Tasting Room Visitation DOWN & Private Client Sales UP This Holiday Season

[November 30, 2022 – Sandra Beals prev Hess] Consumer spending on domestic wine, including bulk imports, increased nearly 9% versus last year to $54.9 billion in the past 12 months, as winery direct-consumer shipment value gained 1% in October to $608 million according to Wines Vines Analytics. On the flip side, 440 wineries in California reported an 18.1% decrease in tasting room visitation in September according to our friends at Community Benchmark. This is a trend we have been watching closely since May of this year.

There has been a lot of speculation about why fewer consumers have visited Northern California tasting rooms this past spring through fall. With the rising costs of doing business at the brick and mortar level due to supply issues, many small wine brands have had to raise prices at the same time room rates drastically increased in most wine regions. While many of our Northern California winery clients experienced significant increases in visitation last year, due to cancellations of air travel due to the pandemic, those same travelers rescheduled their vacations in the spring and summer of this year. We saw member party tickets at a 50-60% level this year compared to the past three years for most of our clients in Napa and Sonoma. So what are our clients doing to make up for the difference?

Here are the Top Three Strategies we have helped our clients successfully leverage since May to make up the difference:

  1. Launch of a Private Client Services Manager or Division to reengage first time, qualified buyers and get to the second sale faster. We continue to build upon the largest increase in average bottle price of $41.16 (wines shipping direct to consumer) last year through more high-touch/concierge style service in between visits.
  2. Launch of Customer Journey Maps to focus in on top two revenue generating activities including stronger partner referrals and reengagement opportunities. These activities range by wine brand sales model and region but we focus in on low hanging fruit where we can expect greatest outcomes.
  3. Development of Focused eCommerce Campaigns via email and digital marketing.

While tasting room visitation is still down throughout Northern California, the eCommerce & Private Client sales channels represent strong opportunities now and in the year ahead. Watch for our 2023 DTC Wine Workshops Web Training and Coaching Calendar set to release December 9th. We invite. you to connect with a DTC Wine Workshops Consultant to get a jumpstart on your 2023 Direct Sales Initiatives HERE.