The Grapevine

Direct-to-Consumer Wine Sales Is Not Going Away

June 27th, 2017

You can stick your head in the sand as a main street retail wine shop, but that’s not going to change what’s going on above ground. Direct-to-consumer sales are here and they’re growing. [level-members]

And while I would love to tell you I have the sure-fire recipe for surviving this change, I don’t. Part of the reason I don’t is that there isn’t one recipe for every shop’s situation.

Your best path might be to adopt the Times Square-style “retail as entertainment” approach to keeping your shop relevant. (Though, that is, admittedly, easier if you have dancing M&Ms or hundreds of TVs playing every sporting contest known to the universe.)

You might consider specializing in a particular type of wine or becoming an absolute nutter for a particular cause or belief. The latter can give you more room to maneuver than specializing in, say, ¬†wines of Burgundy. Being passionate about food-friendly wines, or wines that are all about balanced acidity, or … you can pick just about any passion you’d like.

And it doesn’t have to be immediately apparent to a novice, though it should be accessible in being easy to explain and defend. A more sophisticated wine consumer might not even notice the passion, but will likely nod in recognition when you point it out.

Here’s a recent Forbes article on DtC wine shipping. Give it a read and decide how you’d like to respond. Sticking your head in the sand is not an option.