The Grapevine

Are You A Wine Expert?

May 23rd, 2017

As a wine shop owner, you better be a wine expert or your chances of attracting and keeping your best customers is severely limited. [level-members]

We’re not saying you need the fancy designations and certifications of high-profile sommeliers, but you do need to have – and project – an air of expertise in order to attract the kinds of consumers who will bring you repeat business and who will not be focused primarily on price.

In other words, if you’re an expert, people will pay for that expertise, even if it means paying more for their wine.

There are limits to this, of course, both in the premium you’ll be able to charge and how often some people will pay it, but you shouldn’t be focused on wines where you have to compete with the shop down the block. Let them sell Yellow Tail to their heart’s content. As an expert, you have a better wine to offer at a similar price. (Don’t worry about not matching the mass-market prices – a slightly higher price works in your favor, since perceived value is an important part of the emotional buy.)

You also don’t need to be an expert in all corners of the wine world. Pick your spots, know them well, and be ready to defend your reasons for not stocking or knowing the ins and outs of a particular region. (Overpriced, perhaps, or not quite to the standards it should be even though it is up-and-coming.)

It’s a funny thing to think about, but wine shops aren’t always staffed by experts – when was the last time you want to an accountant who didn’t know accounting? – and making it clear that yours is can be a big difference maker to your business.