Using Direct-to-Consumer as Your Winery’s Lifeblood

As a small winery, ​Direct-to-Consumer sales may be the only way to ever make financial gains. A ​wine club allows regular sales and supporters ​for each release.

Angie Shaltry​ started​​ ​Périple Wines​ and was up to making about 1,200 cases per year, but developing a margin to be financially sound with a distributor ​pushing product into Northern Idaho.

​”With a distributor, you sell your wine at ​half​ of retail​,” she said.​ “As a small winery that is pretty much your entire margin.

​”In retrospect, we should have run the numbers and set a target for the number of cases we could sell via a distributor and still make our profitability goals.​”

But the winery did have a large DTC base,​ which made up the majority of ​its sales. ​Shaltry obtained ​this base of consumers through being open at ​the winery on Saturdays.​ The winery closed when ​she​ became ill in 2015​, but in​ ​2017, ​she sent an email out to ​the wine club ​members ​to see if they would be willing to buy future​ wine brands with no physical location to congregate.

​”They were, so we started up again​,” Shaltry said​.

​So now, through the website, she continues to ​sell her Pinot Noir to consumers.

Shaltry​ has​ found​ that being out at​ a couple of events per year ​to be ​along with representation in the ​higher-end wine shops​​, as well as a Spring and Fall barrel tasting​ helps spur sales.

“And word of mouth works well​,” she added​. ​”​There is always room for improvement which can be done in the way of incentives for club members who recommend others.​”​

​Although having a basic​ on-line portal for sales, Shaltry said promoting the website for sales is a weakness at this time, although she does use Facebook and Instagram to stay visible while recently she added a quarterly newsletter about winemaking from an educational perspective.

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