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On Monday I met with my friend Andre Ribeirinho from Adegga.com and we had a good conversation about the AVIN. Up till then I had only heard very little about this project, but the more I talked to Andre, the more intrigued I became. I would like to share with you why I believe every winery should sign up and implement the AVIN code for all its wines.

But first of all let me elaborate a little on the AVIN. AVIN stands for All Vin Identification Number – it was created as a project by the social tasting note site Adegga.com as their unique identifier which they use as master data for mapping purposes. They then realised that everyone could benefit from a system which easily identifies any wine in the world and a separate company was set up. Today the AVIN is a unique 13 digit number which is used to track wines in the same way the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) has been used for books since the 60’s. It’s formatted in the same way and looks like AVIN6452997073019.

The benefit of the AVIN is similar to the benefit of the ISBN – i.e. it is a UNIQUE identifier for a specific wine. By this I mean that if a winery or a distributor registers their wines and add the AVIN to their tasting notes and on the label all this info can and will be collated. Furthermore, bloggers, writers and wine reviewers can add the AVIN to their review or article, and again this info will be collated back to the correct wine, which means that if a consumer enters an AVIN in Google, or any other search engine, he will get all this information back.

An added benefit of the AVIN is that a QR code is created for every AVIN, and with the rise in popularity of Mobile Tagging this means that the information linked to the AVIN is very easily retrievable by any customer.

In summary, this is why I believe every winery should be signing up for AVIN codes.

  • It’s free.
  • The winery is in control of the information entered about their wines.
  • By actively using the AVIN as part of your wine marketing strategy, and integrating it on the tasting notes, or on your website when you have received an accolade for a particular wine, and adding the QR code on your label, the chances are high that you directly can influence or inform your customer
  • More than 30,000,000 labels have been printed to date with an AVIN on, and about 24,000 wines have been registered for the AVIN. Whilst this is just a small number compared to all the wines in the world, as always it is better to be on board earlier rather than later as its easier to influence in a less crowded space
  • Google is investing heavily in mobile tagging technology and it is highly possible that implementing the AVIN can improve your SEO ranking
  • More and more wine bloggers are using the AVIN, and I have heard through the grapevine that Jancis Robinson would like to start using AVIN for her Purple Pages wine reviews:-)
  • I have also heard that International Wine Competitions would like to start using the AVIN as well
  • With the increase of digital wine lists on i-Pad , the AVIN can really add value as it once again allows you to directly communicate with your customer
  • And lastly the AVIN is cool! Wine bottles with the AVIN QR code printed on the bottle draw attention as they are a novelty, and people want to use the QR scanner on their phone as it’s a cool thing to do!
  • I hope that these points have convinced you that the AVIN is here to stay and that it would be a great thing to sign up for the codes and actively promote it’s usage sooner rather than later! If I have convinced you please visit the AVIN website to register and sign up for the codes:-)

    The board of AVIN advisors consists of André Cid Proença, Andre Ribeirinho and Emidio Santos – all 3 founders of Adegga.com and
    Gabriella and Ryan Opaz – founders of Catavino.net and the European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC).

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    Today I would like to share the presentation Ryan O’Connell from O Vineyards gave at le #levin20 – I found a video of his presentation last week and I have been thinking about what he was saying ever since.

    First let me explain a little more about LE VIN 2.0 – it’s an event which was organised for wine professionals in Paris on 8th December of which the purpose was to gain a better understanding of the web.02 and use it to add value to your wines and gain access to new markets. Unfortunately yours truly unable to attend, but live stream coverage and twitter and blog post have enabled me to just about recreate the day:-)

    LEVIN 2.0 (or #levin20 on Twitter) was in my opinion a very important event and evidence of this can be seen in the list of important wine web people who shared their experiences. These include amongst others Gary Vaynerchuk from Winelibrary TV, Philippe Hugon from vinternet, Marc Roisin of vinogusto.com , Yair Haidu of Haidu.net and Rowan Gormley of nakedwines .

