The Grapevine

Being True to Your Wine Shop Values

February 1st, 2017

We’ve written more than once recently about what your job really is as a small wine shop owner. Here’s another look at the same idea – from a marketing perspective. [level-members]

The idea we’ve put forth is that, as a wine shop owner, your job is to guide your customers to interesting wines that represent a great value – and that do so without breaking the bank. (Yes, a $150 bottle can be a great value, but it’s hardly going to have broad enough appeal to keep your local shop in business.)

One thing that requires is a willingness to be flexible in what you stock and what you recommend. The regions that represent value will change – not overnight – but they will change with some regularity. Harvest conditions from year to year, global currency fluctuations, a sudden spike in popularity (the negative corollary to Merlot’s appearance in the film “Sideways.”) will all affect prices, quality, or both. And those two factors determine value.

So you can’t blindly be a fan of French wines and French wines only, for example. Though, there are plenty of bargains in France at the moment. The same is true of any region, country, or varietal you can think of.

This doesn’t mean you bounce around from one thing to another in search of “Value.” But it does mean being open minded about where the values lie. And if they lie outside of your region, you should be stocking and recommending the values.

Yes, you’ll always have customers who insist they’ll drink nothing but Bordeaux or Chilean wines or California Cabs, but most of your customers want a broader experience in their wine and they’ll be open to whatever values you can point them toward – particularly if you can draw a parallel between the values of the season and their favorite wines. [/level-members]