Wine Marketing 101–Texas Style
Why don’t you drink Texas wine?
I know you don’t. However, it’s very likely that you drink California, Washington, Oregon, New York and wines from any number of country’s across the seas. But not Texas.
The only people who drink Texas wines are Texans. I know this. I’ve worked within the Texas wine industry.
Texans are often accused of being….well…parochial. That’s no crime. Americans are probably the most parochial of the international-minded world powers. But Texans combine parochialism with more "state pride" and self assurance than probably any other state in the Union.
But here is the thing about their wines: They are very good and very talented winemakers produce them. Still, it has taken that state’s winemakers a very long time to conclude they should make a sincere effort to try to stimulate sales by…telling more people about Texas wines.
This is exactly what is in the works based on a $2 million dollar fund created through taxes and fees. If they use this money well many more people in and out of Texas will no longer be able to sit in accusation of never having tried a Texas wine. The question is, how do they reach new people?
Advertising? There’s no point unless they launch the program in Texas. After all, this is where 95% of all Texas wine is available.
Highway Advertising? Sigh……sure, but see above.
The key to expanding Texas sales is expanding distribution of Texas wines outside of Texas. This is also the key to expanding awareness of Texas wines. You don’t buy Texas wines because there are not Texas wines on your local grocery store or wine shop shelves.
A good chunk of that $2 Million must be spend on trade relations; introducing distributors and retailers in the right states to Texas wines, Texas winery owners and Texas winemakers. The obvious answer is get on the road, go to about 10 different cities and set up your trade tasting, complete with Texas foods, Texas cultural artifacts and the rest of it. But there is a problem here too.
No one cares about Texas wines. The Texans need another hook. What they need are vintners from other states whose wines no one cares about to tag along on this multi-state trade tasting. What they need to create is: THOSE-OTHER-STATES-WINES-TOUR.
What if the Texan, Missouri, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Michigan wineries rolled into Chicago or Denver or Florida or Los Angeles, all together, telling people, "Open your eyes and stick out your tongues…the New Wine Regions are here"? This kind of gathering would in fact bring out the press, retailers, restaurateurs and distributors…the people that need to be impressed before the wine drinkers can buy the wines. And of course, the cost of the "THOSE OTHER STATES WINES TOUR" would be shared.
This is a tasting you’d go to…isn’t it. You’d make time. Sure, your curiosity might be piqued by a group of Texans pouring wines. And you might go. But you’d surely be willing to taste the wines from 8 or 9 states, including Texas.
Everything is in place in Texas: wine regions, good winemakers and wines, business savvy, the planting of more vineyards. Now all they need is customers. World of mouth doesn’t get wine that isn’t on the shelf into the mouths. Spend that money on opening doors for Texas wineries. Once the wine is on the shelves, then go into the markets and market. But first things first.