    Back to Ryan O’Connell – Ryan is a talented young winemaker who owns a vineyard and winery together with his family in Carcassone in the Languedoc. Besides making wine Ryan is quite active in Social Media – and actually although he says that girls don’t stop him in the streets (yet!) he’s quite a well known web02 wine character. In his presentation he talks about how Social Media networking has changed his marketing strategy. He compares Social Media to the more traditional way of marketing, ie wine shows. The shows is where you network and expand your professional relationships as well as try and form customer relationships. This is both possible in Social Media as well says Ryan, and in a less competitive and crowded space. At the wine shows, as a small producer on a very small stand, it is very hard to take the attention away from the larger producers who often invest in a fancy stand that draws the (professional and consumer) crowds. However, a lot of them haven’t made a similar investment in Social Media yet, so it is possible and actually very feasible for a smaller producer to steal the lime light here;-) However, fame and stardom never come easy – and so to get anywhere in Social Media a company needs to do more than just have a blog on their website, open a Facebook page and Tweet occasionally. No to make it one has to actively engage and look for relationships – both on a professional and consumer level.

    As said on several occasions by Gary Vaynerchuck you have to be willing to give a lot, help people out and really work at communicating with similar minded people before things start to pay off. However if you do invest the time and effort you can and will meet awesome people online, either fans of your wine – they have had it somewhere before, and by engaging personally with these people you will create the very sought after brand loyalty. And by communicating and sharing ideas with other professionals they will open their network to you, and it is very likely that you will be introduced to someone who can and wants to sell your wine.

    And as Ryan pointed out – it does help to talk about more than just your brand.. Ryan set up a regional body – Love that Languedoc – and shared that he has created a lot more interest for his wines by promoting his region rather than just the wines – it gives him a point of difference and adds more value for anybody wanting to understand Languedoc wines.

    Whilst I do believe that social media is no replacement for a wine show, I know that whilst the area is not overly crowded yet, it’s a great networking tool which I highly recommend using.
    I also recommend following Ryan’s example and share information on your region or country; I know from experience that if you are willing to share knowledge on more than just your vineyard you draw people to you and they will remember you for it – on or off line!

    I am writing this blog post from the Rennaissance hotel in Vienna. I am here to attend the European wine Bloggers conference and to extend my network with like-minded people:).

    Whilst I know that attending a conference is a  more classical way of networking, I want to share that I already have connected with quite a few of the other participants via the web (Facebook, Twitter) before ever meeting them in person. Reaching out and communicating with others via the internet is one way of defining Social Media.  The reason social media is social is that it is two way. E.g. I post something on the internet, and others replies, leave comment or post something else in relation to my post.

    Why do I think networking via social media really can make a difference for your wine business?

    Well first and foremost it’s a direct communication between you and your consumers, distributors, distributors sales reps, store owners selling your wine and sommeliers and waiting staff pushing it on-trade. By reaching out and connecting with these people  you can transfer your knowledge (eg what is going on at the vineyard and winery, what events you are attending, accolades you have received etc etc) and  educate the people in your network. This will make it easier for them to push your wine (if they are in the trade) or feel more connected to your winery and hence make it their wine of choice (for consumers).

    Further more social media updates can be read by people who had never heard of you before, so it is a great opportunity to extend your network and consumer base.

    There are indeed many advantages to be had by social media networking, but how should you go about it and is it going to be expensive?

    There are many different types of media out there that you can use to connect and communicate with people which are free eg Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Bloggers, Youtube and Flickr. All you need is a little time to invest in communication to your network. Remember you need to be willing to take the initiative here time after time.

    An easy way to start is to create an account in Facebook and Twitter. Spend a little time setting up your profile – because this is where it all begins. Your profile is your personal billboard – give a short overview of your business – be concise and direct when doing so! Remember, your profile is what will attract followers and friends -adding your website address here is also a must as once people are intrigued they will want to find out more about you:)

    Updates in both these media are generally short and do not require a lot of time. Both media actively encourage and support the ability to connect to all your email contacts. Do invite all of your existing contacts to connect with you here as well, and once you are connected reach out to them to spread the word about your winery.

    Both media also allow you to post links to other sites, use this ability if it will further promote your winery – eg a glorious review by a wine writer -(NZ winegrowers and wineries Man o’War and Misha’s Vineyard are very good at this!) or a youtube video of harvest in progress – this was done by Huegel very successfully last month.

    I will post some more examples of wineries and wine related businesses using Social Media during the conference and hope their success will rub off on you!

