Wine sales have never been better across the world, reports, which recently released their annual Grapevine report. The report, which takes stock of the domestic and international markets, revealed that sales rose by 4% in 2017, which is the largest single-year increase since the report first began in 1998.

The world is a different place. Wine sales are down across the board, and right now, the industry is hurting. It’s no secret that wine consumption has been on the decline for years, and the problem has only gotten worse. But what are we going to do about it?

As the population of the world grows and ages, we are exposed to a wider spectrum of types of wines—and new consumption habits. Wines sales data firm Artisanal Wines—which focuses on the world’s wine regions with the highest production—recently released its 10th annual “Wine and Spirits Report.”. Read more about wine trends 2021 and let us know what you think.

View word-image-4039 Barbara Barriel. After a difficult year for companies adapting to the pandemic, some wine producers who changed their distribution model and tried new strategies are reporting success. The need for a turnaround and the changing dynamics of the channel have led to more focused sales, and many employees and basement managers have acquired new skills that they will develop as we exit Covid 19. The two-day Wine Industry Virtual Sales Symposium highlighted the changes in the industry over the past year, sharing experiences and case studies from wineries that have launched new brands, used data to analyze their tasting room direction, and optimized their DTC sales. Before a small winery contacts us, they need to develop their own authentic story, fire off a salvo, if you will, via direct mail or social media. The symposium provided a macro overview of how the closure of Covid 19, restaurant closures, retail growth and the e-commerce boom are affecting the industry. The pandemic has accelerated existing trends toward DTC, e-commerce, and data analytics. New models have become popular as regulations have been relaxed to encourage takeaways and third-party deliveries to replace on-site sales. The rise of wine retailing has put smaller brands with limited distribution at an even greater disadvantage, but executives from three major wine retailers have explained what small wine brands need to do to succeed against major retailers. Before a small winery contacts us, they need to hone their authentic story, launch a salvo, if you will, on DTC or social media, says Daren Cliff of Breakthru Beverage Group. They need to have something compelling, define the markets and launch their communication and brand platform in their home market first. Or the link to the winery’s DNA. Cindy Leonard, executive director of Southern Glazer’s fine wine division, agrees: It’s important to have an authentic story and think about how it satisfies the consumer, the wholesaler and you, the supplier. Taylor Momson of Goose Ridge Winery in eastern Washington has not only launched a new brand, but a whole new category for the established winery, with a grape-based vodka called Vito. We had planned a traditional launch in bars and showrooms, but as this was not possible, we reverted to the traditional three-part method and interested our retailers, which was then encouraged by the wholesalers. Momson used geolocation to find retail influencers posting cocktail recipes on social media and mixologists becoming brand ambassadors. The more customers spend, the higher the club’s conversion rate. Jim Silver, CEO of Ren Acquisitions, explained how his brand’s marketing plan shifted to non-traditional channels as a result of the pandemic. Their New Frontier portfolio is expected to include the 100-point Alejandro Bolgheroni estate as a premium DTC brand, Napa wines like Justice and Pursuit for retail, and Renwood as a retail brand. When Covid’s on-site service initially disappeared, the strategy changed to much more direct marketing for all brands. Covid changed the whole dynamic. All approaches to sales have been turned upside down. But in reality, all the tools are there, Silver said. Non-traditional channels given the reach of the brand, but since everyone is at home on their computers, two-tiered marketing through major online retailers like Last Bottle and Wine Access has worked for us. If you receive regular emails from any of these companies, you are my kind of customer. Before the pandemic, few winery tasting rooms operated a reservation system, but this has now become the norm. Many tasting rooms have switched from standing at the bar to sitting at the table. A panel of hospitality experts from California, Washington and Oregon described how increasing experience and data collection have played a key role in reopening under each state’s permit. Fewer guests but more purchases are the deciding factor in keeping the doors open. All panelists agree that direct contact increases customer spending and conversions at clubs, says Stephanie Wyckoff of Crimson Wine Group: For the future, we are thinking of a hybrid model where we can do tastings inside and have an interested consumer. Goals are important, and an open book with your team will motivate them, says Tom Bassford of Elizabeth Chambers Cellars. We are transparent, and that leads to those phone calls at the end of the day when employees are raving about the good sale. Although tasting room attendance is down, surprisingly, sales are up, members are more engaged and we’re not leaving money on the table, says Tiffany Stetson of Goose Ridge in Washington. The pilot room model is not the only CTD strategy refined by the pandemic. In a way, the pandemic was a wake-up call for the industry, ushering in a golden age of online marketing and e-commerce, says Paul Mabray, CEO of Pix. Of all the bad things Covid brought with it: The loss of life, the loss of job, the homeschooling, the stress, the anxiety, that’s the reality…. It’s not so bad… and it works. For the wine industry, change is the new normal. All presentations from the Wine Sales Symposium are available free of charge upon request. View word-image-4040The wine industry – which includes wineries and sparkling wine makers – is a hotbed of investment, especially when you take a look at the large sums of money being poured into the business. From the $600,000 that wine maker Constellation Brands (STZ) poured into the business during the last quarter to the $76.8 million that the French winery Pernod Ricard (R) poured into its business, wine is a big business. In total, the wine industry was valued at $48.9 billion in the first quarter of 2015 – up 7 percent from the first quarter of 2014.. Read more about uproxx wine and let us know what you think.

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