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Start With Why: What's Your Winery's Value Proposition?

Corinna Wang
Mar 16, 2015   |   Corinna Wang Recommended for:   Marketing
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“How do I tell a story that makes my $15 Cabernet different from your $15 Cabernet?”

This question came from a great recap blog post I read the other day. It's the million-dollar question. The differentiator. What makes your wine stand out from the crowd?

Let's take a step back from the wine industry for a minute. Why do people love Apple products? At the end of the day - they're just computers. They come in different shapes and sizes, just like any other company that makes computers, tablets or mobile phones. If you get a reaction to reading that last statement, it's because Apple isn't JUST a computer company. They inspire us. They innovate. They make cool products. They're also in the business of making memories (iPhoto), keeping in touch with loved ones (FaceTime) - and the list goes on.

Apple figured it out early. They're selling a lifestyle and not just a product. When you make the decision to purchase an Apple product - you're doing so at a premium. You're not getting the most cost effective product; you're getting a cool product. (Android users everywhere are shaking their heads). This is true for tons of products - wine included.

So, you make a pretty mean $15 Cabernet. How do you tell people about it?

There's a great TED talk by Simon Sinek. He coins a term called 'The Golden Circle' - which asks what your purpose, call, or belief is. Why are you making wine at all? Why do you get out of bed every day? What is your passion?


Everyone knows what they sell - and that is wine. You also know how you sell wine - great customer experiences, the history of your brand, and communicating your story in an amazing tasting room. The why is always harder to figure out. Wineries need to figure out their why and lead with that. Why do you get out of bed each morning to make wine? What are you passionate about? Does it relate to your family legacy and the blood, sweat and tears of your great-grandfather who planted the original vines? Inspiring, right? This is what captivates consumers and what keeps them coming back, over the $15 Cab next door who is saying "Here's our 2011 Cabernet, try some."

Let's look at two specific examples - the first leads with what - the second leads with why:

  1. We make great wine. The land has perfect terroir and we make an amazing Cabernet. Want to buy some?
  2. Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. We're passionate about making organic products with a deep respect for the land. We've been doing this for generations and it comes naturally to us. Our product just happens to be an amazing wine. Want to buy some?

People don't buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

Next time you have visitors in your tasting room - start with why. Chances are - you're only one stop on their day of wine tastings. Be the winery that sticks with them - that they tell their friends about. When they're back home, be the winery that they continue to buy from online when they are kicking their feet up after a long day of work.

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