Starting Up A Wine Tasting Group Any Advice
I am starting up a wine tasting group and I am looking for how-to advice to make sure I haven’t overlooked anything. We plan to take turns hosting once a month in our homes and each tasting will be a different varietal. I’m thinking of making it blind tastings and whoever brings the favorite bottle wins a prize. This adds a little competition to the night to spark things up a bit. What do you think? Which should be the first varietal? Also, I am interested in growing the group so I’m looking for advice on that as well.
Tips For Starting A Wine Tasting Club
- Ideal club size is anywhere from 8 to 16 people. You can start with just a very small group and it will build from there.
- Start by hosting the first wine tasting party.
- Send out an invitation with all the details about the event. Emphasize fun and education. The last thing you want is intimidation.
- At the first meeting set the guidelines for the club. Perhaps, choose a name for the club. Decide on meeting dates, hosting assignments, and the theme for the next tasting. Decide on what foods will be served. Is it pairing appetizers with the tasting or is it dinner after the tasting?
- Is always a good idea to have a person as the designated recorder or secretary. The main responsibility is to make sure they keep all the scoring results and send them out.
- Choose a scoring method and stick to it for all meetings. Free Score Cards.
- Following the scoring, the real fun and learning begin when you discuss each wine. Jim: I thought Wine 1 had no aroma. Joes answer: Are you serious, you must have cold.
- You can follow a real wine club, the Vintage Wine Tasters, and their blind tasting adventures at Wine Values and Bargains.
What’s The Size Of Your Wine Cellar
If you have a wine cellar , you need storage that can fit the exact dimensions of your space. Most cellars are purposefully small in order to control temperature and humidity. If youd like to maximize the space in your cellar, consider going vertically with your racks so that you can take advantage of the wall space.
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Does Someone Have To Be Available To Sign For The Deliveries
Yes, someone 21 years or older must be present to sign for the shipments. Shipping to a business address is encouraged, though not required. You may also provide a local UPS store or FedEx Hold at Location address to use and make arrangements for shipments to be received there on your behalf. Please note that we cannot ship to PO Boxes.
Join An Existing Club
When I got started, I was just seeing what other whiskey groups do and how they operate, says Charles Grabitzky, founder of the Saratoga Whiskey Club in upstate New York. Some are really big, some are only 1012 people. Theres so much out there, and you can pick and choose what resonates with you.
He suggests performing an online search for your city or town, combined with your preferred pour and club. Hashtags on Instagram also can help point the way.
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Pricing And Shipment Considerations
When structuring your wine club, keep it simple! Think what it will be like when you have hundreds, even thousands of wine club members. The more pricing or configuration options you provide, the more difficult and time-consuming it will be to create and process orders. Here are some common configurations:
Red Club, White Club, or Mix of Red and White
3, 6, or 12 bottles
Monthly, quarterly, or yearly shipments
Also, if you are going to offer a discount, consider doing so on shipping, not on your product. Youve poured your heart and soul into your product – set a price that you think it is worth and stick to it. Build incentive to join a higher bottle-count club by providing zero-cost shipping at the best level, 50 percent off of ground shipping at the mid-tier, and 25 percent off shipping at the low tier.
Why A Wine Tasting Club Matters
- Wine is a constant learning experience. A wine club will accelerate your wine education.
- You will taste wines from far and wide and many different varieties of wine. Varieties of wine you never heard before.
- You will become a better wine shopper, saving money and time on wine
- Your wine tasting senses will improve immensely
- Your wine appreciate will become greater
- You will discover incredible wine values. Ones not touted by wine publications or wine critics.
- Wine evokes emotions and bonds people. Wine clubs nourish comradery.
- Wine tasting clubs relieve stress and sooth the soul.
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All Of Our Clubs Offer The Following Benefits:
- Winery rewards program
- $1 shipping on all 12+ bottle orders through 2021
- Member Exclusive Wines
- 25% off current release wines
- Complimentary tasting for up to 4 people
- Invitations to member only events
- Virtual tasting events
Perfect for those who seek to get acquainted with our Highwayman Wines. We choose our favorites but you can customize too! You do YOU! With 4 bottles twice per year–you can play around–see what speaks to you! C’mon–dip your toes in!
Shipping months are March & September Average cost $120+ tax & shipping
This club receives 2 winery reward points per dollar spent.
For all you wine adventurers and enjoyers of all things quite civilized. Our team picks the faves but tailor this to suit your style of sipping–at 6 bottles twice per year and 1/2 off shipping, you can sip and cellar–with enough left over to share with friends and family. Insane value here with 3 points per dollar!
