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Distribution I feel is THE way to reach a broad audience. Why? Because you want people all over the world to enjoy your wines however little old you cannot be everywhere at the same time, nor do you have the store/restaurant contacts all over the world to make this happen.

However it is a myth that having a distributor in a particular country/state will guarantee your sales there. I haven’t met 1 distributor yet that will drive a winery’s sales all by themselves. The winery principle or Sales and Marketing Manager needs to understand the market, set realistic sales targets and work with the distributor to meet these targets.

The winery relation with the distributor is really the key to success and like with all relationships it’s paramount to chose your distribution partners carefully. There needs to be a common ground, a joined passion for your wine and your story, and a joint understanding of your brand. Its important to see a distributor as an equal partner with similar goals – ie you both want to sell wine and make a living – and  at the same time give your distributor all the tools and help he needs to do a good job.

Communication is key here. Its important to go through your sales and marketing plan together at least 3 to 4 times  a year. Its best to do this in a personal meeting (or a skype video conference call) and discuss depletion reports, actual vs projected sales, marketing effort required to meet projected sales and share successes and PR & Social Media strategies together.

These regular updates allow the winery to keep their finger on the pulse, get valued feedback about specific market trends, adjust marketing spend, sales projections and re-evaluate opportunities and risks attached to the market sales plan. In other words it forces the winery to focus on that market and to take action if need be to make sure key targets in the sales and marketing plan are still being met.

It allows the distributor to share their market knowledge and advise the winery on what events, competitions, market visits are needed to meet the target, and reset expectations if need be. Again here it forces the distributor to focus on your product, to evaluate their sales efforts and acknolewdge their successes and challenges ahead.

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