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Developing a Powerful wine marketing strategy for your small winery

How to finally create that wine marketing strategy — and not waste your time doing it.

If you have a small winery, there is a good chance you’ve been told you need a wine marketing strategy. This raises some inevitable questions:


What is a wine marketing strategy?

Do I look like a wine marketing expert? These are Carharts, not khakis.

But, do I really need a wine marketing strategy?

How much time is this going to cost me?

Isn’t there some other way?

Marketing: The critical business activity that should take less time

What is the whole point of marketing? It is to attract more customers.

Further, the goal of any company should be to spend the least possible time or other resources on marketing to produce the desired results.

This article describes how small wineries can maximize the benefits of their marketing while minimizing the required inputs.

As mentioned above, the goal of marketing is to get more customers. Small wineries, with limited resources, must focus on streamlining the acquisition process (marketing) to make it as efficient as possible.

Here is where wine marketing strategy leaps up from the bench and says I can do it, coach! Send me in!

What is a wine marketing strategy?

For a generic definition of a marketing strategy, we can turn to the website of the American Marketing Association. They describe it as a step-by-step process outlining how you will achieve your marketing goals.

For people juggling the many demands of running a small winery, it is perhaps more useful to think of a wine marketing strategy as a tool for keeping your marketing efforts efficient and on track.

We will get into the nitty-gritty soon, but for now, trust that wine marketing strategies do not need to be complicated.


The Components of Wine Marketing Strategies

A marketing strategy covers a defined period, say, for the 12 months of 2024. It lists the goals for that timespan and the wine marketing campaigns your team has brainstormed to achieve them.

Each wine marketing campaign has a timeline, a target audience, the marketing channels, and the specific goals.

Get more details about wine marketing campaigns >

Lastly, for our wine marketing plan to be complete, we need to decide how we will measure success. Doing so will allow us to monitor whether our strategy is on track throughout the year to hit our goals.

Wine Marketing Campaigns:

The HOW of your wine marketing plan

Your wine marketing campaigns are the concrete steps to achieving the goals listed in your winery's marketing strategy.

Your wine marketing strategy covers everything related to your winery's marketing, including your winery's positioning in the marketplace, your target audiences, and your goals for growing your business.

Marketing campaigns are the precise, short-term activities you will use to present relevant, compelling offers to targeted audiences for defined periods throughout your marketing strategy.

For wine marketing to produce continuous gains, plan enough marketing campaigns to span the duration of your marketing strategy.

A wine marketing campaign is a set of marketing activities focused on a specific theme, product, or event. Examples of marketing campaigns for your winery might include:

  • A campaign to promote your Winemaker Dinner
  • A campaign to promote the new release of your Rosé
  • A campaign to increase newsletter sign-ups

The best wine marketing campaigns are designed for a specific audience. Examples of defined audiences include local club members, inactive subscribers, VIPs, or non-customers, and your campaign should have coordinated distribution in multiple channels according to each audience.

Marketing is about people. Building enduring, emotional connections with people is the name of the game. 

Photo of a grandfather and his grandson laughing together. Marketing is about creating connections with people.

Marketing is about people. Building rich, meaningful bonds with people is something we all inherently do. Make your marketing strategy a goodwill-based attempt to connect sincerely with people.

The Necessity of Adaptability

Our goal, as stated earlier, is to continuously improve our efficiency in bringing in new customers. That is, to gain an ever-grander following with less effort or resources.

Continuous improvement implies continuous change. Our strategic thinking needs to be quick and agile. After all, the wine market is continuously changing, so we need to adapt accordingly.

Heck! Rob McMillan this year began his State of the Industry report by quoting Darwin:
It is not the strongest of the species that survives […] It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

That is what we are striving for.

When a campaign performs beyond our expectations, we can leverage it. We can grow it. We can extend its timeline. If an idea is lousy, we drop it. We can pivot.

