What Wine Club Members Want
Fifteen percent discounts on regular shipments? Great! First dibs on new releases. Lovely. Waved tasting fees at the winery? Dandy.
But if you want loyal club members, ones that keep coming back, members that recommend membership to their friends, then give them something special. Give them reason to come together as real members of a club.
Here are some fine ideas for Wine Club gatherings that will keep club members happy, give them reason to gather and provided added value to your wine club:
1. Comedy Night
Members that laugh together stay together. This is remarkably easy event to produce. Find a good booker of comedians in your neck of the woods (call the closest comedy club and ask for the talent booker), hirer three professional comedians, provide dinner and drinks, then give them the laughs. An annual comedy night will sell out quick. Every one likes to laugh.
2. The Annual Charity Poker Tournament
You'd be surprised how many people now play Texas Hold'em. Some do it at home games. Some go to poker rooms, others indulge when they head to Vegas. Have your own. Bring in professional dealers (call the closest poker room), limit the number of folks to 100 to 150, charge $100 per person to "buy in", provide for prizes, wine and food and give the buy in money to your favorite charity. Poker is amazingly social, gets your members chatting, gives them bragging rights and makes them feel good about playing games.
3. The Annual Club Golf Outing
Why? See above. Additionally, your local golf courses will be happy to help you organize a wine club member golf outing. Better yet, show case your wines by having one wine tasted every other hole. You'll get mainly men attending, but you'll build lots of good will.
4. The Showcase of Artisan Foods
Given the explosion of artisan and craft food producers over the past 20 years, it's likely that you've got a ton of cheese, honey, meat, condiment, bread, pasta and other food producers in your neck of the woods. Give your members access. An annual showcase of local culinary artisans is the way to do it. Have 20 or so of them set up on your grounds, let them sample, let them buy and make sure they taste your wines at the same time.
5. The Roving Wine Dinner
Chances are every winery has ambassador-like club members across the country. Go visit them. In fact, set up a series of wine dinners in the homes of these members, let them show off their connections to their best wine loving friends, have a local chef or caterer brought in to fix the meal, then extol the guests with your story. And sell some wine. This kind of event is becoming more and more popular among the smaller, artisan wineries and it's a great idea and leads to new club members. And don't forget to thank your host.
6. The Harvest Lunch
If you are crushing lots of grapes, chances are you are also feeding lots of hard working harvest workers. Why not invite club members to join them for lunch. It will cost the members, but it gives them sort of the ultimate insider experience. Eating a fine lunch, on the premises, with the folks who are at that moment crushing the grapes that will eventually end up in the members' cellars.
7. The Vintage Dinner
If you are going to pour your older library wines for anyone, it really ought to be your wine club members first. They deserve it and they are most likely to rid you of whatever older vintage you may still have in inventory and are willing to part with. Limit the size of the event. Hire a really great chef. Set up a nice long table in your cellar or cave or on your lawn. And show off what your wines can do with a little age. This is a nice excuse for a very elegant affair. I've been to such events where it's primarily candlelight and there are large screens on four walls with older black and white films playing while nice jazz floods the room. Brilliant
8. Oscars Night at the Club
This is a no-brainer, isn't it? Whatever it is about the Oscars, folks love to get together, predict the winners, critique the dresses, watch the ceremonies and drink. Throw out a red carpet, create a schwag bag, get a few really big screens, set up tables, provide wines and food and watch the members revel together. Make sure there are prizes for most winners correctly predicted.
There's a larger point here: Take care of your club members and your club members will take care of you. Treat them well. Treat them special. Give them more.