Sunday, March 24, 2013

How to Have Others Pay for Customer Acquisition

Last week I had the opportunity to head off to the Bloomberg studios in San Francisco and participate in a wine panel with the still somewhat lovely and modestly talented Michael Honig of Honig Vineyards & Winery, and the witty and much more attractive Bill Price Chairman of the Vincraft Group. If you didn't get a chance to see the give and take, you can take a look above if you give a hoot. The event was also covered by Steve Heimhoff in his Blog so its possible if you are in the wine business, you are probably already saying to yourself,
"Self?...... Who cares about a wine panel even with attractive and slightly weathered male models? I might as well read the back of wine bottles ....... special soils with long days and cool nights ... blah, blah, blah. Time to go watch bud break.

My mother's review of the segment was the chairs seemed uncomfortable, I needed to sit up straight, and I was the smartest and most handsome boy on stage. She said it was amazing! Then again, she used to be proud of my finger paintings ( .... no not the ones I did when I was at Hillview.)

You might think the over-educated Ivy-League Bloomberg folks would bail us out and make the panel compelling? Those gentlemen must be worth a listen? Sadly to me, after watching this you will most likely come away saying,
"Self? ....... I can't believe that host dude Jeff made a mistake introducing the name of this Blog! Isn't that some sort of professional breach for a member of the Paper, Ink & Lies Union #911 to insult a fellow professional writer.?" 
Personally, I think Jeff has blog envy. No matter. There is another person who was interested in this wine panel: the wine consumer.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What's the One Job Wineries Can't Fill?

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According to the SVB Wine Conditions Survey we ran in late 2012, direct sales in different forms represented three of the top five areas of opportunity this year. So why don't all wineries just go head-first into the gaping chasm of the direct sales opportunity and shed the bonds and shackles of the three-tier system?

Really the whole thing with direct is a love/hate relationship. Winery owners love the higher margins but they hate figuring out the labyrinth of change required to install a top functioning direct program. To be fair, its really not an easy path with hurdles in so many areas including hardware that isn't integrated and skills that aren't available or in many cases even well defined.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

How Much Do Tasting Rooms Make?

I had a good meeting with one of my longest tenured clients this past month. We were talking over strategy and the discussion evolved to discussing their tasting room. Specifically, they don't have one - so should they?

My client is in a region where there is an agglomeration of tasting rooms. The winery is doing well without one. A little off the beaten path, if they did put one in they would need to develop some strategies to get people to the winery.

Wanting to hone in on a measure of expected return in their planning, they asked me what's the ROI of a successful tasting room? I could have given them the stock answer and talked about measures of profitability, but the reality is there is no such thing as an average ROI on a tasting room. If fact you are missing the point of a tasting room if success for you is defined as profit.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

How Much Value is there in Wine Tourism?

Many in business view another competitor moving into your territory as an affront to all that is fair and decent. Its the moral equivalent of "I was here first." Sometimes that kind of in-your-face competition is truly a net sum zero game. For example, there was a small drive-thru coffee station in the shopping center I frequent, but one day Peat's Coffee moved in. They survived about a year but now the drive-thru is closed. There are plenty of examples just like that but other times, competitors and related businesses cooperating together can have a positive impact on business conditions and instead of waring, can come together and win together.