Modern marketing strategies for the wine industry

I’ve been immersed in the Napa Valley wine industry a few years now, and one thing I’ve noticed is their lack of appreciation for modern marketing strategies. I think this stems from a deep-rooted history in agriculture, and it’s no surprise that most winery owners are stubbornly hesitant to adopt new methods. There’s a general distrust for technology. After all, haven’t they sold wine just fine with their normal distribution channels and no website? Though I find this surprising considering how much growth the industry enjoys. The good news is that there’s a lot of room for improvement and the competition is not as fierce as many other verticals.

New marketing is accessible and affordable

One of the nicest things about modern inbound marketing is that anyone can take advantage of it, with minimal investment. How much does it cost to take an out in Wine Enthusiast, versus setting up social profiles on a dozen networks? The only time involved with the latter is the man hours, but once created, those networks will remain in place for a long time. And according to a recent Hubspot report that surveyed 900+ professionals, 89% of businesses are either maintaining or increasing their inbound marketing budgets. Are you one of them?

Comparing Old vs. New

Outbound marketing tactics center around pushing your message in front of as many eyes as possible, force-feeding your brand if you will. Inbound marketing means that customer find you.

Outbound Inbound
Print advertising SEO
Cold calls Social media
Commercials YouTube video
Direct mail RSS subscribers

The inbound side caters to interested customers; they’re searching for your wine, or saw an interesting video on YouTube of your winemaker explaining his passion for creating good wine. Your audience is discussing your wine on blogs, forums, and in ongoing comments dialogue. And you can participate.

89% of businesses are either maintaining or increasing their inbound marketing budgets

What you can do

  1. Blog more. If your winery had a special event, write a quick paragraph that covers it. Got sheep grazing in the spring vineyards? Explain how it’s part of your biodynamic practice and post pictures of the baby sheep.¬†Everyone loves baby animal pics. Is there an exciting new variety being released? Interview the winemaker, and express his passion for it.
  2. Use your social networks. Don’t simply post links to your bottles of wine for sale. In fact, promoting your product on the social network should be a low priority. Use them to listen to your customers, and interact with them. Show them there’s a face behind the company. This fosters trust and increased loyalty. Post a picture of your last wine club event and tag your wine club members. Their friends and family will see that, and it furthers your brand recognition.
  3. Monitor your brand. You have a world of wine bloggers, forums, and niche social communities talking about your brand. Visit their site, and comment on their review. Join the forum and do the same.

You have a world of people waiting to become your customers, so give them what they want. Optimize your site and build your social presence to draw more foot traffic, wine club signups, and direct sales. Best of all is that any winery can do this, big or small. When it comes to the online world, it’s a level playing field and it’s up to you to get out there.


Michael Meisner is a code-slinging, data crunching, growth hacking extraordinaire. He combines these powers to create traffic generation strategies and drive brand awareness for clients he works with. When he's not staring at a computer screen he can be found sipping a glass of wine with his Pit Bull and wife by his side.

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1 Response

  1. JosephArmstrong says:

    Very Good Article, Thank You

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