Know Thyself — Download the Winery Positioning Workbook

Bradley Squires
published on
June 22, 2020

The difficulty for wineries to stand out in a saturated marketplace becomes crushingly clear when you realize that just making good wine is not enough for it to sell.

Finding your winery’s niche, identifying your winery’s specific category, are necessary for overcoming this difficulty.

Positioning for wineries is about finding your winery's niche.
Good wine makes a lot of things better, but it doesn't remove the need for wineries to find their niche.

Of course, you know you're not in direct competition with every other winery in the U.S., but without defining your winery's positioning, you're competing with many more wineries than you need to be.

Let me explain. In just the same way that you are able to perceive qualities in wine that the general wine-drinking public are not able to pick up, they are often unable to tell one wine from another.

To them, a terroir-driven Pinot Noir, is really just like a cool climate Syrah. Or a warm climate Syrah. Or a Cabernet Franc. Or … you name it. To them, a $45 bottle should taste exactly $25 better than a $20 bottle. To them, it means nothing if you only made 250 cases.

So, unless you are able to express how you are something unique, in a way that matters to your audience, your winery will just be part of that gigantic cuvee of every other wine mentioned above. That doesn’t sound too tasty.

Defining your winery's category is the answer that’s blowin’ in the wind.

What is a category in the wine business?

Beyond the six categories of wine that people sometimes refer to; red, white, rosé, sparkling, dessert, and fortified, a category that a winery competes in refers to how consumers think about you. For example, "California Cabernet Sauvignon under $14" (I bet several examples came to mind for you) or "smooth, silky reds under $10" (you can probably visualize this section of the grocery store wine aisle).

The category can be anything, provided the following conditions are met:

  • It has to be how the consumers see you
  • It has to be something that consumers care about
  • It has to be an area in which you can be a leader.

Winery Marketing Content. Are you talking to me?

Who are the people who buy your wine? (Note: the answer “wine drinkers” is not allowed). Let’s assume, for the point I’m making, that your very best customers are women aged between 28 and 35. Let’s also assume that you’re a 48 year-old male. If your winery's marketing content sounds like you're talking to other 48 year-old males, guess what?

Winery Positioning — the single, most important marketing activity you'll engage in

Defining your winery’s positioning, if you haven't done it already, is inevitably in your future. The longer you wait, the longer your marketing will fall short. In conducting this exercise, you’ll be able to identify who are really your winery’s competitors, and how you can out-compete them. You’ll identify who your audience is, and how to communicate to them.

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