Wine Talk

Snooth User: oceank8

Wine clubs

Posted by oceank8, Jun 5, 2008.

I understand that wine clubs can be very beneficial to a winery. In fact I am a member of a few local ones where I get a lot of benefits. But here's my pet peeve: I go to wineries OFTEN and am increasingly seeing wine club prices that are half the price what I would pay. Well, I can't join them all! I feel that when I travel all the way to them, there should be some kind of compensation. I don't expect wine club prices but I think more than 15% difference is insulting to those visiting the winery. Maybe have a wine club price, a price for people in the winery, and then your full retail price. The clubs are pushing people like me away - a true wine lover that loves to see the winery, taste, and I always buy IF the prices are close to wine club or they give me back my tasting fee. What do the rest of you think?


Reply by moxman60014, Jun 5, 2008.

Website is horrible for navigation.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jun 6, 2008.

Ocean -- I think the retail stores and the wine clubs can offer discounts on their products because they're buying in bulk and offering sale prices and competing against other stores and clubs. The winery is under some pressure to maintain the price that they want to be the MSRP. I always thought it would be cheaper at the winery myself, but it turns out they're locked into the true price, and that's usually the highest.

@moxman -- Love to hear your thoughts on how we can improve and what you find confusing. Have you seen this thread?

Reply by John Andrews, Jun 6, 2008.

@Ocean, I can understand your frustration. Wine Clubs don’t always make sense and a 50% discount is huge. The most I’ve seen for a wine club is 25% discount. So how do you make a visitor that isn’t part of a wine club feel like they are valued? Well, as you pointed out, refunding a tasting fee if they make a purchase is one way but the other is to really spend time with them and make sure they enjoy their experience.

However, providing a ‘visitor’ discount, in my opinion would not work. Why? Simply put, how do you define who a visitor is? It would be tough to tell one person that they don't get a discount because the live in Sonoma and tell the person next to them that they do because they are from San Diego. If I offered them both a discount then who pays retail because our wines are only sold out of the winery?

I am planning on writing a blog about wine clubs next week so hopefully that will provide more insight. Until then, let me say that wine clubs are a way for wineries to reward loyal customers. We want everyone to enjoy their visit, offering discounts just for visiting doesn't really do that.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jun 6, 2008.

Oh wait, these are wine clubs run by the winery themselves? Now I'm confused too -- looking forward to your blog post, Honda.

Reply by John Andrews, Jun 6, 2008.

@Mark ... there are two 'kinds' of wine clubs, ones run by the wineries themselves and others run by retailers. Same basic principle but very different in execution.

Reply by Philip James, Jun 6, 2008.

I thought Moxman was talking about winery club websites, but then i'm often wrong...

Reply by oceank8, Jun 6, 2008.

I was referring to wine clubs from the winery. The small places (like I am sure Loxton is) are usually not a problem. I was most frustrated in my last visit up to Napa/Sonoma where I actually saw 3 places selling wines to wine club members for 50% less. I also hate walking in and the first thing someone says to me is, let me explain my wine club, and as soon as I say I'm not interested, they ignore me. If someone takes time to talk to me (when they aren't busy) and they will refund my tasting fee if I buy something, then I am happy. I am sad to say, this seems to be happening less and less! So, thank you Loxton for not hopping on that wagon! HondaJohn, I too look forward to your blog.

Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Jun 6, 2008.

A 50% difference is absurd. I wonder if the estate in question has the right person running their club!

When you see that you should speak up and let the winery know. A lot of wineries are caught up in the hype that this channel is the key to their future profitability... yet a poorly executed wine club (or one with channel conflict) is just going to piss customers off.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jun 9, 2008.

Ah, now I see. Funny I hadn't encountered those yet. Refunding the tasting fee is a great way to encourage purchasing.

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