Every year when we start the Direct to Consumer Survey I'm always a little nervous about participation. The effort required to sell wine has become more difficult by the day, and owners have to make choices about where to invest their precious time. Survey results could be viewed as nice-to-have versus a critical need, but in this case I'd argue this is a have-to-have for wineries with Direct to Consumer sales.
Businesses need metrics; guideposts like the chart to the left taken from the early survey results. Metrics can benchmark your success and determine a path.
This year it appears I've needlessly worried about participation. As of this moment, we are almost to 1,000 respondents as you can see in the headline chart, and that will be a record. That participation is equivalent to about 10% of all wineries in America!
Who is participating? Santa Barbara County in particular has shown impressive response rates this year, and for the first time it appears that Sonoma County will out-poll Napa County when the survey closes. Even Australia and Canada are reporting significant participation. It's interesting to see that wineries outside of the U.S. want these metrics as much as those the wineries here.
We sincerely appreciate the trust given us by all the wineries with this information. I believe we have established a position of trust in how we use the information. To state it clearly for anyone who might question: nothing in the survey is used for our marketing purposes. At this point after years of doing this if that were the real agenda, we'd be out of the survey business by now. In the end, we will finish with record participation and the results from this survey will provide the most diverse data set we've ever compiled.
This survey is worth your trouble. We work really hard at making your time invested efficient and a need-to-have value. We spend hundreds of person-hours pulling apart the data at the end and converting it to information. We then send participants the results of the research. To me, this is the best value anyone will find for a 10-15 minute investment of time. Here's that catch: The benchmarks are only available to those who complete the survey. Isn't that an investment well worth making?
If your winery hasn't yet participated, this is the last chance as the survey will close Thursday the 24th.
Start the survey now: http://bit.ly/1U0KuSa
Please promote the link in your favorite social media platform, or even better - please forward the link to your winery colleagues and ask them to participate.
If you would like your AVA to participate, we will also send them free Regional Benchmarks for their own use if we have a statistically significant sample size and an address to send the information.