The Grapevine

Retail Wine Shop Marketing – Educate Your Customers

October 16th, 2013

Help your customers get more comfortable with wine. The more they know, the better off you’ll be. [level-members]

Early on in my wine drinking career, my wife and I attended a series of tastings with Willie Gluckstern, author of The Wine Avenger. His take on wine, which he illustrated through a series of tasting flights throughout each evening, was that the usual wine suspects aren’t always the best choices for food/wine pairings. He also pointed out that there are just as many lousy $50 bottles as there are $15. (I’ve never tested that assertion. Part of me thinks it can’t possibly be true. And part of me thinks there’s a lot more competition at $15 – you can’t be noticeably worse than the competition and survive, can you.)

Whether you agree with his stance on any of these issues or not, Willie did a great job of simplifying the world of wine, which  to many people, is a mystifying fog of half-truths and off-putting snottiness.

Offering the same kind of welcome to newer wine drinkers can be a great way to build a business. Even more sophisticated wine drinkers have blind spots and love learning more. So keep copies of less dense wine guides around the shop. (Willie’s book is available at Amazon.)  Offer to lend books or articles to customers showing an interest in learning more, or in learning more about a particular region or varietal.

As the old TV commercials used to say, an educated consumer is our best customer. The more they know, the more they’ll thirst for knowledge – and wine.