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How Savvy Retailers Craft Tales to Sell More Wine

Posted on  | December 15, 2010   Bookmark and Share
Written by | Robert Dwyer

I was ready to respond to the offer before I even finished reading the E-mail. I couldn’t even tell whether it was a red or white wine being offered, but I knew I wanted it. The retailer’s story of pizzas in France, mosquitoes and olive pits was enough to make me believe that if I had a glass of the wine he was talking about I’d be transported to another place and time.

The same wine he was describing is probably sitting on a retailer’s shelf within 10 miles of my house. I don’t know about it however and therefore I don’t get in the car to purchase it without a compelling reason. Telling customers a unique relatable story about a product you’re offering elevates it from being a commodity to an experience people are willing to pay for.

One of the best at this, and perhaps most famous by now is the ubiquitous Gary Vaynerchuk. His Wine Library TV video blog is credited with turning his family’s $5 million liquor store into $60 million wine empire in just a few years. If I had a nickel for every time someone outside of the online wine world mentioned his name I’d have about a dollar by now. But lurking right behind Vaynerchuk is Jon Rimmerman, owner of Seattle’s Garagiste.

Rimmerman took the relationships and skill set he developed scouring Europe for gourmet products and crossed over to wine. He invested a paltry $500 into an E-mail based wine retail business that now derives about $30 million annually from 100,000 subscribers. He is the master of offering wine through a well-crafted story. Respond to one of his carefully worded offers even a few hours after it has arrived and the wine will likely be sold out. People are buying what he’s selling. Yes, the wine is good, but they’re buying the story and a chance to relate to the wine as he’s described it.

If you’re looking to establish a connection with wine enthusiasts, try taking the stories you’re already telling in person and broadcasting them in new ways. Keep in touch with the customers you have and reach out to ones you haven’t connected with yet. If you look back at the past year, what things did you spend your own money on that brought you joy? I bet it’s experiential things you cherish the most. Sharing your unique relatable perspective on the wines you sell can transform them from commodities to experiences. Are you selling a commodity or are you selling a story?


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