Your wine club is competing with the wine clubs of other wineries, plus the wine clubs of online retailers offering wines from all over the world, along with the many wine subscription services who scout out screaming deals from wineries we’ve never heard of. What are you doing to make your wine club stand out?

How not to position your wine club
Photo credit: Skitterphoto,

If your wine club’s strategic play book is a single page describing how you bill your members quarterly and send them bottles of wine in return, then I’m guessing that you’re seeing a decent amount of churn. I know, I know — I’m oversimplifying the situation, because you offer the option of whites or reds only, and also 4 or 6 bottles per shipment, right? And when your wine club members visit your winery, they qualify for free cheese!

I’m being cynical, I know, but how far, really, is the above description from the truth?

Investing some time planing and defining your wine club’s specific place in the competitive landscape can pay big dividends for years to come. Not only does a clearly understood position help guide all your future marketing efforts, guiding your messaging and providing a litmus test for whether your communications are on-brand, but it helps your club members recognize and remember the value they receive from being members of your winery.

The positioning you define for your wine club should be a natural extension of your winery’s positioning, maintaining the same personality and having the same values, but it also defines the unique benefits  that your wine club offers, that others cannot. Examples of this might include access to your unique venue, or access to a highly respected individual (I once had the honor of spending an evening with Mike Grgich, truly one of the godfathers of Napa wine, and it is an evening I’ll never forget). Other examples are events that gain a reputation for their uniqueness, or special monthly dinners, or blind tastings, or … get the picture?

# of wineries in the U.S.
# of wineries in California
# of wineries within 5 miles of your winery
# of cases you need to sell each year
# of customers you need to visit your tasting room
# of people in your identified market

9 Signals That Can Alert You to Poor Wine Club Positioning

Wineries that have successfully positioned their wine clubs see high levels of member engagement — members share photos of themselves enjoying your wines, and they tag your winery, they look forward to your emails, and they snap up your offers. If you’re seeing several of the following warning signs, you are unnecessarily creating more difficulty for your wine club team and hurting your winery’s bottom line.

High member turnover (churn)
Low open-rates on wine club emails
Low response to member-only offers
High rate of returned or undeliverable shipments
Lackluster attendance at pickup events
High rate of expired (not updated) credit cards
Infrequent member visits to winery
Very low sign-ups from non-visitors to the winery
Lack of member engagement on social media

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