    Last weekend I visited the beautiful Rhineland – Phalz area, and enjoyed a wonderful morning at the Mosel Wine Museum in Bernkastel-Kues (http://www.moselweinmuseum.de). The museum is interactive, and takes you through the wine growing, harvesting and wine making process of the region. Quite an experience as most of the best Riesling sites around the Mosel are planted on extremely steep hills, which makes the vine tendering and picking quite challenging…

    The highlight of the visit for me though was the amazing wine cellar (Vinothek) which is hosted at the Weinkulturelles Zentrum. A tasting of the more than 150 wines is available for 15 Euro’s per peson. When you pay for the tasting you receive a glass and a list of all the wines one can taste in the cellar. Most of these wines are for sale and all the pricing is also included on the list. In the cellar there several experts willing and able to assist the tasting public. The majority of the wines are (obviously) Rieslings, but there are also other white and red varieties available to taste and purchase.

    Besides wanting to tell you about the high quality of  the majority of Rieslings I tasted on Sunday morning, I also wanted to share this story as the Vinothek (and the Museum) is another great marketing story.

    A lot of the Weingut’s in the region are very small wineries, only producing a few 1000 bottles a year, and ideally these bottles are all sold “directly” to the public. However, most very small business’s struggle to run a constantly open cellar door… That is why the Vinothek is a great opportunity for them. The tasting cellars are located at café and restaurant of the famous Mosel wine museum in the very touristy Bernkastel-Kues, and bus loads of tourists visit the museum every day. These tourists afterwards take a stroll in the cellars, and about 1/3 of them will pay for the tasting, and another 25% will have a glass of wine at the café.  Hence the winery can attract a large tasting public without having to invest in a cellar door and if the winery invests in it’s relationship with the tasting experts, these experts will regularly recommend the wineries wines to the tasting public, resulting in a higher turnover for the winery.

    Speaking of sales, I was amazed at the volume of sales at the cellar. I think this is directly related with giving the consumer the opportunity to taste and compare different styles of wine of a particular vintage, type and area (Eg 2009 Trocket Kabinet  Riesling) in one place; this ability to compare makes them more confident about what they like and what not and this generally will result in them buying several bottles of their favourite wine.

    So my advise to small wineries would be to actively try and join a similar set up as this Vinothek, ie a place that attracts lots of visitors and offers consumers the ability to taste multiple wines from lots of wineries in that particular region. Experience tells me that a lot of wine regions have a multi-wineries tasting rooms, and these tasting rooms are often located on tourist trails. Look out for this in your particular region, find out what the fees are to be part of the tasting room, how much wine you would have to sell in order to break even and speak to other wineries in the tasting room to see if this is feasible.

    Once you have decided that you want to join this particular tasting room, go and taste the other wines in the tasting room and compare them with your wines. Do involve the tasting staff in this comparative tasting and encourage them to look for similarities and differences with their other favourite wines, ask them what wines they feel would best feature in the comparative tasting and why. Actively engage them in these initial stages and be prepared to learn from them – by doing this you make them feel special and they in return will have warm feelings about your wines and will promote them actively.

    Once the wine is part of the tasting room portfolio, continue to invest in your relationship with the tasting room staff, be part of any events the tasting room may organise and visit the property regularly and I am sure you will reap the rewards:)

    In this day and age where most wine sales are driven by price and specials, brand loyalty is something which is pretty hard to maintain. However I recently saw 2 very simple  initiatives by small wineries which  I feel will create brand loyalty and I would like to share why I think so with you.

    The first one was about 8 weeks ago on my visit to the Champagne Region. In the Grand Cru village of Oger we visited the small winery Maison Jean Milan (http://www.champagne-milan.com/). I noticed an invite on a black board  in the tasting room to participate in a day of harvesting at the winery in September. When I enquired about this, I was given a simple looking pamphlet explaining the event. The pamphlets were also at the local tourist office, and had been sent around to some corporate clients in Paris and hospitality schools in France and Belgium. Every year, Maison Jean Milan hosts several  “Come live the Harvest” experience days, where consumers can book (and pay!) to join the vineyard and winery team for a day during harvest. The day starts around 9 AM with an explanation of how to pick the grapes followed by a few hours of hand picking in the vineyard with the regular vineyard workers. At 1 PM the winery puts on a elaborate lunch, and after lunch the wine making process is described, the guests visit the cellars and the winery – there they see the grapes they picked in the morning being crushed and pressed and pumped into a tank. After the winery visit there is a tasting and around 5 the people are send home with a bottle of Champagne as a momentum.

