Direct Wine Sales 101: Key Questions to Thrive 

[April 23, 2024 – Sandra Beals]

In today’s competitive direct wine space, successful wine brands must have a laser-focused sales and marketing strategy in place to remain relevant. It pains me to hear winery leadership teams share that they simply don’t need a direct sales strategic plan. That sentiment may have rung true a decade ago when half of the number of tasting rooms across the nation existed – but no longer today with almost 12,000 visitor options. What was once the go-to winery in an iconic wine region in 2014 may no longer have the attention of the masses due to time constraints and too many choices. Whoever coined the phrase “build it and they will come” must have followed that up with something more accurate in 2024. How about, “personally invite key consumer audiences to connect in meaningful ways and they will come”?

To thrive in 2024 and beyond, any winery stakeholder or department head should be able to answer the key questions below with confidence and at any given time. I encourage you to gather as a community and talk through this list to ensure that every member of the leadership team has your formula of success dialed in. Reach out and let me know how you’re doing and what’s on your mind as you work through these questions. Cheers!

  • Do you have the right team in place to build long-term communities, inspire through stories, and deliver the unexpected?
  • Are you leveraging the ideal blend of talent, technology, and tools to cater to your brand loyalists and also stay connected?
  • What is your unique consumer direct selling proposition?
  • Why should wine enthusiasts invest time and money with your wine brand?
  • What are your exclusive consumer access points and how do they stack up against the competition?
  • Do you have more supply than demand? Why? Do you have a Wine Inventory Strategy in place?
  • Which wineries represent your top three competitors and why?
  • Which direct sales channels represent the greatest growth opportunities today and throughout the next year?
  • Does your direct sales team have an effective re-engagement model in place? Are qualified, first-time customers reengaging within 90 days through one of your sales channels at least 50% of the time? If not, why?
  • Do your digital outlets include invitations to explore your DTC offerings? Tasting Room, Events, eComm, etc.
  • Are key members of the press talking about your unique offerings and winery lifestyle stories?
  • Is membership the only reengagement invitation being extended to qualified customers? If so, this is a big miss today.
  • Where is your tribe? What are your top 10 direct sales regions? Do you have profitable engagement programs in each?
  • What is your next big thing? How is your direct sales team building and retaining loyalists based on their interests/desires?

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.