a small investment with a Big Return
I guarantee that a staff well trained in customer service and sales will sell more wine and create a loyal following for your brand.
If you want more information on training your staff, drop me an email. [email protected].
A tip of the glass from me to you.