Here is the point: we adapt to what the market tells us. Our wine marketing strategy is a living document.

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Getting Started: The Steps to Writing a Wine Marketing Strategy.


Step 1: List your goals

Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Just capture what you would like to accomplish in the next year. Refrain from critiquing ideas in this step (there will be plenty of time for SMART goals later). For now, focus solely on creating a marketing wish list.


Step 2: List your target audiences

Your target audiences this year may be different from last year. Perhaps you have determined that GenZ-ers are not your most receptive audience and that successful Millenials will be more of a focus this year.


Step 3: Brainstorm wine marketing campaign topics

Your marketing strategy is the over-arching plan. But it is nothing without actual wine marketing campaigns running throughout the year.

Fortunately, this is where the fun begins!

If one of the goals you identified is to bring more visitors to your tasting room, you would design a campaign focused only on that. For example, you might consider hosting vineyard walks and cooking demos for National Wellness Month (August).

Likewise, if you need to deplete your inventory of Rosé before you release the next vintage, you would design a campaign that runs perhaps in March focusing on Rosé promotions.

List enough ideas to support each stated goal, and then some more.

Keep in mind that some ideas will be suited for a particular audience, while others will appeal to different audiences. Be sure to create wine marketing campaigns that cater to each.


Step 4:  Map out channels for each campaign

Events at the winery are great fodder for local wine columnists and paid advertising. Photo contests, on the other hand, are ideal for social media and email promotions.

You will likely promote your wine marketing campaigns in multiple channels. Assign the appropriate channels — PPC, email marketing, print, and organic search — to each campaign.


Step 5: List specific components for each channel.

Next, determine the campaign components required in each channel. Consider email promotion of your Spring sale: 3 emails and 3 landing pages. What is the production time required for each email?


Step 6: Wrap it all up with a Wine Marketing Strategy Statement

The last thing you will write for your wine marketing strategy is a brief statement summarizing everything. Think of it as the elevator pitch for your marketing strategy.

The wine marketing strategy statement is a high-level view of your strategy. It can serve as a friendly reminder of why we are doing this.

Remember what we covered in the intro: the point of marketing is to attract more customers.

Customers may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Implementing your Wine Marketing Plan

Working through the steps listed above shouldn’t feel overwhelming. Small winery owners generally have a good understanding of their goals, audience, and the marketing channels they use.

The most time-consuming portion will be brainstorming specific campaigns and ironing out the details for each.

Fortunately, your wine marketing campaigns for the year do not need to be laid out in full detail until you get closer to each one. For now, you can just include estimated budgets and timelines to be refined as the campaigns near.

As the year progresses, you’ll use your Creative Brief template to fill in all the details.

A sensible practice is to include some padding in each timeline for unforeseen events and circumstances. Allowing extra time for stakeholder and compliance approvals and revisions will ease the process. Remember to consider ad deadlines and production schedules for printed pieces.

Also, determine who will be working on each piece. List the point person, the freelancers you will use, the internal team, and the stakeholders.

The last thing to ponder is how you will create even better wine marketing campaigns next year.

Today’s most useful wine marketing ideas [New for 2024]

Today’s most useful wine marketing ideas [New for 2024]

Today's Most Useful Wine Marketing Ideas 11 real-world winery marketing ideas for small wineriesWhen brainstorming how to promote wine, it is not unusual to run into creative roadblocks. A web search for inspiration offers unhelpful suggestions to Start a wine club or...


Bradley Squires


Bradley Squires, the founder of Wine Chemistry Creative, helps wineries become memorable. He thinks of this as Creating Chemistry with your customers and future customers. Bradley has provided marketing services for some of the largest (and smallest) brands in the U.S.. Notable brands include Vintrace, UCSF, Ericcson, Grgich Hills, The Nature Conservancy, and Napa Valley Vintners. He holds degrees in Oenology, Viticulture, and Wine Marketing. He doesn’t have a dog.

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