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April 23, 2007

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Paul Mabray

Amen my friend. Amen. The difference between web marketing and print marketing seems to be a difficult transition for our industry. Market dynamics are forcing wineries to learn faster and faster. I am a believer that they will.

Inertia - Powering the Wine Revolution

---Paul Mabray - CEO

robert mcintosh

I agree in principle, but keeping that sort of thing updated in the real world (of any country, especially the multi-tiered distribution of the US market) is virtually impossible.

It is a nice idea, but it always causes frustration when a well meaning site sends someone to the wrong retailer/restaurant.

As for retail stockists, as a brand owner you don't always want to get involved in the issues arising from price comparisons that the internet allows, so linking direct to retailers can also cause distribution headaches.

All in all, I can see why a brand such as French Rabbit would not do this.

Mary B.

Another point to consider is that most distributors are very poor about relating to a winery where the wines are sold. When the distributor buys pallets of wine from the winery, it becomes "their" wine and they do with it as they please. It's a rare distributor who shares depletion reports with a winery, and then usually only to favored accounts. Aside from the time and paperwork involved, distributors resent it when wineries try to micromanage their sales, saying, "I want my wine here . . . I don't want it there."

My distributor, HarvestGate, is a pleasant exception to that rule. They send me PO's with retailer information for every sale, which I then use to build my retail sources database for the website, but even so, as Robert pointed out, it's almost impossible for me to know which accounts still have the wine . . .

Mike Duffy

Robert, I can see it from the winery's point of view, as both you and Mary describe. But those darn consumers don't really care about that, do they?

I think a winery that wants to be successful needs to make it easy for consumers to find and try their wine. There has to be a better answer than making me call a distributor - unless I am totally driven (which I am not for an undistinguished wine like French Rabbit), I am not likely to make that effort. Maybe for a bottle of Dover Canyon....

Let's say I call the distributor, and they don't want to help me. Do I get a good impression of French Rabbit?

As Paul Mabray keeps pointing out, direct to consumer is the way to take the destiny of your winery into your own hands.

And Mary, even if an account is sold out, at least it is someone who knows your wine. A customer calling them to inquire will probably get a decent answer, and it encourages the retailer/restaurant to order more Dover Canyon when available.

Demand-pull is a very powerful signal in the market. It's easy enough to suggest that "because our wines are so popular, we strongly recommend you call the restaurant or retailer to make sure it's still in stock."

It's nice to hear there are distributors like HarvestGate that are transparent to wineries. What else can wineries do to help potential customers experience the wine for themselves?

robert mcintosh

I still think that it is impractical, but I understand what you are getting at.

One key thing to remember, particularly outside of the US (I mainly know the UK) is that importers/distributors might not actually want the producer to have a full database of where their wines are sold for fear of it being taken to a competitor as a target list if the producer switches.

How about turning your suggestion on its head though, and get CONSUMERS to register where they have found the wine? There are other examples of this ('nice' tokens, books, etc.) where individuals who come across the wine are encouraged to visit the producer's site and register where they saw it, and maybe even rate it. Some form of incentive linked to on-bottle promotion might get people interested!?

Brand Design

The way you package and label your product is important. First, packaging protects it from physical, chemical and microbiological invasion. The package also provides a medium for presenting advertising messages and other important information to the consumer. And finally, the package is one of the greatest influences on a consumer's decision to try your product.

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