The Grapevine

The Lessons of Barbera

September 17th, 2014

We’ve long been fans of Barbera – “the acid king of Italy,” as we heard it called years ago by Willie Gluckstern when we first fell for Barbera’s food-friendilness – and have been seeing it mentioned more and more of late. (Including this piece from Snooth last month. [level-members]

It’s great to see a less-heralded varietal get some recognition, of course, but we’ve also been thinking about how so often these trends start from the ground up. They’re organic rather than marketing driven.

In theory, that should give those of us on the front lines of retail early insights into what the next big thing might be. Granted, our customer bases usually make for pretty small sample sizes, and regional tastes can skew things entirely, but it’s still worthwhile to pay attention to what is and isn’t selling in your shop.

By pay attention, I mean pay more attention than the typical, “Oh, we’re low on Barbera. I’ll order more.” or even, “Oh, we’re going through Barbera pretty fast; I’ll increase my usual order.” I mean paying attention to what is selling so that you can talk about what people are interested in buying.

If Barbera is flying off the shelves, capitalize on the trend by including mention of it in your social media. Devote a weekly tasting to it. Feature it in your advertising or other promotions.

Of course you want to be careful what trends you jump on – trendiness is a sure way to turn off a not insignificant segment of your audience. But few businesses have gone broke selling what people are buying. [/level-members]