Things to Consider When Starting a Wine Club

So you’ve had your grand opening, your reds and whites seem to be resonating with visitors, and now you’re thinking about starting a wine club to serve your loyal regulars. 

Wine clubs are certainly popular with both casual and serious wine drinkers and can be a great way to generate steady revenue and stay on your customer’s minds and in their wine fridges, ensuring they’re continuing to engage with your product.

You’ve weighed your options, and you think you’re ready to pull the trigger. Should you tread lightly, or take the full plunge?

Kim Aliperti, Owner and Operations Manager of Billsboro Winery, says go big or go home. When Billsboro made the decision two years ago to forge ahead with its wine club, she said they went all in.

“We spent a lot ​of time and money on creating a club that was reflective of who we are as a business, and we did not skimp on training either,” Aliperti said in an interview with Vintner Magazine. “The result has been a three-tiered club with just under 500 customers in under two years.”

What form your wine club takes is up to you. It can be used to express your personality or tell your story.

“We call ours il Fienile, which is Italian for barn. Our winery is housed in a restored 19th- century barn, and it is a nod to my husband’s (our winemaker’s) history, making wine with his immigrant grandfather and father throughout his childhood growing up in the boroughs of New York City,” Aliperti said. 

To make your wine club work for you, you’ll want to do three things:

  • Consider multiple tiers: Billsboro has two tiers, with one that allows customers to choose their own wines and one where the wines are winemaker selected. Other wineries with clubs may adjust the number of bottles a customer gets depending on the tier that is chosen, or how many times a year wine is selected.
  • Hold exclusive events: “We have three events annually with access to the winemaker and we keep the time slots small to allow quality interactions. I think our customers appreciate this touch,” Aliperti said.   
  • Sell, sell, sell: Of course, none of this matters if your tasting room employees don’t promote your new wine club, something Aliperti’s employees are especially adept at, she says. “I really need to credit our tasting room hosts, who do an amazing job of selling it to the customer.

Read Vintner Magazine’s full interview with Aliperti here.

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