Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops and Consumer Engagement Specialist will moderate a discussion and showcase three Virtual Winery Program Case Studies.
Scott Klann, owner and winemaker, Newsome Harlow winery in the Sierra Foothills will share his insights from a small wine producer perspective. Andrea Myers, Director of Hospitality Round Pond Winery, will provide return on investment insights representing a mid-size winery in the Rutherford area of the Napa Valley. Brendan Finley, Executive VP of Hospitality & DTC, Wente Vineyards in the Livermore Valley, will help the audience understand the approaches a large, multi-brand winery took in developing their Virtual Winery Offerings.
Audience members will understand the Challenges, Approaches, Solutions and Results these three winery executives took in shaping the future of their consumer offerings. Sandra will also provide key findings from helping a little over 400 winery teams get set up with Virtual Winery Offerings over a three month period.
Update: Follow-Up Q&A from the Live Broadcast
Q: Scott, how does the format and delivery of VTs differ between your scheduled tastings, local personas interviews, and customized personal events? Replication, or difference emphasis based on that format?
A: S. Klann – Good Q, Damien…the format is quite similar. Conversational style interviews are similar to the informal conversational tastings. Kinda like what happens normally in a tasting room
Q: For the 3 events where sales pack forecasts were not met, what would you attribute to those being of less appeal for your audience?
A: S. Klann – I think it had to do with us doing the same thing each week. This is when we had to change things up with blending, library, etc
Q: Do you get any questions about “social distancing” with two people on camera?
A: S. Klann – Early on we did, but Syd and I work together daily. So we opted to wait to see if those things went away. I should note that we were able to sit side by side, 5′ apart not facing each other. So comments were minimal.
A: S. Hess – Robert – when it comes to social distancing in the virtual space, family members are always a good start (same social bubble) OR you can use multi-cams in IGTV – up to 2 cameras. Otherwise, Mevo and Vimeo plays nice with Studio 6 Live Switcher Software for bringing in multiple camera sources from different locations.
A: A. Myers – we had the team members stand far enough apart that we didn’t get questions about it but we certainly thought about it.
Q: What was the upfront investment outlay to get started i.e. net gain out of the $125K in sales?
A: S. Klann – Under $2k. We were blown away by the response and it has significantly altered the way we will move through the future.
Q: What were the demographics of your virtual winery program? Did you reach people outside of your local club demographic?
A: S. Klann – I didn’t get to this in the presentation but yes. We actually implemented occasional “Friends and Family” benefits to member friends where they could enjoy club benefits for a week at a time. We’ve done it twice with great success.
Q: Scott–did bringing in daughter help bring in younger consumers (eg millennials)?
A: S. Klann – Simply by her being an outgoing person that has a TON of close friends, yes. And people really liked engaging with her as a younger person.
Q: How did you deal with shipping? any out of state licensing issues? was there a cut off time to ship? what was average cost of tasting
A: S. Klann – We had to be ok with increased FedEx bills. We kept shipping to our currently licensed states (about 15). We didn’t have cutoffs because people could always go back and watch the videos. In fact we sometimes still sell VT tastings from April.
Q: How did you do FB and IG at the same time, when IG is a phone-exclusive platform? Did you use two separate devices?
A: A. Myers – Yes, mevo camera for streaming to FaceBook and YouTube, and a phone for IG.
Q: Would smaller format bottles be something to consider for virtual tasting packages If available? 187ml, 200ml, 375ml?
A: S. Klann – We considered that but it was so far out of our normal operation. We took a chance that people would be ok with three bottles. And they are.
Q: Andrea, with the cooking presentations being on Fri at 4pm, have you taken recommendations on recipes, wine matching, and/or presenting chef’s?
A: A. Myers – Yes! We did poll our followers on social for ideas for the classes and used many of them.
Q: What are the tours like?
A: A. Myers – The tour is just like what you would experience in person but instead you see the property digitally while an Educator describes what you’re looking at. We take them to the vineyards, garden, to see the chickens (guests love seeing animals!), the cellar, etc.
Q: Andrea, did you ship cooking kits all over the country??
A: A. Myers – Yes, we shipped them anywhere and everywhere that we are licensed to ship.
Q: Andrea (and Scott) the 2nd host seems key, but would you limit an upper number? I joined a VT in April with 2 in winery kitchen, a marketing manager, event producer, winemaker, AND all attendees interacting…. Let’s just say that managing that event appeared…. Challenging. How many/how relevant do you think presenters need to be for these events?
A: S. Hess – The # of hosts needs to be defined by the TYPE of virtual experience being offered. Private virtual tasting experiences for up to 12 ppl = 2 hosts to ensure the experience is ALL about the guests. When it comes to Virtual Events where members are featured as special guests for example, we have had great success including 3-4 hosts representing a variety of personalities (winemaking, family, somm, etc.)
Q: What is the typical level of discount for the end of session offers?
A: A. Myers – We typically offer 10% and shipping included.. that discount is lower than our club savings (as to not deter club conversions) but is enough to incent purchases.
Q: Are you noticing a demographic shift for virtual wine tasters vs those that go to the tasting room?
A: A. Myers – we are seeing a shift in both to younger demographics.