By Martial Chaput

Even if you have a tasting room, selling wine and wine club memberships to people who never visited your winery is a real challenge. It is also a path full of untapped opportunities. In this article, we present 7 practical tactics for family-owned wineries to increase club membership and direct-to-consumer wine sales outside the tasting room.


☆ Fine-tuning Your Website Experience

Make your winery website as experience-focused as your tasting room, aiming to fulfill each and every visitor's goal. Visitors should feel greeted when landing on any of your web pages and effortlessly directed to the wines or information they seek. How do you create that kind of experience on your website? Make the information customers seek both clear and easily accessible, showcase your wines and vineyards with simple value statements, remove all potential distractions and frustrations from the sales process, highlight the unique benefits of your wine club memberships, shorten your e-commerce checkout experience... Your customers will show their appreciation by purchasing more bottles, more often!

☆ Branding Your Winery To Stand Out

Know how your winery is different from all others, define your strengths and use them in all of your brand’s communication. Create and use striking visuals, communicate your key differentiators or talk about how your family got into the wine business; there are many ways you can brand your company in simple, compelling ways. Whatever strategy you choose, communicate your core values and stay true to what makes your winery unique and special. Test your strategy using free social media platforms and showcase your brand to increase reach through consistent and visually striking posts.

☆ Increasing Your Visibility On The Web

Increasing your visibility on the web will drive wine amateurs to your website, where they will be exposed to your brand and given the opportunity to purchase your wines or join one of your clubs. There are many ways to ensure that your winery is well represented on the web and driving traffic to your site. Search Engine Optimization is a critical tool for wineries looking to increase their visibility and website traffic from Google’s search engine result pages. Paid advertising on search engines and social media are other proven ways to rapidly increase a winery's reach and brand awareness on the web. Lastly, email marketing offers tremendous opportunities to drive direct-to-consumer sales and club memberships sales outside the tasting room.

☆ Defining And Communicating Your Membership Benefits Effectively

Besides your amazing wines, what do club members get from joining your wine club? How do you make them feel like a valued member of your community? Why should they join one of your clubs instead of one from another winery? These are questions designed to help your define the benefits of your wine club memberships. Clearly understanding what motivates your winery's existing customers and club members to join is a good path to answering these questions and those that will follow as you go deeper in your membership benefits strategy.

☆ Setting Up A Referral System For Your Club Members

What is a simple way to increase new customer acquisitions and reduce existing customer attrition?  Setting-up an attractive referral program for your club members will improve both customer retention and customer acquisition simultaneously. Not only should your referral program help keep valued wine club members, it can turn them into a significant sales force for your winery, sending new customers your way to purchase your wines and join your wine clubs. All without having visited a tasting room.

☆ Offering A Well-Crafted Reward & Loyalty Program

How should you craft a loyalty program that helps you retain members but also makes wine amateurs sign up for your clubs? Think about what differentiates your winery from all others and what it can offer its members, besides unique wines? Why did your club members join and what are they looking for? Understand their motivations to best serve them. When crafting your loyalty program, be strategic, creative, and personal. Note that an effective reward and loyalty program doesn't necessarily involve a discount, but it should provide an unexpected benefit.  e.g. price in a special  “free” bottle or high quality branded merchandise (labeled wine openers, coaster sets, wine glasses, etc).

☆ Designing Creative and Customizable Memberships

If you can afford to do so, allow wine club members to customize their own wine selection.  It goes a long way to both attract and retain club members. Generally speaking, consumers are becoming accustomed to higher levels of personalization in the products they purchase and the wine market is no exception to this shift in consumer behavior. Wineries that are able to allow for customization will become more competitive and better equipped to lure wine amateurs to purchase bottles and join clubs.

Last Words

These are a few of the practical marketing solutions to help sell wine direct to consumer outside the tasting room. We'd love to hear about your experiences with these tactics or share other successful strategies that your winery uses. Email us at to get in touch with us!

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