    The second initiative I heard about through Facebook. Barrel Oak Winery (http://www.barreloak.com/), a fairly new winery in Northern Virginia try to actively engage the community around them, as well as tourists, by organising unique and fun events on a regular basis. Last week’s event was called “chomp and stomp” and the invite I got said the following:  “I would highly recommend your coming out to visit. Smash grapes with your bare feet, sit around the fire pits, dance Saturday nite, eat some really great BBQ, watch the leaves turn color.”  I was pretty curious so looked up the event on their website. Basically the Chomp and Stomp event aimed to teach participants about the Barrel Oak Winery wine making process. It also was a charity event in such that it was trying to collect food for the neediest people in the area and Barrel Oak winery provided a free wine tasting to all participants who donated at least 3 cans of food

    Now why am I so impressed by both these events and do I feel that they will lead to brand loyalty?

    Both events are focussed on the active participation of the wineries’ potential customers in the wine making process. By engaging their potential customers in the heart of their business, these wineries created an emotional bond with their customers, resulting in a subconscious preference for their brand. Furthermore when these customers buy and drink this particular winery’s wines, it will evoke the memories and the story of how they were part of the making of this wine – and this is a story they most likely would love to share over and over again with friends and families!!

    So in my opinion, both wineries managed to turn their customers into brand ambassadors for the winery, in a very subtle low cost way, and this to me is an ingenious piece of marketing!

    The USA is an important target export market for most wineries around the world as it is the fastest expanding wine drinking market. The market is also totally driven by the Wine Spectator scores (http://www.winespectator.com). The Spectator scores play at every level – in the same way as a trophy or gold medal can make a huge difference to a winery’s sales. A 90+ WS score is almost essential if one wants to sell a good volume of wine at a price point higher than $10…  A 90+ wine is an easy sell for the distributor’s rep, because the 90+ WS score tag will attract shoppers and will help the wine sell through.

    Because it’s the most influential magazine in the USA, Canada and many other countries, it’s maybe not surprising that the Wine Spectator is often being (wrongly or rightly) criticised.

    Earlier this week I read an interesting  blog post by Blake Gray  (http://wblakegray.blogspot.com/2010/09/open-letter-about-wine-spectator.html) – where he elaborated a bit on his Open Letter to Marvin Shanken – the WS ‘s editor. His open letter caused quite a stir in the wine world, with quite some reactions on Gray’s own Blog post (http://wblakegray.blogspot.com/2010/09/open-letter-to-marvin-shanken.html) lots of tweets and more on the the WS forum (http://forums.winespectator.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/6826053161/m/717100867)

    Whilst I feel I am in no position to voice an opinion one way or another on James Laube’s palette and his way of scoring Californian wines for the Wine Spectator, I do have an opinion on the Spectator’s policy of having just one person conducting the tastings. I feel the magazine is far too influential and too crucial to a winery’s commercial success in the USA for it just being up to 1 person to decide on the wine’s faith…  I also feel that it’s not fair that the person tasting knows exactly what wine he is tasting – I feel it’s very difficult to mark a wine objectively if one knows the wines – i.e. what if the winery is a major advertiser in the WS, or the winemaker or owner is a friend of the taster – by seeing the label, the taster will often already have a preconceived idea of what scores he should allocate to these wines…

    In my opinion, it would make much more sense to follow the model most important and influential wine competitions use: a blind tasting by a (multi person) tasting panel. This will allow for an objective weighed score reflecting a joint opinion of the real quality of the wine. Its a known fact that the WS has a significant depth in their editorial staff (ie tasters)  and I feel the wealth of tasting knowledge of the individual tasters can only add value to the ultimate score they will jointly allocate.

    Whilst I know some people do follow the WS tasters very closely, it’s also a fact that the vast majority of the distributor’s reps, shop owners and general consumers do not really know who tasted these wines – what style they like and how they generally score – all that matters for them is that the “Wine Spectator” considers this wine to be extraordinary and allocated it a 90+ score. So with this in mind I really do not think they would be aghast by the fact that the wines are now tasted blind by a tasting panel rather than knowingly by 1 taster.

    And I feel it would also be easier for the wineries to accept a weighted score – most wineries I have worked with say they stand for quality and I think this should come through better in a weighted score.

    The famous Wine Marketing Plan – lots of wineries speak about it, but what should it be, and do you, as a small(ish) winery have one??

    Well a wine marketing plan in my eyes is the same as any business marketing plan – ie it is a written document that details the specific actions needed to achieve one or more marketing objectives. The essence of the process is that it moves from the general to the specific – it translates the vision into the mission, mission into specific objectives, and formulates individual action plans for each of these objectives.

