Here’s a link to a video of my presentation at Wine2Wine in Verona on Dec. 5. I talk about the impact of Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, exit from Amazon Wine, distributor consolidation and FedEx/UPS tightening enforcement of direct shipping. (If you would like a copy of the pdf of the presentation, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The key takeaways of the presentation were:
- Monitor the development of Amazon/Whole Foodswine program and be first in line to present your wine when they start.
- Import Solution: Service importers such as MHW Ltd., and Park Street are often the best solution for wineries trying to enter the U.S. market. They effectively say “Yes” to everyone and have distributor licenses in multiple states as well.
- Optimize your presence online. Many, if not most wine sites such as Vivino, Wine-Searcher (click “feedback” on your sku page) et al. welcome brands to post content on their sites. It’s free, and is an incredibly valuable tool. YOU get to control how your brand is presented to millions of consumers (VinePair cites 24MM Unique Monthly Visitors, Vivino 20 million users, Wine-Searcher 21 mullion) and many include options to include scores from critics as well as consumer ratings, along with the requisite high res images of both the bottle and labels of current vintages, winemaker’s notes, food/wine pairings, brand/estate story etc.)
- Don’t wait for someone else to drive retail distribution, get started by yourself, right now:
- Get your brand listed/posted on Bev Media’s BtB database and sevenfifty.com and Beverage Journal.
- Get your brand listed with at least one key retailer in each market in the system for Minibar Delivery, Drizly et al., and investigate participation in selling through their programs (Minibar’ “Vineyard Select”, Vivino Market, Thirstie’s “Enterprise”)
- Investigate options to sell branded or private label via wine clubs (NYT, WSJ, VinAccess, WineAwesomeness.)
- Get distribution in CA/NY and pitch Wine.com to carry your brand
And let me add a special and personal thank you to Stevie Kim, Francesca de’Stefani and the entire team at Veronafiere/Vinitaly/Wine2Wine for putting on a world-class event and having me as a speaker. And also a shout out to Gioia Gatti and her staff at ICE/Italian Trade Commission for their support.