Shipping months are March & September Average cost $175+ tax & shipping
This club receives 3 winery reward points per dollar spent.
You. The entertainer, collector and general enthusiast of all good things. This club is for you. A case of incredible wines, selected by us but tailored by you, delivered to your door.This gets your juices flowin’. Twice per year–shipping included and 4 points per dollar. Mic. Dropped.
Shipping months are March & September Average cost $350 + tax
This club receives 4 winery reward points per dollar spent.
Forget The Book Club And Start A Wine Tasting Club
Do you like wine, do you buy wine, do you drink wine with friends? If yes, you should start a wine tasting club. Chances are you are in a book club or know someone closely that is in a book club. A wine club is similar in many respects but much more fun. This article will tell you the amazing benefits of a wine tasting club and how to get one started.
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Did It Have Delivery To My Town
Every online wine club has a wine delivery service that brings delicious wines from around the world right to your door. The best wine delivery service will deliver nationwide – but there are some states that are too far to receive free deliveries. These may include Hawaii and Alaska.
Now, you may be wondering: are there any wine shipping boxes near me? Where can I find the best wine clubs near me that suit my needs? In many cases, it pays to take a closer look at the wine club evaluated in my reviews to understand where they can deliver, what locations are eligible, and which locations are too distant to receive services.
Research And Materials For Your First Wine Club Meeting
For your first club, have your leader bring a tasting sheet for everyone in the group and some information on the basics of tasting wine: looking at wine, swirling wine, smelling wine, and sipping wine. Lucky for you, you just have to click our Wine 101 section to find this information. You can also send these links out to the group in advance. How convenient!
The tasting sheets are there not to formalize things, but rather for your group to just get a sense of the kind of questions people think about when they taste wine they are not to be taken too seriously. Let the conversation go wherever it needs to to create an enjoyable, if not educational, evening! Its probably handy to also print a few wine smell and taste charts to pass around to the group . Keep in mind, this is just so everyone can get an overview of the things people consider when they taste its not an absolutely necessary step to start your wine club.
Next, instruct your members to each bring their favorite bottle of wine and set a price range when we started out, our range was between $10-$20 although it may change from one meeting to the next depending on your theme. Then tell your members to ask their wine merchant to share a little information about the bottle: a few factoids about the region, the grape, or the producer. They can also find a lot of this research online.
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Choose A Software Platform That Has Aged Well
Experience is an important part of choosing a business partner. As an online merchant, partnering with an experience vendor is absolutely critical for the success of your business. Ecommerce is a relatively young field, and an experienced partner means someone who has been there since the beginning.
How To Make Your Wine Club Program More Successful
Wine club memberships are highly lucrative because they help you increase your volume per customer. This works to drive customer acquisition costs down while maintaining higher profit margins.
Retailers across a number of industries have been increasingly using loyalty and membership programs in the past few years. Because companies need to compete for customers in both their physical locations and online stores, loyalty programs can support this initiative, The New York Times reported. Reward programs may be key to engaging customers for an extended period of time, and they can improve client retention.
This is especially true for wineries. Club members are more likely to visit more often and spend more each time, which makes them your most valuable customers.
However, competition for memberships can be tight because wine lovers have so many options. You may need to consider how the levels of membership are structured and create some unique perks to give yourself an advantage.
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Determine Margin And Price Targets
A clear focus on price and margin targets will ensure that your wine club program doesnt turn into a money pit. Do this before you start shopping for wine and fall in love with bottles that your cluband its memberscant afford.
To determine pricing for a wine club, first consider what customers typically spend on a bottle of wine and make sure the per-bottle club price is in this general range. Consider the total spend the club is asking of customers each month and, if you expect theyll have sticker shock, scale back the number of bottles.
When setting margin targets, be sure to take into consideration any extra collateral pieces, packaging materials, processing fees, and delivery costs that you may be regularly absorbing, as well as the additional work involved with preparing notes on the wines. If its possible to buy wines on a quantity deal, decide if youll pass the savings along to the customer or add it to the bottom line.
In Ecommerce There’s A Huge Market For Wine
Ecommerce is a bustlusiness that experts are predicting will grow leaps and bounds over the next few years. There’s plenty of room for your business in the online economy. There’s also a huge market for wine. If you’ve ever been intrigued by the prospect of working from home and being your own boss, it’s time you learn a thing or two about how to build a wines ecommerce website.
