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DTC Wine Sales News, August 2016. The wine industry is abuzz as harvest is in full swing and winery teams are planning holiday events and promotions.  “We are experiencing perfect growing conditions” explains Rolando Herrera, Mi Sueño Owner/Winemaker. Herrera is preparing for his 32nd professional grape harvest. Herrera produces 10,000 cases per year at his Mi Sueño Winery and consults for a dozen different top-rated wineries. His Herrera Vineyard Management company cares for prime vineyards spread throughout Napa and Sonoma counties, including his own 40 acres of estate vineyards. Herrera expects his Russian River vineyards to be off 35 percent of their normal crop this year, which is much better than the 50 percent loss in 2015. Read full Press Release HERE.

“This is as ideal as it gets,” said Matt Crafton of Chateau Montelena in the August 23rd Harvest Report published by the St. Helena Start. Find full article HERE.

So with all of this GOOD NEWS, how are executive teams preparing future allocations and strategic sales plans to support consumer demand? 

Let’s reflect back on some predictions made earlier this year. Rob McMillan shared 2016 forecasts in the State of the Wine Industry 2016 Report published by Silicon Valley Bank on January 21st.  There were some predictions that really stood out for me as follows:

  • We are forecasting a sales growth range of 9–13 percent for the premium wine segment in 2016, down from 14–18 percent in the prior year.
  • We expect to see bottle prices rise by 4–8 percent above the $10 price point, and see both volume and price drop below $8 bottle price.
  • Today the smaller producers absolutely could not live without direct sales, and when we say small in this context, we are talking about wineries with less than 100,000 in case sales. Direct-to-consumer sales are now a healthy part of a winery’s revenue base.

Rob’s predictions above are panning out from what I can tell as we support wineries of all sizes nationally and gather real time feedback from direct sales and marketing managers. Connected consumers are demanding MORE from experiences with winery brands and in turn are willing to pay MORE if winery teams deliver the experiences desired. DTC wine is now a viable sales channel for smaller producers as I have seen a major shift in the mindsets of winery owners and stakeholders over the past three years. As I help winery teams develop and deliver satisfaction surveys to both club members and non-club customer segments, I see a common thread when analyzing responses. Loyal customers want VIP experiences and customer touch-points throughout the year and not just once a year at a winemaker dinner or annual club event. These touch-points include all interactions PRE-VISIT to elevated experiences ONSITE and high-touch tools and interfaces POST-VISIT when purchasing wine online and making reservations to return.  

As we look ahead to the holiday season and prepare Q4 Sales Forecasts, there are three questions that every DTC Sales Manager should be able to answer:

  1. How will consumers interact with your brand both in-person and online when GIFTING during the holidays?
  2. What opportunities do members have to share the holiday spirit with friends and family at your winery?  And, are you offering VIP reservations or event spaces to this important customer segment?
  3. How is your team preparing to surprise and delight your top customers during the holidays?

The key here is to be MEANINGFUL, RELEVANT and RESPECTFUL OF TIME in all of your interactions. We are offering a “Holiday Sales Prep Package” to help DTC Sales & Marketing Managers prepare high-touch and high-impact workflows that deliver results as we wrap up 2016. You asked and we are delivering more tailored solutions to fit the unique needs of your winery brand when it comes to DTC sales and marketing initiatives. Detailed information is provided below.

Wishing you and your team the best as you enjoy the bounties of harvest and prepare for the most wonderful time of the year.


Sandra Hess
DTC Wine Workshops 


A limited number of engagements are available between the weeks of September 12th and October 31st so be sure to secure your package early. $500 flat fee and includes two work sessions at a total of four hours.

Package includes:
1. Setup of three custom workflows and segmented lists.
2. Guidance around how to create high-impact subject lines, meaningful incentives and call-to-actions in email campaigns, social media marketing, point of sale documents and direct mailers.
3. Best practices for creating invitations and online store promotions that connect with target audiences.
4.  Recommendations for setup of a TOP 10% Customer Appreciation Campaign.
5.  Checklist and ROI Tracking document.

To purchase the package, contact: sales@dtcwineworkshops.com 


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.