DTC Wine Sales News – December 2016


“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” – and this rings so true for many winery teams wrapping up 2016 and preparing end of year direct sales reports. According to Wines & Vines Analytics/ShipCompliant, Direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipments increased
in the tradit
ionally strong month of November. Sales topped $332 million, a 7% increase from November 2015. Shipments totaled 668,450 cases, a 20% increase driven by the movement of lower-priced bottles. Among bottles $60-plus, Cabernet Sauvignon led the way with 49% market share, but strong gains in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reflect the growing scope of DtC shipments.*

So what can we learn from this data? According to a report released in CNN Money on November 27th, more than 154 million consumers shopped in stores and online this past Black Friday, which was about 3 million more than last year, according to a National Retail Federation survey.** But the NRF, which tracks consumer visits and spending data, said those consumers also spent about $10 less on average – about $290 this year compared to nearly $300 in 2015. The NRF data shows more than 108 million people shopped online over the weekend, about 5 million more than last year.

We are seeing some common trends when reviewing our winery client data sets across the nation this past year that support the above facts and figures:

  1. Online buyers want a shipping discount every time. Online shipping promo codes are still the number one discount code chosen by online wine buyers. Now that online retailers are hip to the scene, consumers have become well versed at shopping online around the clock knowing that they will get a great deal on shipping. It’s no wonder that we saw an increase of 5 million online shoppers this past Black Friday. Be sure to have a solid flat-rate shipping strategy dialed in for 2017 and review a cost analysis study and include shipping discounts under your “marketing budget” for acquiring new online buyers. 
  2. Wine consumers are no longer a predictable and fixed demographical data set. Millennials (in general, people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s) last year consumed 159.6 million cases, or 42 percent, of all the wine sold in the U.S., surpassing baby boomers and Generation X, according to a recent survey by the Wine Market Council.*** When we look at how Millennials like to interact with brands, we have learned that they are very exploratory and like a lot of choice. This may support the 20% increase in lower-priced bottles shipped this past month. 
  3. Online store managers have learned to offer a solid product mix. As I audit winery websites across the nation monthly, I am seeing a growing trend. More online stores are offering a solid mix of wines by price-range and varietal. Appealing to the “collector” wine buyer is always a good move through club and allocation offerings. Why note offer a sampling of higher price-point wines to test consumer demand? At the same, time be sure to include entry level pricing between $18 and $30 per bottle to make is EASY for online buyers to explore your wines online. It’s not the first sale that is the most important, but indeed the second and beyond (thank you Rob McMillan for this awesome quote). Get your online buyers over the finish line with the right mix of price-points and shipping incentives. 

Does your team have the tools necessary to grow online wine sales by 20% minimum in 2017? Watch for the DTC Wine Workshops 2017 Online Catalogue releasing on January 3rd! We are offering 60+ workshops this next year with a heavy focus on direct sales conversion from in-person to online, customer retention, brand ambassador programs and DTC branding. Also, be sure to checkout the latest blog released by Ken Majers on “Talent Retention” as you look to hire for the new year.

Ready to get the ball rolling now? We have a group of Direct to Consumer Wine Consultants available to support your winery team on a project-by-project basis. Schedule an online training or a customized workshop at your winery. For a bit of extra inspiration, review the DTC Case Study Series here or checkout our latest Testimonials here.

We look forward to connecting with you in 2017 and are thankful for the support of our incredible clients and partners this past year.

Wishing you a warm and joyous holiday season!

Sandra Hess
DTC Wine Workshops 

* https://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=widc&widcDomain=dtc


JUST RELEASED! Guest Blog Post on “Talent Retention” featuring Ken Majer, author of four books on values-based corporate culture and leadership values and member of the DTC Consultant Network. “Keeping new talent is only one of the many issues wineries face as the industry is facing many changes.” READ FULL ARTICLE here.

New workshop announced for 2017! “DTC Wine Talent & Technology Match” will be co-presented by Ken Majer and Sandra Hess. Find registration details here


March 1st Yountville, CA DTC Wine Workshops is a proud of the 5th Annual Wineries Boot Camp to be held at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville. The Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco will inaugurate a unique awards program in front of 300+ wine industry marketing, sales and hospitality influentials, representing 150 + Napa and Sonoma wineries. Learn more here.


Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops, is a regular speaker at industry events nationally and internationally. Meet up with Sandra and members of the DTC Consultant Network at an upcoming event or reach out to schedule a workshop at your winery or regional association.

January 11th & 12th Concord, California. DTC Wine Workshops and the DTC Consultant Network are sponsors of the 10th Annual DTC Wine Symposium. Meet up with consultant network members and also join Sandra Hess at the “Reservations Revealed” Workshop as panelists uncover the true ROI of using reservation management tools to offer elevated tasting experiences.

March 15th Paso Robles, California. Sandra will be presenting a Customer Relationship Marketing Workshop at WIVI Central Coast 2017. Learn how to build your digital marketing plan using data to understand your customer. Sandra will lead a 45 minute workshop that includes a CRM Checklist.

February 28th Napa, California. Sandra will be serving as a panelist at the Seminar Group “Managing the Three Tier Distribution System” conference. Join Sandra at 4:00 to learn about the Effect of Increased Direct to Consumer Options.

March 1st Yountville, California. DTC Wine Workshops is a proud sponsor of the 5th Annual “Wineries Boot Camp” to be held at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville. The Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco will inaugurate a unique awards program in front of 300+ wine industry marketing, sales and hospitality influentials, representing 150 + Napa and Sonoma wineries. Learn more here.

Save the Dates! DTC Wine Workshops is once again partnering with CANVAS (Concierge Alliance Napa Sonoma) for a three-part workshop series taking place in Napa, Sonoma and St. Helena. Watch for event registration and locations mid-January but be sure to add these dates to your calendar: February 7th, May 10th and September 12th.

ONLINE WORKSHOPS: WATCH FOR THE 2017 ONLINE WORKSHOP CATALOGUE RELEASING JANUARY 3rd WITH OVER 60 WORKSHOPS TO CHOOSE FROM! The DTC Wine Management Academy dates have just released and can be found here.


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.