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How to Sell More Wine and Spirits FAQ's

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Get answers to frequently asked questions about selling more wine and spirits

How can a winery increase wine sales?
When telling your story, make the customer the hero and your winery the “guide” that helps them succeed. Make sure your website is optimized for selling online an capturing new email subscribers and be sure to prioritize your email list at the primary way to build relationships with your customers.Also, don’t expect too much for your wine distributors as you will have to generate your own demand.
Most importantly, leverage the 80/20 rule in everything you do
How do you sell wine online?
This is done primarily through your website. Your website has to be set up for e-commerce sales. Every state has its own laws and regulations about shipping wine directly to consumers. Start here to learn more about these wine laws
What percentage of wine is sold online?
The North Bay Business Journal says that online wine sales now represent 4% of all wines sold. Online wine sales represent 23% of all direct-to-consumer sales which also includes tasting room sales and wine clubs.
How big is the online wine market?
According to Rabobank, online wine sales surpassed $6 billion in 2021 and will continue to grow. The average price per bottle of wine shipped is about $37 per bottle.
Is it hard to sell wine online?
It certainly can be without the proper wine sales training. Wineries need to have their website optimized for e-commerce, utilize a fast, user-friendly shopping experience, and know how to drive traffic to their website. 
How do you make a successful wine brand?
The keys to building a successful wine brand include knowing who your target audience is and what they want; being able to reach both consumers and trade via multiple channels such as social media, email marketing, and organic website visitors; and consistently delivering high quality for your price point relative to the competition.
How can I promote my winery?

The best way to promote your winery is to use a combination of digital advertising, social media, and email marketing. Having a very large email list of engaged subscribers allows you to communicate with and build relationships directly with consumers and trade buyers.

Can a small winery be profitable?

Yes! The keys are pricing your products competitively but profitably, avoiding low-ROI sales & marketing tactics, and being able to generate your own demand so you do not have to depend too much on outside agents such as distributors. It helps to have a mentor who has done it before!

What makes a winery successful?

Producing great wine is not enough. A winery's success is tied to its ability to sell all the wine they make as profitably as possible while still staying competitive. It is important to budget funds for sales and marketing but avoid spending too much on agencies and partners.

Successful wineries sell as much as they can themselves via their tasting room, wine clubs, and website before venturing into the 3-tier sales channel.

How do I become a better wine sales rep?

It takes much more than wine knowledge to sell wine successfully. The key is to bring value to the business relationship beyond just the products you sell. Building relationships with restaurants and wine shops takes time and the focus should be on how to help your customers be successful.

Can you sell liquor online in the U.S.?

It is possible to sell both wine and spirits online in the US. However, there are 44 states that allow wine shipments directly to consumers but far fewer states allow spirits to be sold online. It is important to learn the rules for shipping alcohol on a state by state basis.

How do I market my distillery?

Distilleries need to generate as much foot traffic as possible to their facility in order to optimize their on-site sales. This can be done by hosting events. It is also important to leverage your organic website traffic, run digital ads designed to enroll new email subscribers (both consumers and trade), and use expert email marketing to build relationships directly with consumers and trade.

Is owning a distillery profitable?

Yes, it certainly can be a profitable business. But it takes time to build up the sales and the competition is fierce. The key is knowing how to optimize your sales while keeping your costs low. A distillery is a very capital intensive venture with a lot of up-front costs so it takes a few years to make a profit.

Some spirits such as vodka and gin can be sold soon after production for immediate cash flow while others, such as whiskey, require several years of aging.

Can you run Facebook ads for wine?

While you cannot sell wine on Facebook you can certainly run ads on both Facebook and Instagram that invite people to visit your website where they can place an order. It is important to restrict the audience of your ads to the legal drinking age of 21 and older.

How do I get wine distributed?

Before venturing into the 3-tier channel of trade, it is important to first sell all the wine you can via your tasting room, wine clubs and website (e-commerce). Only then should you seek a qualified wine distributor. You will need one for each state you plan to sell to and it is critical that you understand you are still responsible for finding retail and restaurant customers yourself.

How does the liquor distribution business work?

Each state in the US has their own distribution rules for selling alcoholic beverages so it is critical that you learn about and research each state where you plan to sell your products. Wine, beer, and spirits each have their own rules. In the US, this is called the “3-tier system.”

How do I become a wine importer in the U.S.?

The first step is to learn as much as you can about becoming a wine importer. Next you will need to apply for a Federal Basic Permit with the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

How do you market wine on social media?

There are two ways to market wine on social media: organic and paid. Organic is when you “post” content on your social media feeds. Try to post engaging content that people want to like, comment and share. You can also leverage paid advertising on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to put your content in front of new and larger audiences.

How do you promote wine on Instagram?

Instagram is continuously evolving and leaning towards video. Wineries should use the “stories” feature as much as possible in order to help followers “experience” life at the winery. Having a consistent posting schedule is important. Post frequently (say, twice per week) but not too often. Try not to be too self promoting.

How do you sell wine to restaurants?

Restaurants typically have a much smaller selection of wines than a grocery store or wine shop so they try to offer something for every level of knowledge and budget without tying up too much cash in inventory. The key to selling wine to restaurants is to help them make a nice profit margin by bringing them wines with very little board-market distribution.

How to contact Ben Salisbury?

You can contact Ben Salisbury through LinkedIn. or via email at ben@winesalesstimulator.com.




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