Published on: April 18, 2013
This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.
Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
Longtime readers of MNB know that I enjoy the occasional glass of wine. Okay, not so occasional. I've really learned to enjoy different kinds of wine over the years, and will admit that I've at least partially addicted to the romance of it all. Which is why I still tend to prefer corks over crew tops (though I've been persuaded to be less finicky on this point). And why one of my favorite things to do is to hang with friends who own vineyards ... there are few cooler things to do, IMHO, than have a glass of wine with people and do it while looking out over the vineyards that they own.
I've been fascinated lately to read about how the wine buying process has changed in the US. The Associated Press reported the other day that "online wine options are everywhere, from flash sale sites like Lot18 offering daily deals to Facebook prodding you to send a little something for Aunt Suzy’s birthday. And now there’s a new generation of startups such as Club W, which adds a little algorithm to your albarino, using surveys and ratings to figure out what you might like to drink next."
I also was interested to learn in that same article that "today, only seven states have an outright ban on direct-to-consumer shipping, though some of the states that do allow shipping have various restrictions, and 89 percent of the U.S. population has access to direct-to-consumer sales," according to the Wine Institute.
A couple of things occur to me as I read these words.
One is that this means there is increasing competition out there for retailers that sell wine from their stores, and that they need to be more aggressive in stressing their expertise and selection. I always think that one of the ways to do this is with a wine club.
I've told this story before on MNB, but in this case, it bears repeating...
It wasn't that many years ago that I never spent more than $10 for a bottle of wine. I didn't know that much, and the value of spending more just didn't work for me. But then I joined the wine of the month club started by a local wine retailer, Nicholas Roberts, for the past decade or so, every month, we've been sent three bottles of wine. They choose the wines, and their record has been extraordinary - almost always, the wines are terrific, and almost always, they are from vineyards that I've never heard of. And here's the business lesson - these days, I rarely spend less than $15 on a bottle of wine. I've learned, the wine club moved me up market, and Nicholas Roberts has a committed and loyal customer.
And there's a benefit to you, too ... since Nicholas Roberts powers the MNB Wine of the Month club, which you can sign up for by clicking on the tile ad at left.
But the other thing that occurs to me is to suggest that retailers ought to look at the stores that do an excellent job with wine, and perhaps consider adapting some of those techniques - offering information, providing tastings, being a resource for knowledge as well as a source of product - to other departments in the store.
Just an idea. Maybe worth thinking about.
Or drinking to.
That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: