WineDirect logo
down arrow
down arrow
down arrow
Marketing | Online Store

Guide: Selling wine online (direct-to-consumer) in 2024

By  Brandon Harvie
June 19, 2023

Welcome to the world of selling wine online in 2024, where the convergence of technology, convenience, and a growing appreciation for the mastery of winemaking has created an exceptional opportunity for wine enthusiasts and entrepreneurs alike in the wine industry. With the digital landscape constantly evolving, online wine sales have become a dynamic and lucrative venture, offering unparalleled reach and accessibility to consumers, near and far. Even in economically challenging times, our data shows growth through 2022, with total DTC sales up 7.5% versus 2021.  The wine industry faces competition from various types of drinks, such as beer, spirits, and flavored alcoholic beverages.

All-New WineDirect DTC

It’s important to add that we can only cover the basics in one blog post; we encourage you to review our other educational articles our blog (all for free!) or contact us to learn more. We are committed to providing you with valuable insights and strategies on how to successfully navigate the virtual wine market, captivate customers, and establish a formidable presence in this exciting era of ecommerce.  Get ready to uncork the potential of online wine sales and elevate your wine business to new heights. By implementing effective strategies to increase conversion rates, you can maximize your sales and achieve greater success in the online wine market. Additionally, it’s critical to accompany each of the wines you’re promoting with attractive photographs and product descriptions. Unlike traditional wine stores, where customers may come in, inspect bottles, and ask questions, your clients will rely primarily on the product information you provide to make a purchasing decision when it comes to online wine sales.

Five steps to sell wine online

  1. Build your buyer personas
  2. Obtain the necessary licenses
  3. How to start a website 
  4. Build your store 
  5. Marketing best practices

1. Build your buyer personas

One of the most critical but often overlooked steps in selling wine online is building out your buyer persona, which affects every step of the selling process. A buyer persona 'is a research-based profile that depicts a target customer.' Your buyer persona describes your ideal customer, their days, their challenges, and how they make decisions. Creating a well-thought-out buyer persona that covers multiple customers is a fantastic way to ensure the customer is in mind for every decision you make. 

Your buyer persona is usually made up of the following: 

  • Demographics: Age, gender, income, and location. 
  • Background: Job, day-to-day life, family, how/where they get information. 
  • Pain points: The kinds of problems your customer faces when buying wine. 
  • Motivations: What drives your customers regarding purchasing wine online and life in general? 

Some great free tools, such as HubSpot and Hootsuite, can help you easily create a buyer persona. 

2. Obtain the necessary licenses

One of the most complicated issues with selling wine direct to consumers is the laws surrounding it. Each state/country has its own rules about who can buy your wine. Depending on the country/state you are in, you may need a special license to sell alcohol online. Here is an outline for shipping in the US: 

Wine Map WineDirect
Source: Wine Institute

Here are a few of the most common licenses and documents you may need to sell wine in the US 

  • Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Permit - The first step in selling wine online (or anywhere else) is registering your company with the TTB. You can read more about TTB here.
  • State Winery License - If you make your wine, you'll need a specific license. The kind and cost of licenses you'll need will vary by state, and they may also change if you solely sell inside the state where you operate. 
  • Local Authority Requirements  - Each state has its own set of rules and regulations that you must follow. You'll also need permission to transport it to any state where you intend to sell your wine. 

Check out this comprehensive rundown from Wine Institute for a state-by-state review of the laws. 

For information about selling wine DTC in Canada, we recommend checking out the shipping laws here. For information about selling wine DTC in Australia, we recommend checkout out the shipping laws here

This blog is not intended to offer legal or compliance advice. Please consult with an expert. 

3. How to start a website 

When it comes to creating an online store, you have two options: 

  1. Create a website manually. 
  1. Use an ecommerce platform. 

Ecommerce platforms easily allow you to create a website with pre-built templates and straightforward page builders. While they provide more flexibility, manually created websites can be more expensive and time-consuming.  


WineDirect is the leading ecommerce platform for wineries, hosting over 2000+ wineries and offering an all-in-one solution that includes Ecommerce, POS (point of sales), Wine Club, and more. You can learn more about WineDirect and get a first-hand look at the All-New WineDirect platform here. 

4. Build your store

 A secure ecommerce store should include detailed product listings, high-quality images, and pricing information for each wine available for purchase. Creating a website that encapsulates your winery and offers all the all the features your customers expect is crucial. Here are some of the different ways you can build your store: 

  • Pre-built theme - Using one of the pre-built themes is the most common method for wineries when creating their website. Most ecommerce platforms will supply a library of themes to choose from. 
  • Third-party designer - Having a third-party designer come and make your dream website is the easiest but the most expensive method. You will need to provide a total winery overview of exactly what you are looking for from designers. 
  • Built-in page builder - Depending on the ecommerce platform you choose, you can create your website using a drag-and-drop page builder. There will be a wide variety of blocks you can build from. 

