2023 Direct Wine Sales Key Learnings & 2024 Training Tools

[December 27, 2023 – Sandra Beals]

Our clients have much to celebrate as we wind down a year focused on strengthening and building in the direct wine space. I am pleased to share these 2023 Direct Wine Sales Key Learnings. We worked together to build “Wine Consumer Journey Maps” in a variety of forms to deepen consumer connections and properly invite new wine enthusiasts to engage. “Consumer Communication Guideline Documents” were also developed and adopted by many high-performing winery teams across the nation. And last but not least, “Private Client Services” departments were launched to maximize direct wine sales opportunities in between visits. As most wine regions experienced a downturn in visitation for the first half of the year, many of our clients made up for the loss in tasting room sales by extending personal and valuable invitations to reengage and repurchase.

So, what were the Key Learnings for High-Performing Wine Brands in 2023 you ask? Here are the top five:

#1 More personal communication and less automation matters when retaining and growing. Communication teams need to know how to communicate with consumers by leveraging insightful segmentation.

#2 Customized communication methods are now a necessity to remain relevant. No longer can direct to consumer teams rely on email campaigns as the main tool for staying connected. Phone, text, and social instant messaging are now the top tools.

#3 Luxury lifestyle partnerships expand reach and grow consumer contact lists. I moderated a panel discussion at this year’s Wine Industry Sales Symposium held in Santa Rosa where a few wine industry leaders shared their success stories. Today, wine brand loyalists want to be a part of a winery journey that compliments luxury lifestyles, passions, and interests. Knowing which lifestyle partners compliment the wine brand journey is a critical piece of the puzzle when leveraging these type of partnerships.

#4 Effective storytelling tools and journey maps lead to longer/larger consumer lifetime values. Data doesn’t lie, especially when it comes to tracking average order values and conversion ratios to specific storytelling and journey map tools in-person as well as in between visits. Proven methods lead to repeatable formulas of success in the direct to consumer wine world.

#5 Wine consumers crave honesty, commitment, and care as we work to cut through the noise. Those brands who made the investments place, people, and premium products from the get go continue to reap the biggest benefits when selling wine direct. With so many choices today, more consumers are attracted to these iconic brands who have the greatest assets to offer.

As the wine industry experiences heavy brand consolidation and increased competition from alternative drink categories such as ready to drink (RTDs), these top five key brand differentiators have helped many notable brands stay ahead. In addition to these factors, I keep a close eye on wine consumer demand and buying trends that have reduced the size of today’s target market. According to a recent Gallup report, the number of US adults under the age of 35 who drink alcohol has fallen to 62% — down from 72% a decade ago. And of the adults that drink alcohol – they are now drinking less with fewer than four in 10 adults now drinking regularly.

Do you have your “2024 Direct to Consumer Strategic Sales Plan” dialed in? I hope that you find these key learnings helpful as you finalize your plans and prepare for a productive year ahead.

As we continue to deliver ideal blends of talent, tools, and technology to wine brands across the US, Canada, and Australia, our 2024 DTC Wine Workshops Calendar is now available for the first half of next year. I invite you and your teams to attend these live webinars that will be led by some of the best in the industry. Register for any three or more and receive exclusive access to my Direct Wine Sales Book Club next year. I will also include a one-hour coaching session on any topic from the book club key learnings. Explore the “Five Funnels Webinar” ideal for small winery owners and managers. Get step-by-step instruction on effective winery branding. Start the year off with the “2024 Direct Wine Sales Essentials Webinar”. Start the important process of “Winery Family Succession Planning”. Looking for a webinar not listed in our calendar? Reach out HERE to chat about a customized web training program delivered by members of the DTC Consultant Network.

Cheers to much success in 2024! Sandra

About Sandra Beals

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