The Grapevine

Retail Wine Marketing – Virtual Wine Tastings

August 7th, 2013

Some things can’t be done virtually, right? Like, for instance, wine tasting. Apparently, that’s no longer true. [level-members]

We read recently of a “Virtual Wine Tasting” program from the folks at Total Wine & More.

It happened about a month ago and was conducted via in-store streaming video. Total Wine is a multi-location wine retailer, and the virtual tasting allowed them to conduct one tasting (led by Caymus winemaker Chuck Wagner) and include 50 retail locations.

Technology is disrupting more and more industries more and more quickly, from distance learning putting the squeeze on traditional higher education to radiology and low-level legal work being outsourced to less expensive labor markets. So ignoring tech’s impact on our business is not a wise option. Even those of us who thought we were immune are susceptible to being “disintermediated,” as the business-school types say.

But what of virtual tastings? Most of us don’t have 50 locations – or the buying power to attract Chuck Wagner. So what’s in this for us?

How about a different kind of virtual tasting – one where your customers buy the wine, bring it home and have a party with friends built around the tasting. You can even supply recommended menus.

The novelty factor alone may be enough to attract an audience, particularly if you begin promoting the event 6 weeks in advance so people can plan their evening and get their own invitations out. It’s a fun, inexpensive night together with friends that you could be a part of.