What Makes the Best Wine Clubs the Best?

By now, you’ve probably joined a wine club … or two … or three … or more! Most of my wine-loving friends are members of multiple clubs, as am I. When we get together over wine, the subject often comes up. “Which wineries are you members of? Why?”

While Capiche has been studying trends and surveying current and past wine club members for specific wineries, the good, the bad and the ugly have emerged. We’re going to focus on the good.

Why the good? It’s smart for wineries to grow their wine club and create member loyalty. The wine club is one of the most profitable sales channels. It’s also more lucrative to keep loyal members than to continually seek out new members. Since the average consumer stays in a wine club for 30 months, wineries have time to develop a relationship with their members and can create loyalty to take them well beyond that 30-month average.

Loyal members will talk about the wine club to their friends, family and coworkers. These recommendations are your best indicator of loyalty. When members recommend the wine club, they put their personal reputations on the line. Only by feeling intense loyalty can a wine club benefit from such recommendations.

Two-Year Value of Wine Club Member

If you are a winery, how do you turn wine club members into raving fans? Here are a few ideas.

  • Offer a choice of which wines are part of the club allocation. Be flexible and allow substitutions. (And don’t forget to give them the option to order additional bottles to include in that shipment.)
  • Think about offering more than the red/white/mixed options. Do you produce sweet wine? Sparkling wine? Include these as options too. By the way, there are many wine drinkers who prefer sweet wines but have been shamed into thinking they have poor taste. Some of the most successful wineries have embraced sweet wines as a category, and the consumers are lapping it up! One example of this is Naked Winery, an Oregon winery that has a successful brand within its target audience.
  • Offer multiple club levels to make the wine club more interesting and provide an entry point for every type of customer. You can switch up reds, whites and combination; number of bottles; and number of shipments. You may even create a separate club for remote members and another for industry members.
  • Spell out membership benefits clearly so your potential wine club members can make an educated choice. Sonoma-Cutrer does this beautifully through their FAQ.
  • Get creative with member events! We’ve heard from our surveys that people are interested in having experiences, not just parties. Think about offering experiences that work for all age groups—how about yoga; cooking classes; pairing wine and food; and winery tours? What else can you do that works with your winery’s brand?
  • First and foremost, keep your website and social media platforms current—and stay in close contact with your members use multiple methods. Within a month of joining Beaulieu Vineyard (BV), I was contacted by a friendly gentleman who introduced himself as my concierge. He brought me up to date on new happenings at BV and provided an offer based on my preferences. Guess who sold extra wine to an out-of-the-area wine club member?

Remember that relationships sell wine and create long-lasting loyalty. If you’re in the wine business, chances are you love to share the good life with people. When you share the good life with your customers, you create new wine club members—and these wine club members can turn into loyal customers who bring you even more wine club members!

As for the bad and the ugly, they happen at the best of places. A sincere apology goes a long way. Keep that relationship strong, and you and your wine club member will benefit!

Whether you are a winery, wine club member or both, please share your ideas on creating loyal fans by replying to this post.

Cheers! Here’s to your success!

People are interested in having experiences, not just parties. Click To Tweet


    • Thanks, Cheryl! I love the research and my mission is to help wineries bring the best possible experiences to their customers. Let me know if there are things you and Cris particularly love about wine clubs you are familiar with.

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