Small Win for Direct to Trade
Yesterday marked a small win for Direct Sales in the wine industry (very small win). My colleagues and I met with the GM from a large restaurant chain to present our Direct to Trade value proposition on behalf of our winery partners (click here to learn more about this program). Our success for this program took a major step forward when the GM and Wine Buyer confirmed what we have been preaching all along…that wine sales through a DIRECT relationship with winery and restaurant is a value-add for both restaurant and consumer. The main points that surfaced in our conversations were:
- ACCESS to small, boutique wines allows the restaurant to differentiate their wine list (even in a national chain, they usually have approximately 30% of their list open to local decision-making)
- Wines available through this program are attractive because most often times they are small production, high quality (or so the scores say) and are often NOT available through existing distribution channels
- With a low barrier to entry (6 bottles vs. 12) they are not penalized with case breaking fees or inventory carrying costs which allows them to “put their toe in the water” on wines to qualify them for potential subsequent orders.
Bottom line…if it tastes good and their restaurant guests are pulling through the product, then they simply graduate the wine to the sweet spots on the wine list.
Again, this is small win for Direct to Trade, but hearing this positive, excited response from one of the largest restaurant chains in the US gives us hope that our small winery partners can swim with the big boys. This also opens up the possibilities for our larger winery partners to engage the On-Premise channel at a regional or someday national level. Word of advice to the small wineries out there…keep increasing the quality in the bottle. We are fighting to make sure your wines get noticed by the rest of the world.