The Grapevine

Experience vs. Education – Sell Fun and the Wine Sells Itself

June 1st, 2016

Not everyone wants to compete on the pro bowlers tour – or even in the local beer league – but lots of people enjoy bowling once in a while with friends. What’s that got to do with selling wine? Everything. [level-members]

The point I’m hoping to make is that you don’t have to appeal only to the most committed and enthusiastic of wine consumers, though they should certainly be your focus when you think of what to stock, how to present what you stock, and how to talk about the wines you’re selling in person and online.

Not everyone is interested in a lifetime of study or even in knowing the differences between Burgundy and Bordeaux. What they want is an experience. And just like a night out bowling is something different for a lot of people, so is a wine-themed dinner.

Help your customers create a little magic for their regular dinner party group. Encourage them to taste different varietals or do country vs. country tasting, or taste the same wine with three different courses.

Whatever you do, make it fun, not homework. Those who are really passionate will do the homework on their own. Everyone else is just in it for the experience.

And here’s one idea for selling fun that I don’t see too often in retail shops: large-format bottles. A 3-, 6-, or 12-liter bottle (also known as a Jeroboam, Methuselah or Balthazar – and there are other sizes.) is a great thing to build a party around, depending on the size of your crowd. (That’s 4, 8 and 16 regular size bottles.) We’ve done it, and it’s a huge amount of fun regardless of the crowd’s wine sophistication.