Guest Blog Post by Ryan Clark – Tips on DTC Wine Marketing


DTC Wine Workshops

One of the few ways to have a successful winery comes down to DTC (Direct to Consumer) sales. It’s crucial to draft a marketing plan and have the operational tools in place to execute your plan.

Drafting a plan:

Take some time away from the daily duties that can easily consume our workdays. Sit down and first review what you are currently doing to drive DTC sales. You should then set some goals to build into your plan and measure your future achievements. Once you have those noted, you can use some of the following tips to incorporate into your marketing plan to help drive DTC sales.

Tasting Room:

Having a physical location is crucial to growing DTC sales. It provides a place for you to showcase your wines and meet new customers.

  • Don’t get sucked into the idea of getting as many people through your doors as you can. More often then not, a focus on getting qualified traffic into your tasting room is more important then just quantity of visitors. Work with wineries, drivers and concierges in your peer group to develop referral relationships. No one usually buys wine form just one winery. When your best customers come into town, offer to help setup an itinerary for their visit. You can start to achieve some real results by sharing your best customers with a select group of other wineries. Imagine saying to one of your guests before they depart, “You’ll enjoy that next winery and since I told them you were coming, they pulled a special wine from their library just for you guys.” Offering a perk as simple as a bonus pour or complimentary tasting will make all parties involved look just a bit more special.
  • Allow yourself and staff to spend more time with qualified visitors and you will reap the benefits. Being able to tour your facility and really explain your story will help your guests develop a relationship with your winery versus just being the next wine in their glass.
  • Don’t forget to ask for the sale! So often I visit wineries where no mention of wine being available for sale is made. Put together a couple special offers just for visitors, like a mixed case. Make it simple for the customer to order and have an order form or mobile POS ready to take their order.

Marketing Campaigns:

There are various ways to reach out to your customer base to sell wine.

  • Email campaigns are most common. We all know how many emails we get on a daily basis. A really important thing to consider is making your email standout from the crowd. Work with a designer on an impactful template you can use for release emails. Make sure to also include a call to action in the body of your email. It’s also key to make the ordering process as simple for the customer as possible. Having great eCommerce software, such as Vin65, can really help you here.
  • Phone campaigns are a great DTC sales channel. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your customers! They will more often then not be thrilled to hear from one of their favorite wineries.
  • Utilize social media channels to provide your customers with a glimpse into daily winery life. Once again, this will deepen the relationship between customer and winery along with keeping you relevant in the customer’s mind. Perhaps after seeing a post, they will go into their cellar and open a bottle of your wine to enjoy with dinner.

Execution and Follow Through:

It does not end at ringing in the sale! Make sure the customer receives their wine purchase as you would want them to. Whether you ship in-house or use a fulfillment company, have checks and balances in place to make sure shipments are timely and done correctly.

  • Follow up with the customer. Call them or send a thank you note. Any of these little touches helps grow the relationship between winery and guest.

Ryan is a member of the DTC Consultant Network and currently consults on multiple winery projects, primarily in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Ryan spent eight years working for three premier estates in Napa Valley and was most recently General Manager at Checkerboard Vineyards.  Ryan is familiar with most of the leading e-commerce software systems used to grow direct to consumer sales, manage wine club and retain loyal customers. Ryan also assists wineries with data migration services. To request a complimentary introductory meeting with Ryan, complete the contact form: 

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About Sandra Hess

Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops and the DTC Consultant Network is a public speaker on the subject of direct to consumer wine sales and customer retention in the US.