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  • Writer's pictureBrad Johnson

The Top 5 Ways Wineries Can Distinguish Themselves Without Breaking the Bank

Every dollar counts when you’re trying to grow your winery business and sometimes we lack the creative mojo and need a jump start. In this brief article, I outline the top 5 ways you can distinguish from the hordes of wineries without breaking the bank.

Create a unique brand story - In his 2005 book, The Brand Gap, author Marty Neumeier states, "A brand is not a logo. A brand is not a corporate identity system. It's a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or company. Because it depends on others for its existence, it must become a guarantee of trustworthy behavior. Good branding makes business integral to society and creates opportunities for everyone, from the chief executive to the most distant customer."

One of the ways to create a unique brand story is for a winery to highlight its history, showcase its winemakers, or emphasize its commitment to sustainability. For example, a winery can create a story around a unique winemaking tradition or approach, such as using biodynamic farming methods or aging wines in a specific barrel type. A few genuinely innovative ideas for creating a fantastic brand story could include:

  • Creating a video series that showcases the winery's history, winemakers, and winemaking process engagingly and entertainingly.

  • Hosting a storytelling event that brings together customers and winemakers to share their stories and experiences with the brand. Prospective and current customers want to know your story, and bringing them together is a great way to connect.

  • Creating an interactive map that showcases the winery's vineyards and highlights the unique characteristics of each one, such as soil type, altitude, and climate.

Offer unique tasting experiences - By offering unique tasting experiences, wineries can go beyond the traditional tasting room and offer tastings in unusual settings or with food and wine pairings that showcase the winery's products in a new way. For example, a winery can offer tastings in a vineyard or barrel room or offer food and wine pairings that highlight the unique flavor profiles of their wines. A few innovative ideas for providing unique tasting experiences could include:

  • Hosting a virtual reality tasting that takes customers on a journey through the winery's vineyards, production facilities, and tasting rooms. Many of us did this in the early days of the Pandemic, and it might be a good time now to revisit such experiences.

  • Creating a self-guided tasting experience that allows customers to taste the winery's wines at their own pace and learn about the winemaking process through interactive exhibits. A genuinely creative winery could apply this idea and create tasting videos for each wine offered. This would allow customers to go solo in the tasting room or in the privacy of their own homes.

  • Hosting a blind tasting event that challenges customers to identify different wines based on their flavor profiles and aromas.

Leverage technology - To leverage technology, wineries can use social media, virtual tastings, and data analytics to create innovative marketing campaigns that engage customers and set themselves apart from competitors. For example, a winery can use social media to promote its products and events, offer virtual tastings that reach a wider audience, or use data analytics to understand customers' preferences better and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly. A few innovative ideas for leveraging technology could include:

  • Using artificial intelligence to create personalized wine recommendations based on customers' preferences and purchase history.

  • Creating an augmented reality app allows customers to scan a bottle of wine and learn about its history, winemaking process, and flavor profile.

  • Hosting a virtual wine auction that allows customers to bid on rare and limited-edition bottles from the comfort of their own homes.

Emphasize sustainability - According to a 2019 study conducted by Wine Intelligence, 75% of wine consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom believe it is essential for wineries to engage in sustainable practices. Additionally, 46% of U.S. wine consumers are willing to pay a premium for wines made using sustainable practices.

Wineries can use eco-friendly packaging, implement sustainable farming practices, or offer carbon-neutral shipping options to emphasize sustainability. For example, a winery can use recycled materials for its packaging, implement organic or biodynamic farming practices, or partner with a carbon offset program to make its shipping carbon neutral. A few genuinely innovative ideas for emphasizing sustainability could include:

  • Creating a zero-waste winery that uses every part of the grape and winemaking process, from composting the grape skins to using solar power to run the winery.

  • Hosting a sustainability festival that showcases the winery's commitment to sustainable practices and brings together like-minded businesses and organizations.

  • Creating a sustainability pledge that customers can sign to support the winery's sustainable practices.

Create a community - Study results in the Journal of Business Research found that customers who feel a sense of emotional attachment to a business are more likely to engage in positive word-of-mouth marketing and recommend the company to others. The researchers argue that businesses can create emotional attachment by fostering a sense of community and providing personalized customer experiences.

To create a sense of community, wineries can host events, create a wine club, or partner with local businesses to create a network of like-minded organizations that support each other. For example, a winery can host events that bring together customers and winemakers, build a wine club that offers exclusive benefits to members, or partner with local businesses to create a network of like-minded organizations that support each other. A few truly innovative ideas for creating a community could include:

  • Hosting a winemaking competition that invites customers to create their own blends using the winery's grapes and winemaking equipment.

  • Creating a virtual community platform where customers can connect, share tasting notes and wine pairings, and participate in virtual events.

  • Partnering with a local non-profit organization to create a community garden that showcases the winery's commitment to sustainability and provides fresh produce for the local community

About Brad: As a marketing coach, my philosophy is centered around integrative marketing. This means I believe in a holistic approach to marketing that incorporates all aspects of a business's operations, from branding and advertising to customer experience and sales. Combining these elements into a cohesive strategy, I help my clients create a solid and effective marketing program supporting their business objectives. My coaching approach is collaborative and personalized. I work closely with each client to develop a unified marketing strategy tailored to their unique needs and goals. I can't wait to help you!


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