How WELCOMING is your DTC Wine Brand?


As we prepare our Thanksgiving tables for time with family and friends, we also have an opportunity to thank long-term loyalists and top consumers. When we analyze key data points for a variety of winery clients across the nation, we identify key measures of success as well as areas for improvement. A common theme that high-performing DTC teams share is the focus on “consumer connection and appreciation”. When hospitality teams leverage hospitality service standards and the hospitality toolkit, guests feel welcomed and recognized. When these same teams take time to deliver welcoming messages and personal invitations, visitation increases.

The Covid Era has taught us all a lot about the need to personalize communication and keep things human as much as possible. Pulling away from tech to get more personal in how we connect and stay connected to key consumers is essential in today’s congested winery space. Picking up the phone, sending a personal email or instance message goes a long way in communicating care. With that said, how welcoming is your wine brand through all consumer touch-points? To give you a bit of inspiration, I invite you to watch this eight minute Ted Talk on “Hostmanship” HERE.

Below, I have provided some key questions to consider/actions to take as you tighten up your plans for the holiday season and build 2022 strategic direct sales plans. I also invite you to join me for a repeat of this months “2022 DTC Sales Success Webinar” scheduled once again for December 14th at 9:00-11:00 pacific. Find registration details HERE. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving holiday!

DTC Wine Brand “Welcome” Audit Questions/Tips:

  1. Block out a few hours to audit your wine brand through all digital outlets starting with your winery website. How welcoming is your content? Does your marketing team provide valuable offers to opt-in and engage within the first 1-3 minutes? How about your listings in winery associate pages, ratings/review sites and your Google Business page?
  2. How welcoming is your hospitality team at the tasting room? Do guests feel like the star of the show the moment they park their cars and walk up the path? Does the magic begin the moment a warm welcome and smile is extended? Th first 1-3 minutes sets the tone for the rest of the time on property and every second counts. DO prioritize a warm welcome every interaction by placing a Greeter Station at the front and schedule a dedicated person for this role.
  3. How welcoming are you when it comes to hospitality referral partners and their guests? Does your wine brand make it easy for neighboring hotel, restaurant and adventure companies to refer? Does your hospitality manager or owner foster these referral relationships and provide dedicated points of contact for referral business? Does your team welcome referral partner contacts in a few times a year for a private event?
  4. When visitors drop by for a tasting without a reservation is your hospitality team annoyed or are they trained to make everyone feel welcomed? Finding out WHO the visitors are before saying no is critical in fostering relationships. Four people stopping by on the fly can be best friends of the owners, winemaker, etc. OR even restauranteurs who have carried your wines for 5+ years. Do take time to get to know who every visitor is before responding to drop in requests. Provide options and accommodations such as a “modified tasting or tour” whenever possible to remain a welcoming wine brand in your wine region.
  5. Do you welcome member referrals and give them the VIP treatment? This is low hanging fruit and in too many situations, hospitality teams don’t give a lot of love to member guests as they think they are only visiting for the comp tasting. This is not the case in most situations as member guests have commonalties and will become a part of your loyalist community if welcomed the right way.
  6. Does your marketing team welcome in members of the press and judges a few times a year? The simply gesture of scheduling a few press tour days can go a long way in communicating a welcoming message to these key influencers.
  7. Does your hospitality team welcome in long-standing vendors and partners once a year for a private party or event?Don’t forget about this group of loyalists when developing your engagement and reengagement strategies for 2022.


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About Sandra Hess

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