Effective marketing for wineries is essential to sell more wine. We have assembled a 12-page PDF...
10 Ways to Sell Wine for Winery Startups and Small Wineries (Video)
It's getting harder and harder for small wineries and winery startups to sell all the wine they make. This video is aimed primarily at the smaller and new (startup) wineries but will also benefit small distillery brands.
With the competition stiff, it is imperative that you are selling wine via multiple avenues. Luckily, the changing times have brought with them more and more ways to sell wine. Here are ten ways we can think of -- how many are you taking advantage of?
This video for winery owners and distillery owners is packed with practical tips for creating multiple revenue streams. Please feel free to leave all your questions in the comments section as industry wine sales expert Ben Salisbury personally reads and answers all of the comments and questions!
How to Sell Wine Online like a Pro (Video)
How to Sell Wine Online like a Pro (Blog Post)
3 Tips for Selling Wine on LibDib
3 Things You CAN Expect from Your Distributor
The Role of a Wine Distributor
New Brand Survival Guide (Webinar)
How to Do Winery and Spirits Direct Deals (Webinar)
Wine Sales Stimulator Course
Ben's Email Address
00:17 -- Introduction
00:37 -- #1 Tasting Room Sales
01:33 -- #2 Wine Clubs
02:22 -- #3 eCommerce Sales
03:42 -- #4 Digital 3-Tier
05:03 -- #5 Traditional 3-Tier
06:45 -- #6 Selling Winery Direct
08:33 -- #7 3rd Party Retail Platforms
10:06 -- #8 Delivery Apps
10:58 -- #9 Flash Sites
12:38 -- #10 Exporting
13:52 -- Wrapping it Up
Ben Salisbury here coming at you today with 10 Ways to Sell Wine. How many are you doing? Stay tuned, let's find out.
Because of the intense competition, selling wine today is so much harder than it's ever been. And you may need to expand the number of ways that you're selling wine. So, this list is going to be really helpful. And if you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below because I read all the comments and I respond to them all too. So let's get busy with the list.
#1 Optimize Foot Traffic: Leveraging your Tasting Room for Wine Sales
The first item on the list is going to be familiar and a no-brainer, and that is selling in your tasting room, your winery facility. Most wineries business plans call for having a tasting room. It's so much easier when you get people on your property and you give them a little tour and you bring them to the tasting bar. It's the easiest and best way to sell wine.
Here's the problem, it's getting a lot harder than it used to be to bring people to your tasting room to optimize that foot traffic. But it is still the best way to do it and you should be doing everything you can to take your game to the next level. For example, using Facebook Events, getting into text marketing, SMS marketing. I would suggest you give RedChirp a try. There's a lot of traction in the wine business for RedChirp and you might as well jump on that bandwagon and find out how to do that. If you're doing things the same way today that you did five years ago, you're just not going to get as much foot traffic to your tasting. But it is still the best way to sell wine.
#2 Next-Level Wine Club Success: Retaining and Engaging Loyal Members
The second way to sell wine will also be very familiar to you which is wine clubs. Getting people to join your wine club is one of the best ways to ramp up revenue. Here's the problem, it's so much more competitive than it used to be. Really, the game of wine club sales comes down to retaining the members you've got, and a lot of that has to do with being flexible in your offerings, putting more control into the hands of the wine club member. There's no shortage of information on the internet about how to optimize wine clubs and you should be reading it all because the game is much, much tougher. And so once again, if you're not taking your game to new levels, you're going to miss out. You're going to have attrition in your wine club members and you won't know how to get them back. And it is so much harder to get them back than it is to get them in the first place and then retain the ones you've got.
#3 Optimizing Wine E-Commerce to Boost Online and DTC Wine Sales
The number three way to sell wine is also fairly obvious, and that is e-commerce sales off of your website. However, just because you have wine for sale on your website does not mean you're optimizing it. I have a lot of different resources on this topic. One of the best is called How to Sell Wine Online Like a Pro. I have it in both video form and in a blog form. I'll put the links to both of them right here on the screen and I'll also put it in the description below. I highly suggest you go check this out. It's probably the fastest way you could find how to optimize your e-commerce sales. There's checklists involved that will allow you to evaluate what you're currently doing and see how you compare to what is the best in class way to do this.
I will just say a couple of things though. If your mobile experience isn't optimized, it's really going to hurt you. Selling lots of wine off your website is a function of how great that shopping experience is, that's one thing, and is totally fixable, totally within your control. But the other thing is how much traffic you're able to drive to your website, and that's a function of SEO and the size of your email list, lead generation. I have tons of information about this. You'll find all of that in these articles called How to Sell Wine Online Like a Pro. So, check them out.