    To be be effective it’s crucial that the results of the action plans are measurable and reviewed on a regular (generally monthly) basis, as this allows the company to review their objectives and make the necessary changes to the individual action plans to ensure the objectives are met. In other words, marketing planning is an INTERACTIVE process.

    Now most small to medium sized wineries I have dealt with have a vision, a mission and some vague objectives. Not that many of them actually have taken the time to create individual action plans to meet their objectives, and still fewer review their objectives on a regular basis and make changes to the action plans. The reason here is that they are so busy trying to run a winery, produce grapes, make wine that they have not a lot of time to focus on a sales and marketing plan, and most are happy as long as some wine is sold every month.

    But actually the investment in a wine marketing plan is not really as big an effort as is often thought. What is needed is to define the objectives in a precise way and most wineries already do this for their financial planning. The only thing that they need to add is a little detail.
    E.g. in your financial plan it say that you will sell 20,000 cases of wine next year, of which there are 5,000 sold at home and the rest is exported to several markets. You generally already have the breakdown of the export sales – eg 5000 cases to China, 5000 cases to the UK and 5000 cases to the USA.

    What is needed now is to add a more detailed forecast per market, split up per month and per variety sold to the specific market in that month. Eg for the UK, in January 250 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, 500 cases of Chardonnay and 250 cases of Merlot, In February nothing, in March 250 cases of Merlot, in April, 250 cases of Cabernet and 500 cases of Chardonnay etc etc

    Once you have the detailed forecast for the year, you should extend this forecast for the next 4 years, the next 2 years you split up the sales forecasts by market by variety in 3 months periods, and for the last 2 years you give a yearly forecast per variety per market. This will give you your long term sales strategy – it will also bring home exactly how much wine you should expect to go out every month/3 months and allow you to better plan bottling, storage and market visits.

    Once you have your monthly forecasts per market per variety, its now important to include checks. A first check should be introduced at time of forecasting and it should compare your forecasted values against the actual sales you had in that market the same time last year – again split up by variety and by month. This will allow you to evaluate your situation and submit your expectations to a reality check and if large sales increases are expected it will enable you to focus on these increases and define tools and resources needed to meet the objectives. Eg you would like to grow in the UK from 200 cases of Cabernet in January last year to 500 cases this year. How will you achieve this – has your UK distributor the means to grow the Cabernet sales in a short period of time? How are you supporting him to achieve this growth (eg larger volume deals, better pricing, in market representation, trophy awarded recently to the Cabernet…)

    The second check is to compare the forecasted sales in a month to the actual sales in that same month. E.g. you forecasted 500 cases of Cabernet to go to the UK in January , but instead only 100 went. So you know that your forecast is out by 400 cases – this allows you to come up with a plan to distribute these 400 cases of Cabernet that did not go to the UK in January over other markets and other months. Alternatively, you won the Decanter trophy for your Cabernet in December and in January your sold 1000 cases into the UK rather than 500. What impact will this have on the rest of the markets you had Cabernet allocated to and have you communicated the change in allocation to them?

    In short the second check will allow you to realize exactly where you stand in comparison with the forecast and will force you to acknowledge the changes needed to the individual market plans in order to meet the overall objectives.

    So adding a little detail to figures most wineries have readily available, has introduced a wealth of knowledge about your exact current situation which now allows you to take control and make the changes which are needed to meet your overall sales targets and to realize your vision!

    I would like to talk about one of the most profitable ways of bringing your wines to the market – ie by selling them directly to your customers. By bypassing the distribution tiers the winery can take a larger profit and still be competitive in comparison to its competitors. The different ways of selling directly are either through your cellar door, through your website or to wine clubs. However there is a catch… When people do not know your product they generally will be not too tempted to just buy it without any recommendations. Wine clubs work well here, you get invited, do a tasting and get the members enthused and at the end of the evening orders are being taken and you sell some wine. You may even get lucky and get some repeat orders – but sales in general aren’t going to make you rich…

    This brings me to the third and most discussed way of directly selling your wine – cellar door sales. Its often been said and written that the cellar door is an essential interface between your brand and your customers – its the most common way to directly interact with your customers.

    If you’re planning a cellar door or are keen to review your existing facilities, here are four key areas to consider:

    1. Location:

    Its important to either being close to, or preferably part of, a main tourist route, in a strong wine tourism region with close proximity to other wineries. And if possible do make sure you sure that you are on the tour buss’s winetrail  route. Also invest in good directional signage into your property and a strong entry statement that will entice visitors to stop. Its also important to invest in adequate parking for your visitors.

