We all have an inert desire to connect. Nowadays, those needs are being met less frequently in an instant gratification and expendable consumer market. Luckily, wine is one of the industries that still allows consumers to intimately connect with the product. I believe this is because wine has a long cultural history. Wine has been a family business across the world for hundreds of years. Most wineries are still family-owned and have important connections with their communities. Wine is more than an alcoholic beverage; it is a connection to those across the world and those sitting across the table from you sharing the bottle.
How do you communicate this to consumers in the 30 minutes they spend in your tasting room? How do you use a wine’s story to sell more bottles on premise?
The key is to understand that the goal is always more than just selling bottles and hitting numbers. You are selling experiences and creating future experiences. Here are some tips that will allow you to successfully sell your wine’s unique story and create intimate consumer-business connections.
Start with the employees
The employees that are the face of the company and selling the wine cannot sell based on the wine’s story if they themselves do not feel a connection. This is the most important step that can be easily overlooked during the constant flow of daily operations. While it is pertinent that the employees know the ins and outs of the wine they are selling, they also need to know the ins and outs of the company history and locations of operations.
Close the tasting room for a day and take your employees on a paid “field trip” day. Take them to the vineyards, have them talk to the viticulturist and winemaker; take them to the winery and have them try library wines and barrel samples. Get them connected. This will not only allow them to form a bond with other employees and learn more about the wine but take away information about the wine to relay to consumers. This will spark their interest and your staff will feel a new energy and connection to the winery. Encourage them to share their new information with consumers.
Host vineyard and winery tours
This is a fun event for everyone and wine lovers will eat this up. Your consumers are curious about where their favorite wines come from. Plan a day to host a vineyard and winery tour. Invite the viticulturalist and harvest employees to come talk about the harvest process, pruning the vines, and what they do on a daily basis to maintain the vineyard.
The winemaker can take the crew on a tour of the winery and current operations and the uses of different equipment. Have them try barrel samples to give them an idea of how wine evolves during the winemaking process.
Handouts, photos, and maps
Your winery is unique, and all wine regions have rich history that makes them stand-out. Use this to your advantage. Create blown up maps to frame and hang on your winery or tasting room wall that highlights the terroir, soil types, and landscape of your vineyards. Create a coffee table book with pictures of past harvests and staff. Create a food and wine guide for consumers that highlights your wines with local cuisine.
Tell the story
Most often your consumers are at the tasting room for more than tasting wine. They are there get away from the office, explore the town, and mingle with their friends. Be a part of that. Chat, share the wineries story, educate them on your wines and vineyards, and be yourself. This allows consumers to feel more of a connection with you and the wine.
Make sure that your sole goal isn’t just to rack up your daily sales. Focus on creating relationships with your consumers and sharing your companies story, the sales will follow. These strategies can also be used outside of tasting rooms as well. Owners of wine bars or sommeliers who work in restaurants and hotels can read up and follow the wineries you represent. This can be a lot of work when your wine menus are ever-changing; but even knowing that a winery is in its fourth generation of being family owned, or that they grow apple and cherry trees alongside their vineyards is great knowledge to share.