#4 Exploring Digital 3-Tier with LibDib
Now, the fourth way to sell wine is going to be fairly new to a lot of you, and that is digital three-tier. Like I said, most of you may not even know what I'm talking about. Let me be more specific. There's a platform called the LibDib. I'll put the logo here on the screen, you can go check them out. They are a fully compliant digital distributor. And this is a game changer for small wineries. In fact, if you are used to selling all of your wine in your tasting room, and your wine clubs, and events, et cetera, and you want to start expanding the number of ways to sell wine, this is a great place to start. It's very low cost to get up and running.
LibDib is functioning legally in 14 states including all the major big ones like Texas, Florida, California, New York, Illinois. So, you really need to spend some time on the LibDib website. And I've got a great resource for you. I'll put a link in the description to an article about tips for selling on LibDib. That's a great place to start. Another cool thing about selling on LibDib is they're closely associated, literally in a partnership with RNDC. So if you can perform well on the LibDib platform, it's a good gateway to much larger, more traditional three-tier distribution. So, get in touch with digital three-tier. Our website at winesalesstimulator.com is chock-full of resources on how to sell in the three-tier world digitally. So check those out.
#5 Navigating 3-Tier Distribution: Adapting to the Evolving Traditional Distribution Models
Now, the fifth way to sell wine you probably are familiar with, and that's the traditional three-tier system where you go find a distributor in a state, you convince them to carry your product, and in theory, they're supposed to go out and make a lot of new distribution for you. However, in the last five or six years, this has really not been a good strategy because there's just so much competition. Distributors, large, medium, and small are overwhelmed with the size of their portfolio. You're going to be one of 20,000, 25,000 wine brands if you go with one of the big boys.
And even if you go with one of the smaller ones, the problem here is the ratio of brands to salespeople. That ratio isn't any better for the smaller distributor. So, traditional three-tier can work. I would recommend going the digital three-tier route first until you get some traction and show there's a demand for your product. But the reason I mentioned the traditional three-tier now as many of you're already in it, many of you are already in the three-tier system. You've got a distributor in your home state and maybe a few other states.
I want to offer you some great resources to help you optimize what it is you're already doing. The first is a video called Three Things that You Can Expect From Distributors. I'll put a link in the description. I have another great and very popular video called The Role of the Distributor, which really helps you get your head on straight about what they can and cannot do for you. I also have a great video called the New Brand Survival Guide. And even if you're not a new brand and you've had a traditional three-tier distributor for a while, this video's going to help you a lot just to kind of get your head on straight on what you can and can't do with a traditional three-tier distributor right here in 2023.
#6 Selling Wine Directly to Retailers: Winery Direct Sales
Now, the sixth way to sell wine is again probably new for many of you, it's selling winery direct to major retailers. Now, just to give you the quick and dirty on this, you could go straight to a webinar. I have a webinar that explains how this game works, what you need to do to participate in it, and how to get yourself off on the right foot. I'll put a link in the description for this webinar. You're going to love that. It's only like 36 minutes but it's going to open up a whole new world to you.
Just a quick explanation of winery direct. Big, big retailers like Spec's in Texas, ABC in Florida, Binny's in Illinois, BevMo in California, and there's dozens more. They like to have a relationship with the winery where they use a clearing distributor to bring the goods into their warehouse or their stores instead of a traditional three-tier distributor. A traditional three-tier distributor is going to put a pretty hefty markup on the wine by the time it gets to the shelf. In a winery direct situation, they use a clearing distributor which takes a very, very small fee to legally clear the wine into the state. This allows the retailer to make a much, much fatter profit margin. It's the engine that drives this whole thing.
Now, one of the things that you need is to not already have a traditional three-tier distributor in the states where you want to do winery direct. But let's say it's too late for your home state and a few other states. It's not too late for a whole bunch of other states. So, I would not appoint any new traditional three-tier distributors until I'd fully explored the opportunities for winery direct. And we have a ton of resources starting with that webinar. So I suggest you go watch that. If you have questions, feel free to reach out, we love to help people get into this game.
#7 Leveraging 3rd Party Retail Platforms for Wine Sales
Now, the seventh way to sell wine is through third party retail platforms. You can do this in addition to selling wine off your own website. But there's some pretty large third party platforms like wine.com, or Bounty Hunter, or there's a whole bunch of them. You could just a little bit of searching on Google, you could find them. And if you're really getting stuck, reach out to me, I'll be happy to give you a list of some more of these. But these are people who sell everyone's wines off their own platform. The advantages here are huge because they know how to drive traffic to their own platform. Their shopping experience is awesome.
