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 AngieShaltry.com, 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.