Stuffed car trunks and airplane holds of newly discovered wine being escorted home from wine regions by pleased holiday tasters is a common scene. Souveniers are pawns serving our emotional construct and consumer culture. But when it comes to tasting room visits, it just might make more sense to settle for a few photos, t-shirts, and caps instead of $600 cases.
I have been served gallons of wine at homes of excited wine region holiday revelers that wasn’t even worth the extra gasoline or baggage tariff. Brand impressions get formed and vintage after vintage gets acquired based on initial tasting room experiences. I don’t suggest wineries are anything but responsible deploying the array of marketing opportunities they rely on ranging from tastings and retail tours, label design, winery architecture, social media campaigns, etc. The savvy consumer just needs to take cover and stay focused on the quality of the drinking experience or risk owning lots of expensive mediocre wine when a $5 set of paper coasters would have sufficed.
Wineryprofitability.com is at once a good and bad place for consumers to visit. While the blog is a mildly useful read for wineries looking to maximize profitability and the authors reflect real business issues, there is not too much there about making better wine. That’s not their mission and I don’t mean to pick on the Richards who seem like nice people preaching b-school principles deployed by major national retailers and manufacturers of consumer goods to help winery owners drive more dollars from consumer pocketbooks to their own bottom lines. It’s worth a visit by wine fans whether you are about to trek through wine country or you just need a gentle reminder why informed buying and blind tasting in neutral environments support quality collections and future drinking. Here are a few titles of recent blogposts at wineryprofitability.com:
- The Customer Perspective: Increasing Tasting Room Spending
- The Customer Perspective: The Impact of Smell in the Tasting Room
- The Downside of Discounting
- The Customer Perspective: Reaching Wine Impulse Buyers–Part 1 of 2
Healthy wineries are good for wine enthusiasts and resources to improve production and management practice are productive. But strong balance sheets for wineries selling bland wine at high price points comes at the expense of consumers. The basic principles of making great wine and marketing to wine enthusiasts is diluted by shortcuts to profitability that are supported by consultants like wineryprofitability.com if unaccompanied by a primary mission of driving product quality. Here is an example from one of the referenced posts:
….what effect does the smell of your tasting room have on your customers desire to buy your products? I know, pretty direct questions. But since smell is one of the strongest of our five senses and has a high impact on what we taste, it may be an interesting thought to ponder for winery owners and tasting room managers….Retailers have been studying the impact of smell and its effect on customer purchasing for a long time and have been doing a great job putting their findings to work.
So the next time you are transported to another place by the color of the room’s wood, the perfume of the tasting room manager, or the aromas of fermenting fruit stick your nose deep in the glass and close your eyes and imagine the cold snowy night years away when you have the choice to open any wine in the world and ask yourself…”is this the one?”