And so, you could sell wine off your own website, but you can also make sure that you're for sale on these third party platforms. It's pretty shocking to me how few wineries even think about this strategy of how to broaden the number of ways that you're able to sell wine. So this is definitely something you want to look into. If you go online, use a tool like Yelp and you start searching for beer, wine, and spirit stores, and you set the parameter for most reviewed instead of highest rated. It's going to show you the busiest package stores in your state or in your city. Then you can go visit their websites and when you get there, take a look and see what they're doing from an e-commerce standpoint.
Some of these retailers literally sell more wine off their own website than they do in their brick and mortar stores. It's a little bit of a research project, but it's a research project with a very high return on investment. So if you're not doing this now, I highly suggest you start looking into this.
#8 Utilizing Wine Delivery Apps
Now, the eighth way to sell wine, and many of you're probably already doing that, and that's to learn everything you can about delivery apps, specifically Drizly. They're not the only ones, but they're the biggest, they're really well-funded. Delivery apps make it so that anybody can order your wine right off the internet.
The key is partnering with Drizly in the right way. And it really helps to have a lot of distribution already ready to go. But even if you just did it in your home market, this could be a huge advantage for you. Drizly has a partner program. You can read all about it on their website. You should dive deep into the learning curve about how to fully leverage Drizly. So if I ask you right now, are you fully leveraging delivery apps like Drizly and your answer isn't a resounding yes, then this is good news for you because you can look into this and add it as the eighth way that you can sell wine.
#9 Maximizing Excess Inventory: Using Flash Sites to Turn Wine into Cash
Now, the ninth way to sell wine is a very exciting way. I'm always shocked to find out how few winery owners are dabbling in this. And these are flash sites. Flash sites where the wine loving public has a subscription and every day on their phone they get some kind of offer that's good just for that day. It's like a super great bottle of wine at a super low price, and if you don't buy it right then and there, you're going to miss out. The companies that have perfected this are companies like Last Bottle Wines, Wines 'Til Sold Out, also known as WTSO, Last Call Wines, Wine Access. These are some of the more well known flash sites, but there are literally dozens of them.
And you need to A, investigate these sites that I just rattled off, read everything you can about them, and then start reaching out. These flash sites have a large appetite to sell wine. Now, the best application here is if you have excess inventory and you want to turn that inventory into cash, there's no better way to do it than connecting with a flash site. Be ready to send some samples. My best advice here is to put forth your rock bottom price right up front. They don't have a lot of patience for a lot of back and forth.
And if you have wine that is aging and you're already maybe overlapping vintages, you've got to do something. The problem is only going to get worse as time goes on, not better. So you might as well learn the flash site game. It feels great to unload 150, 200, 300 cases of wine. Some will only buy if you've got 500 or 600. Wouldn't that be nice? But it's a great way to turn your inventory into cash and it's underutilized by a lot of small wineries.
#10 Expanding Your Reach Through Wine Exports
Now, the 10th way to sell wine is exporting wine from the US to other countries. You'd be shocked how many wineries are doing this. And you don't have to export to all the countries in the world. Start with just one or two. Now, there's a learning curve here, but a learning curve with a great payoff. Some of the things you're going to need to look into are the appropriate permits. You're going to need to get trained and there's several places you can go to get trained on this. And if something you want my help with, just let me know. You'll need to choose a carrier, a fully compliant registered carrier, and you may need to employ the services of a broker. Most brokers make their living helping wineries navigate the choppy waters of how to export.
The learning curve is a little bit steep, but man, is it worth it and a lot of wineries are already doing it. And you know what? A lot of wineries are selling wines that are very, very expensive, that come from really great Appalachians. These make some of the best wines for export. If you're selling wine for 14, 15 bucks a bottle, it's a little harder. But if you have some expensive wines where the profit margins are high, exporting wine could be a really good option for you. So submit to this learning curve, start doing some research. You won't be sorry.
Wrapping it Up
So there you have it, 10 different ways to sell wine. I hope that you found some ways that you're not currently doing. That's great news because you add those ways into your repertoire and you've just opened up some new revenue sources for yourself. Now, I want to offer you a final bit of help and an indispensable resource, if you will. I want you to check out our group coaching program called Wine Sales Stimulator. Works for spirits too, in fact, half of our members are spirits. But this is a membership program where you pay a monthly fee but you get access to everything you could need. All these 10 ways to sell wine that you just saw, we can teach you how to do all of them.
So, go to winesalesstimulator.com, click on Explore the Program, and you can read everything there is to know about the program. And if you have questions, just reach out, let me know. You can leave your questions in the comments below or you can just reach out directly. I'll put my email address or right here on the screen. So I hope you found value in this video. If so, give it a thumbs up. We would love it if you'd subscribe. Share it with someone else on your team that could really benefit from this. And let me know if you have any questions.