    2. Branding

    Invest in brand consistency through signage, buildings, grounds and facilities. Make sure the entrance, grounds and facilities are professionally presented and that you a clear point of difference – something which defines your wine brand. Having a reputable restaurant at your tasting room site will add to your winery becoming a destination in its own right.

    3 The people factor – great service

    It’s  paramount to invest in great service and to make the customer feel at home.  One way of doing this is by conducting tastings in a jargon-free unpretentious manner – a common criticism of the wine tasting experience for many visitor, yet make sure that the person conducting the tasting has a thorough understanding of the growing and making of YOUR wines and an overall sound wine knowledge. They will need this to answer  your customers questions and to make recommendations.

    4. Create lasting memories

    The key to sucess is create a lasting positive impression with your customer of their visit to your cellar door.  Word of mouth promotion, either direct or through social media,  based on positive experience is a potent way to grow your business.  There are many ways to evoke positive memories in visitors: there are the wines themselves and the tasting experience, food on offer, architectural features or the opportunity to observe a working winery.  It is a combination of these and other things that create the winning impression.  Different people will respond to different aspects of their visit so it is important to focus on building a complete experience that reflects and complements your brand.

    Once people have some awesome memories from their visit to your winery, they will look for your wine where-ever they are. Which brings me to the next topic – availability of your wine in a wide range of places – which is generally created through distribution channels – but that’s next weeks topic

    Making great wine often remains the sole focus point for many winery owners and wine makers. Whilst aiming to make the best wine you possibly can definitely is worthwhile and noble goal, I feel at least as much focus should be on where, how and when you are going to sell this wee miracle in a bottle. Awesome wine that doesn’t really make it into a (paying) consumers glass, may be a bit of a waist of time – unless you are a filthy rich filantrope making exclusive wine for your own consumption…

    Unfortunately most of the winemakers and winery owners I have ever don’t really fit into that category, which means they are dependent on wine sales to pay the wine making bills… So what is the best way to go about this?

    In my opinion, to be a great sales person it’s essential to know and understand your product, your potential customer base and your market. In other words, what are the characteristics of your wines, who is your target audience, and what other similar wines are out there and how are they influencing the way your target audience may perceive your products ?

    An example: a small winery in Marlborough makes Sauvignon Blanc, wants to export this wine into the UK.  Marlborough Sauvignon blanc is a fruit driven fresh and zesty wine with great acidity. This acidity and fruitiness is what made this particular style of Sauvignon Blanc popular all over the world. In the UK this wine retails around 4-6 pounds in the supermarket and 6-8 pounds in the independent trade. Our small winery however, in order to make profit, will need to sell the wine at around 4 pounds FOB per bottle, resulting in the wine hitting the shelves between 14-16 pounds. As its pretty difficult for the untrained palate to pick out the subtle nuances in the Marlborough Sauvignon category its going to be hard going to sell this wine next to rest of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc section.  However this wine could prosper in the on-premise sector, in a trendy restaurant for instance. Consumers know what to expect from a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, they also know they will pay a little more being out in a trendy spot, so the barrier to purchase will be a lot lower than when they see that same wine on the shelf in an independent retailer. The restaurant owner or F & B manager also sees benefits in having a less known wines from a well known regions on his list as it will better mask his mark up. By knowing his product, his customers expectation and the market the small winery owner will aim the on-premise sector when trying to sell his wines in the UK.

    My next post will be about direct sales as they still hold the highest ROI for the winery owner – but its pretty hard to export and sell directly at the same time…

    Hi all,

    Just got off the phone with a winery owner friend of mine and once again realized that the difficulty for small to medium wineries lies in selling the wine (this includes getting paid for it) and that there really isn’t that much support out there for these guys… Hence my decision to start this blog. Let me introduce myself, I work for 4.5 years as a VP marketing and sales for a small to medium size winery in New Zealand and as you might have guessed from my title my main focus was on selling wine. This included branding, distribution channels – ie retaining existing ones and acquiring partners in new markets – pricing, marketing etc.
    Since leaving Nz I have been working in operations for a web start up and really started to appreciate the value of Social Media to get your product to market, I am also pretty clued up on budgeting, suppliers management and running a smooth operation, and would like to share my knowledge as well as my passion for wine with you all. Watch this space for tips on how to market your product and get the recognition and the $$ you are after!
    Caroline

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