Personalize your Wine Club for Success!

It’s a message fresh from a recovering economy. The consumer wants two things from the purchase of a wine or anything else for that matter. We want something we find value in and we want a deal on it. Nothing could be clearer. So for a winery, how exactly do you do that?

Well, the first step as usual is admitting that this is a real situation that requires attention. After that, let’s try and understand what exactly is going on here and where the opportunities are to better connect with today’s consumer. One of the items we all need to understand is that the wine consumer has drastically changed in the last ten years. We now have a younger, more wine savvy consumer who knows more of what they want. They also know what they are – and are not – willing to pay for. Bear in mind these consumers live and breathe in the Social Media space.

But before this, I just have to share a story about two banks. Bank of America and California Bank & Trust. One day, I receive a phone call from a lady with B of A. She tells me “Anthony, your personal account manager, would like to meet with you.” Wow, you mean someone is assigned to little-old-me? As I always do, I get excited to think maybe they finally figured out that I am human and for the MILLIONS of dollars that pass through them annually for my personal and business needs, they finally either got a clue or bought a vowel or something. I ask the lady “That’s super, when can Anthony come to my office to meet with me?” It’s that awkward pin-drop moment. She says “Well, Anthony is only going to call you and I am calling to set up the call”. Ok, let me get this straight – she’s calling me to set up a call. I said “Well, I will talk to Anthony, but only if he can pick up the phone and call me directly as he should be setting his own appointments, wouldn’t you agree?” Silence followed by “He doesn’t do that” leading me to believe of a bigger-than-Oz presence. It’s been two months and no call.


I have also been working with California Bank and Trust, WineMatch’s Bank since late 2009. Mark, my banker, has been to my office a dozen times, and my house twice when I could not make the connection. He has lunch over at the office once a month and we round-table it with my employees and he shares current banking issues, takes questions – a knowledge transfer of sorts. He knows who I am, I like blue cheese, have a horse, a wife and two daughters – and he knows their names, including the horse! He brings other bank folks by to help service my other needs as well, but always performs the intro himself (Anthony from B of A, can you hear me now?). I also know that Mark loves football, is married and is not afraid to admit and rectify a bank error as one time, a couple hundred dollars went in the wrong bucket – no big deal, but I was able to pick up the phone with someone who knows me and my account, and it was rectified immediately! This experience just made my bond stronger. That’s the objective, right?

Time to cycle back to the wine world. Here’s the all-too-common scenario. You sign up for a wine club and never hear from them ever again – talking years here. Another winery I belong to calls periodically, but never to asks me if I actually like what I am getting, but she’s always happy to try and up sell me. Folks, time has changed and so must you!

It’s not that simple nor that complex, just somewhere in between. The consumer has changed since the economy tanked, and probably for the better. They are younger, smarter, more educated, and want to get the value proposition right each and every time. This means the winery needs to know what they like to drink. Unfortunately, this is not information wineries tend to keep on hand, but should. I am talking about pinpoint wine marketing. Here are a couple examples about how we could do things better:


Pierre’s Example: Pierre, a Frenchman in his 40’s, belongs to your “Red only” club. So you send him all your reds. Cabs, Pinot Noirs, Zins, Syrah, and even Grenaches! But which ones does he prefer? Stop for a minute and let’s take a French perspective mental inventory. We’re talking three distinct styles of varietals here. So much they have regional names of the their own. Bordeaux for the Cab, Burgundy for the Pinot Noir and Rhone for the Grenache and Syrah. Secretly, Pierre wishes he could get just the Bordeaux and Rhone blends. You don’t know, but you have no clue the day he cancels the wine club subscription as it’s just a numbers game, right? But it’s not a numbers game and hopefully you’ll find another Pierre!

Here are the steps that should have been taken to keep Pierre’s business. After the first shipment, then again after the first few shipments, you should have called to ask what he liked and disliked. Bottom line is you should have the pick, pack, and ship process have Pierre’s likes and dislikes and tailor it to him. Pierre very well may have preferred a deal on buying more of the ones he liked, in lieu of getting one of everything and not having enough ‘friends’ to give the ones he does not prefer away! You could have actually increased your sales here.

Rebecca’s Example: Rebecca, a gal in her 20’s, came into your tasting room a few times, but there’s something about her you need to pick up on. She likes white wines and she likes them unoaked – Chablis style, not Fume style. So you can put a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier or Roussanne in front of her, but please no oak! She signs up for your wine club as she feels your unoaked Chardonnay is to die for, and then cancels after she receives ‘oak city’ whites.

Again, you used the “one-size-fits all” approach and got bit. Going back, to pick, pack and ship, we could offer the same options to Rebecca as we did for Pierre. And now, they actually know that you care.

Ironically, we have all these computers and databases and we need to use them to better serve us or demand more from those of you using outsourced Wine Club systems. Keep it up, and we’ll create one that better tailors wine club shipments!

At WineMatch, we want to give you better tools to more precisely market your wine as that is key. Literally, for $100 or less a wine, a few measly cents a day, we can help you rock the wine world with both Social Media integration and presenting deals on wines they already like!

Imagine a consumer seeing something they like and then a deal on it!

That’s WineMatch – All aboard!

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About misteredwine

Owner of WineMatch.com, Roundbrix.com, love wine, horses, things done right, my three girls and two boys, Paris and most things French, technology that works, Rogue River Blue Cheese, a day off!
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2 Responses to Personalize your Wine Club for Success!

  1. Love this article and the all that you do at Winematch. So, what do suggest for a wine club with 1500 or so members? How can we be efficient and accomodating to so many?
    I would like our club members to know that we really do want them to love our wines and feel as though their needs and wants are being addressed, if not fulfilled. Can you help?

    • misteredwine says:

      Julie and I had a ‘fruitful’ telephone discussion! We forged some new thinking in the way the newer consumer wants to see thing.

      FOR THE CONSUMER: Make it simple, make it clear, give me some wiggle space in selecting not only what I prefer, but more importantly, wines we would prefer not to receive. And when sending wines, let’s get the timing to be special – before Thanksgiving and Christmas might make it one less item the consumer needs to think about in preparing that special holiday dinner. Hey, if you let them sign up to the wine club using their facebook account (like WineMatch) you also can send them Birthday specials – I know I love it when someone remembers my Birthday!

      FOR THE WINERY: Hey, it’s a different consumer today – a mobile-device toting, no kids until 30, BMW-driving, socially connected being. I recommend a maximum three clubs and have differing intervals, either monthly or quarterly, but if you go with quarterly as opposed to monthly, also let the consumer know you’re saving them some $150 per year (or more) in shipping charges – they need to know. Perhaps converting to quarterly makes a lot of sense in streamlining. Picture this – Three different wine clubs ship every quarter, so each month it’s a different fulfillment model but it’s a steadier stream, allowing easier customization of one program at a time. I remember the jingle from the old hamburger days “Hold the onions, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us . . . “. If we can see that perhaps that the fulfillment model needs to be more flexible, it might make it easier. As a consumer (me), I care more about what I don’t want you to send, then what you send. As an example, say I don’t like Sauv Blanc, but would gladly take two of the sames chards – you just won with me. The time to ask if there are wines the consumer would prefer not to receive is when signing them up initially – it’s a tough question, but it may just grant you the loyalty you seek! Think of it as when the doctor asks you if you’re allergic to anything 🙂

      Thanks, Julie!

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