A Blueprint for Small Winery Success

Great News for Small, Family Owned Wineries Selling Direct

We are talking about those wineries sometimes called Mom & Pop wineries…

The 4,000 or more  genuine artisans in California trying to successfully compete in a market dominated by the big boys.

Not talking about private labels and bogus brands, either. Just real wineries.

The fast breaking news is that with your direct to consumer sales and marketing efforts, you don’t have to go it alone. There’s another option, another card you can play.

But don’t relax with the club membership drives just yet. Maybe soon enough you can cut back on the concerts, theme parties, meet the winemaker dinners, and any other special events.

Not one, but two online wine sellers have come up with a win-win scenario to sell your wines. Sort of a blueprint for sustained sales.

First up is www.firstbottlewines.com the new offspring of www.lastbottlewines.com . A recent offering is a six-pack of Blueprint wines, part of Lail Vineyards, is a good example. For $299,  the sale includes these:

2016 Blueprint Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley(3)

2017 Blueprint Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley (3)

In addition to the obligatory 90+ score mentions and the bow to the 100 point winemaker, the site breaks new ground in two ways. First, it has a link to a recent background article about Lail and Blueprint wines from www.wineinsider.com.

Second, a click on to other Lail wines presents other wines in stock. So, in effect, this site serves as a wine shop representing the winery with no middle man.

What also caught my attention was the extra nice personal touch in giving lots of credit where credit is due to Robin Lail who is indeed a Napa Valley icon.

Moving on. Next up is www. regionwineclub.com  which is more than another wine club. Located in Sonoma, it is owned by a chef who is also a wine broker. The focus is on small wineries, real wineries. In his words, the mission is:

“To find the hidden gems, not found in your average supermarket wine isle casino.”

So no wines from the massive portfolios of Constellation, Treasury and Jackson Family.  No private labels. What, no Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc? no La Crema Pinot Noir? No Prisoner?

Right now, it offers wines from first-rate wineries such as Madrigal, Saracina, Talisman, Eric Ross, Rued, Copain, and Crocker & Starr.

The breakthrough here is the direct channel to the wineries. If the wine featured for sale is from a winery with a website, there’s a link to that website and its wines and wine clubs.

If no website, it provides contact information from email address to telephone numbers.

The extra touch here is that regionwineclub provides in-depth background for each winery it works with.

And, for additional real, helpful information instead of the hype and hysteria common to many websites, there are links to the websites for the Napa Valley Vintners Association and the Sonoma County winery association, a link to The Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and the Wine Institute.

Finally, you can even find private chef services in Sonoma County: www.chefadair.com

He is the man behind region wine. It is a new website, so apparently he is not quite ready to quit his day job.

So far he is working with wineries in Sonoma and Napa, but would likely add other regions.

To continue, totalwine & more has a featured category called “winery direct.” But it is not quite the same. For starters, it offers 3,329 wines direct from the winery, including 469 Cabernets.

A single winery can’t expect much of a personal relationship here. And many Bordeaux wines are included in the Cabernet section which makes me question Total’s definition of winery direct.

So, check out firstbottlewines.com which has a massive mailing list

and regionwineclub.com which will connect to the winery website and wine club.




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