Vital pages 

When building your website, listing and laying out the must-have pages you need to launch your store is helpful or ensuring its success. You can continue to add and remove pages down the line, but having a base to start can make things much more manageable. Here are the top 4 basic pages you should start with, all of which are essential for any eCommerce website platform: a flexible website builder, inventory and order management, secure checkout, and robust business analytics, and an extensive app store. These features will provide you with valuable insights and data to optimize your online store's performance and make informed business decisions.

  • Homepage - The first thing visitors see when they visit your website, so it's crucial to make a great first impression. Your homepage should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and provide essential information about your wine store. Include a brief overview of your store, promotions, and a call-to-action to encourage visitors to explore further. 
  • About Us - Tell your story and explain what makes your wine store unique. You can include information about your mission, team, history, and values. This page should also include high-quality images of your wine products, staff, and store. 
  • Tastings/Events - Showcase your wine tastings, events, and promotions. Include detailed information about upcoming events, such as date, time, location, and what customers can expect. This page is an excellent opportunity to highlight your store's community involvement and establish yourself as a go-to destination for wine-related activities. 
  • Contact Us - Where visitors can find your store's location, hours of operation, phone number, and email address. You can also include a contact form that visitors can fill out to send you a message directly. Ensure this page is easy to find and the information is up to date to avoid confusion or missed opportunities for potential customers. 

By leveraging the power of a well-crafted website, wineries can connect directly with wine enthusiasts, cultivate brand loyalty, and unlock the immense potential of online wine sales. 

Store examples 

Here are some examples of great online stores that are created and hosted using WineDirect: 

Dubost Winery

Dubost Wines 

desert hills winery website

 Desert Hills 

Winehaven winery winedirect

WineHaven Winery

5. Marketing best practices 

Now that your website is ready to sell wine, how will people know and find your online store? Marketing is a broad term that encompasses many different methods and strategies, including SEO. Wineries should lean into this and adopt a multi-faceted approach combining traditional and digital strategies, such as email marketing, to maximize reach and engagement with potential customers. Here are a few marketing techniques that you can start now and build upon in time. By combining these marketing strategies, including email marketing, wineries can effectively raise awareness, generate interest, and foster loyalty among wine enthusiasts, ultimately driving sales and success. 

  • Social media is an excellent platform to start marketing your winery. Start by creating social media profiles on various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn (use your buyer personas to determine which platforms you should be on!) and consistently post engaging content about your wine products, brand, promotions, and events. Then, orchestrate and execute social media campaigns and be sure to engage with your followers to increase your winery’s awareness and reach. 
  • Paid and organic advertising can help drive traffic to your website and increase sales. Paid advertising involves paying for ads on search engines or social media platforms, while organic advertising is optimizing your website's content to rank higher on search engines. Researching your target audience, using relevant keywords, and creating compelling ad copy to attract potential customers is essential. 
  • Print advertising can still be effective, particularly if your target audience is older and not as active on social media or the internet. Print ads can include brochures, flyers, business cards, and newspaper ads. You can distribute these ads in targeted areas like wine stores, restaurants, and local events. 

Selling wine online presents an incredible opportunity for wineries and wine retailers to expand their business and connect with a larger audience of wine lovers. Embracing the digital realm and leveraging technology allows wineries and wine retailers to break through geographical boundaries, reaching customers far and wide. By completing buyer persona research, obtaining correct licenses, and creating an impactful online presence, wineries, and wine retailers can tap into the vast potential of ecommerce, uncorking endless possibilities for growth and success in this dynamic industry. If you need any help selling wine online, please feel free to contact the WineDirect team. Cheers to a prosperous future of selling wine online!  

All-New WineDirect DTC

Download your copy of the 2022 DTC Impact Report today

Related Marketing Articles:

4 Important Online Security Features to Protect Your Winery

With the recent surge in direct-to-consumer (DTC) wine commerce, the importance of beefing up online security has grown significan...

Why Wineries Should Be Thinking About SEO

Contributed by guest author Connor Widder of Kru Marketing Wineries and wine producers are making exciting strides when it comes t...

Webinar: Beyond the Buzz: Practical Uses for AI to Elevate Your Winery's DTC Sales

Tune into our live discussion on how AI can help wineries improve DTC sales results. Remy, Founder of WinePulse, showed us how AI ...
1 2 3 60