• Wendy, the Wine Writer

The Secret to Building Your Client Base And Boosting Wine Sales

If I could guarantee consistent wine sales, to repeat customers, several times a year, would I have your attention?

It’s actually easier than you might think. A well-designed and properly executed Wine Club not only ensures a steady market for your vintages, it also builds a loyal base of buyers who feel special because they are part of an exclusive group of wine collectors.

Wine buyers are a unique breed of consumers.

Obviously they enjoy the finer things in life, but they also appreciate having an inside track to the wines they enjoy. With thousands of different wines available at any given time, building a strong following for your wine is key to your ongoing success.

Offering a Wine Club is an essential way to increase distribution and brand recognition while making your consumer feel like a member of the family. Not all wine producers offer a Wine Club, but they should. Here’s why.

Setting Up A Wine Club

The three requirements for a Wine Club are simple:

  1. A selection of wines to be shipped at certain intervals throughout the year,

  2. A group of wine lovers who want wines shipped to their door on a regular basis, and

  3. A marketing system to promote and perpetuate the club.

The simplest club will offer a couple of bottles shipped to club members, usually once, twice, or four times a year. The more sophisticated clubs offer various levels of membership with the option to choose how many bottles are shipped and how often. Some clubs even cater to red wine lovers versus white wine lovers with different options for both.

Since the club member decides how many bottles and how often he will receive them, the experience is personalized to his needs and tastes. The member receives the preferred number of bottles of their favorite wine on a regular basis, without having to travel to the winery or a retail store, where they may not even find what they want.

At the same time, the producer enjoys consistent sales, improved customer relationships, and opportunities to expand sales to current consumers while enticing new customers to sample and buy their wine throughout the year.

A Sampling Of Benefits You Can Offer With Your Club

The fun part of creating a Wine Club is choosing a creative way to entice members. When it comes to club benefits, you are limited only by your imagination, your budget, and how large you want your club to be. Here are a few innovative ideas which might fit into your promotional plan.

  • Hold exclusive Wine Club Members Only events such as an "In The Vineyard" pruning event, a harvest "Crush Party," a new varietal or blend "Launch Party," riddling classes (for sparkling producers), concerts or art festivals at the vineyard, among others

  • Set up package deals with local hotels and restaurants to coordinate with your winery events where club members will receive a discount

  • Offer all red or all white shipment options

  • Provide food pairing advice and recipes to accentuate the characteristics of each club shipment

  • Introduce special library sales of older vintages not available to the general public

  • Provide exclusive rights to buy wine in advance, which could include a Barrel Tasting and Futures Party to promote the upcoming vintages

  • Designate small production, premium wines which are only available to club members

  • Set different price points to cater to different budgets

  • Propose options for the number of bottles per shipment and number of shipments per year

  • Promote special Members Only deals on winery swag such as shirts, caps, corkscrews, wine bags, picnic kits, and other accessories with your logo

  • Offer free shipping for a bonus shipment each year, and

  • Many more possibilities depending on your overall marketing plan.

The goal is to make your Wine Club unique and specifically designed to attract your target consumer. Once you have a club plan, the next step is getting the word out.

Marketing Is Key

Setting up the parameters of your club is only the first step. Now you need to promote your club and explain why everyone should join. Your target market needs to understand how they will benefit from joining your club, what makes it special, and why they need to join today.

The two most important places to promote your club are in your tasting room and on your website. Each location requires different promotional materials to explain the club and its unique benefits with a strong call to action to enroll. Your club promotions must be integrated into your overall marketing strategy to form a cohesive plan to attract new clients, strengthen current client relationships, and expand your brand recognition and reputation.

In The Tasting Room

Once a patron enters your property, you are 80% of the way to success. This person is your target market, traveling to you, asking for an easy way to buy your wine. Here are a few ways to capitalize on this scenario:

  • Educate your hospitality staff about the details of your club, the wines included, how often you ship, the special benefits for club members, various costs and cost savings, etc., and how to promote the club during wine tastings,

  • Scatter promotional items such as table tents, brochures, flyers, sign-up sheets, throughout the tasting area to initiate conversation about the club,

  • Host special events during the year which are open to the public to draw in potential club members where they will taste your wine and learn about the club,

  • Create banners, road signs, and other promotional items which can be placed in strategic places outside the tasting area to attract people who are driving by, or simply in the local area.

On Your Website

In today’s virtual age you absolutely must have a website to promote your wines. If you don’t have a website yet, setting up your online presence is the first step. [One of my favorite projects is writing the copy for stunning, personalized websites which suit my clients' style, design, short and long term goals, and marketing message. Contact me today to discuss your website needs.]

Assuming you have a website, promoting your Wine Club online should include:

  • Promotional copy for your club on every web page. Each page requires a different approach. For example, your Home page could have a sidebar box or a pop-up banner with a button to click for club information.

  • A designated Wine Club page accessed by a drop-down tab on the top banner of every web page allowing the web visitor to click directly to the Wine Club page.

  • The Wine Club page should be more than simple facts and details. This page is your best opportunity to encourage visitors to become members using vivid, compelling copy which describes why they need to join your club now.

  • A free benefit such as a short eBook about the basics of wine tasting, or perhaps a wine and food pairing chart, complete with a few detailed recipes to pair your Club wines with an amazing dish when the reader enters their email address.

  • Once you have a reader's email address, use a targeted email campaign to promote your wines in general, and your Wine Club specifically to this targeted market.

A Wine Club Is Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

Setting up a Wine Club is one easy way to expand your client base within your target market and receive the biggest bang for your buck. As opposed to cold-marketing strategies like print advertising or television ads which can be prohibitively expensive, a Wine Club will yield great returns for every dollar spent in its set up and promotion.

[As a member of several wine clubs in the U.S. I understand why consumers want to join a wine club. With my insider knowledge, I can create original web copy to launch a club, or rejuvenate an existing club, and improve sales and customer satisfaction. Contact me today to discuss your particular wine club needs!]

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