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The Right Infrastructure Simplifies Everything
To make the leap from on-site only sales to eCommerce sales you will need the following:
A secure, online storefront to sell your wine online
A Point of Sale system, such as Square, to collect payments in person
A fulfillment system to ship wine to club members
A system for maintaining compliance and managing taxes
An email system to communicate details of shipments and promotions
A Customer Relationship Management system to track activities with customers and prospects
If the idea of signing up for, implementing, and learning these systems makes you break out in a cold sweat, we understand, but theres good news: we created VineSpring to simplify the DTC process for winery owners. VineSpring offers an online store that supports clubs, allocations, and fulfillment, plus it integrates with other software you might need for your club, including:
Develop Member Perks And Collateral Materials
While wine and producer notes, discounts on wine and classes, and early access to allocated wines are standard member benefits, you will want to offer additional perks that tie directly into your clubs goals. At Domestique, where the focus is on fostering a more open wine conversation, members receive playlists, participate in IG Lives, and are invited to join DEMI, an app-based platform for food and wine communities. Mom & Pops includes artwork, playlists, and featured items from local artists and makers in her community. At Vinya Winesin Miami, a combination wine bar/wine shop, Allegra Angelo is launching an Uber Credit program for members, so they can visit us in the store and feel good about getting home safely.
To reward recycling, Vinya Wines has a box recycling programmembers get a free bottle of wine for every two customized boxes they return to the companys drivers. Domestique does an annual run of wine club specific bags and encourages members to reuse them each month. Moorer says this helps promote that sense of community that were looking for. I love seeing people with their bags coming across the street because I know theyre coming to see us.
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It All Begins With Marketing
Youve probably heard of the 4Ps of marketing: Product, Price/Packaging, Placement, and Promotion. Lets start with your product – it goes way beyond just your wine, its your wine plus your brand, and your brand can make or break your wine club business. Thats because customers arent just buying your vintages, theyre buying your story.
Your brand communicates who you are and includes three main components:
1) Brand Positioning
Brand positioning is the foundation of your brand and tells your unique winery story. Ask yourself: Who is your winery? What makes it special? How is your story different from other winery stories?
The average wine collector belongs to multiple wine clubs. Differentiating yourself with a strong brand position is absolutely critical to your long-term success.
Here are some wineries who have great brand positioning:
2) Brand Identity
Your brand identity is the visual representation of your brand: the logo, color palette, typography/fonts, and image styles that illustrate who you are. A graphic designer can create a brand identity for you to reference as you promote your club. Typically, designers provide guidelines for using the brand identity elements along with digital files of your logos.
Wine Gifts Are Included In My Membership
Each wine club offers some great wine gifts, and as a new subscriber you may be eligible to receive a wine gift box with your first shipment.
Giving a wine club gift to friends and relatives is easy once youre a subscriber. You can add multiple shipments per month to your order, and customize your wine subscription gift according to your budget.
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First Things First: Know Your Laws And Set Your Goals
Understand how youre getting wine to your customer not just logistically, but legally. If you cant answer that, youre going to run into major headaches really quickly, says Chris Leon, owner of Leon & Son in New York City and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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Also, how will your customers pay for those wines? And how will you pay for them? If you need to commit to club-related purchases before your members have made their subscription payments, this could impact your shops cash flow, especially if your state requires cash payment on delivery. Make sure you understand your states specific laws regarding customer delivery options, online payments, quantity discounts, and distributor payment terms.
Give some serious thought to how your wine club program will tie into your shops philosophy. Will you be offering value, discovery, or exclusivity? At Le Dûs Winein New York City, general manager JT Robertsonexplains one of the goals of their monthly Grand Crew club was to promote lesser-known wines. There are wines we taste which are delicious and intriguing but are super limited and often obscure. We wanted a home for wines which would otherwise languish on the shelf, he says.
Look At Your Competition & Find Your Upo
You dont want to be like everyone else, BUT its important to know who is already in your space, and what theyre doing. Competitive research can help you understand whats working for wineries like yours, and what techniques havent held up. It can also help you determine what unique qualities you want to promote. What do you have that the competition doesnt? Maybe youre an innovative winery offering canned varietals that are more budget-friendly. Perhaps your wine is organic or sustainable. Or, maybe you make apple, peach, and apricot wines in addition to traditional grape wines!
Understanding how your competitors work gives you a leg up right at the beginning and helps you find the best ways to stand out in a crowded market space.
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