Tasting Room Newsletter January 2012

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  A newsletter for managers of tasting rooms, wine clubs, and DTC wine sales
  January 3, 2012
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The Buyer’s Continuum
Do you treat the person you have just been introduced to in the same way you treat your Mom? “Well of course not,” you reply, “what a silly question.” And yet many wineries do that very thing without even realizing it.
The Buyer’s Continuum is a core marketing concept that begins with the premise that all guests or customers are not equal. In fact, each one is at a different stage in their relationship with your winery. Some guests are customers you’ve just met. These are your prospects. At the other end of the continuum are your raving fans and brand ambassadors, just like (hopefully) your Mom. The rest are somewhere in between – your first-time buyers are on the continuum after prospects, while repeat buyers lead to your VIPs.    
Our first job in the tasting room is to determine where each guest belongs along this continuum by asking open-ended questions. Then, as in all good relationships, we seek to deliver what each guest needs in order to feel comfortable about moving to the next stage of the relationship. Prospects need to know that buying from you is a safe decision. First time buyers thrive on recognition. Repeat buyers expect you to understand their preferences. Brand ambassadors revel in respect and rewards. 
As the relationship deepens over time, so does the customer’s loyalty and lifetime value to the winery. Understanding how to move your customers along the Buyer’s Continuum, from prospect to brand ambassador, is very, very WISE.

Source: WISE Academy, www.wineindustrysaleseducation.com

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  Tasting Room in the Flesh
To Do and Not To Do
A couple of weeks ago I visited the Santa Cruz Mountains region. A 90-minute drive south of San Francisco, the area is famous for its university, beaches, wines and celebrities such as Randall Grahm.
To Do:
The first winery I visited boasted vineyards and hills overlooking the ocean. Soquel Vineyards is a 5,000-case winery with a nice tasting room, and the owner, Peter Bargetto, just happened to be working there that day. Nice… But nicer was the “reserve” tasting, which was offered 100 feet down a pebbled path, where guests are served three or four of the winery’s best offerings while watching the Pacific Ocean below. Wine expert Al Freitas was sure to point out the best of the wines—and the views.
Lessons to learn: Since wineries are often located in beautiful surroundings, take advantage of the ambience when pouring the wines (rather than facing the wall). Visitors will associate that exceptional visual memory with the wine.
To Do:
In the town of Santa Cruz, on Ingalls Street, about 10 wineries have formed the Surf City Vintners association and grouped their tasting rooms in the same block, which also is home to a bakery and coffee shop. I tasted at Vino Tabi and Vine Hill Winery, where the relaxed, friendly, convivial atmosphere made visitors feel like part of the team. The tasting rooms were so close to each other that you parked once and walked to one or several. I personally am not a fan (for enjoyment and business reasons) of one tasting room for multiple wineries, so I really liked that each tasting room had its own individual identity. And since you cannot go to all of them in one afternoon, there is ample reason to return.
Lessons to learn: When possible, welcome other wineries’ tasting rooms close to your own. Experience shows that since each one will have its own personality/attraction, each will attract different visitors and benefit from the diversity.
Not To Do:
Do not go against the law. Individuals found giving or selling alcoholic beverages to persons under age 21 will be prosecuted. In California, “Any on-sale licensee who knowingly permits a person under the age of 21 years to consume any alcoholic beverage in the on-sale premises, whether or not the licensee has knowledge that the person is under the age of 21 years, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”


Jacques Brix is Vice-President and Director of Sales, West Coast for Wines & Vines. This column is based on his personal experiences at winery tasting rooms.

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