What if? (50ml edition)

Time for another edition of What if? The pandemic is changing how we have to work, which means there is an opportunity to make things better. An opportunity, only once, here and now, to rewrite the rules of ‘normal work’ in the wine business. So here’s an idea … What if it became the norm Read More…

The Post-Pandemic Wine List

What is your restaurant wine list going to look like on the other side of the pandemic? Will it be the same size? Will you work with the same vendors? Or the same number? Will you allow big brands to wiggle, seduce, push, shove, or buy their way onto the by the glass program (yet Read More…

Four Months from Today

Welcome to SOND 2020. This is a final third of a year like no other. The global pandemic, the unrest in America, the upcoming election, and for those in our industry the continued upheaval of the business in general. Taxes, tariffs, the crash of restaurants, the boom of retail business. Wildfires, overproduction, competition … the Read More…

The Annual Review

Merry Christmas Eve, happy holidays, and Bestest Festivus to all! This is not the normal Vinethinking essay. It’s more important than that. This essay is about the Annual Review. The Annual Review is a process that I’ve been going through since 2009, during which I take the time to get secluded, get reflective, get analytical, Read More…

Wine Inventory as Wine Marketing

Inventory is one of the most mis-understood aspects of the wine world. A wholesaler that commits ten percent of their annual revenue to a single purchase of five thousand cases of Hungarian Viognier is going to run into an inventory problem. A restaurant owner who has a wine buyer that overbuys on Barolo and ties Read More…

What do your wineries want?

What do wineries that you represent really want? “We want to be placed in the right accounts.” “We want to be a category leader.” “We want to grow our direct to consumer business.” “We want less competition in your book.” “We want your sales reps to take more samples out.” “We want your sales reps Read More…

Is Wine an Experience Good?

In economics, an experience good is a product that can only be evaluated after experiencing it. The other two categories are a search good, where an item is fully evaluated prior to purchase (think clothing), and credence claims which are difficult to impossible to evaluate or measure accurately even after consumption or purchase (think legal Read More…

Wine prices and pillows

Yesterday, late in the afternoon, I bought a new pillow. A fancy one. It came in cool packaging, well designed and unlike other pillows on the market. Being who I am, I also looked online at reviews to help nudge me toward what I wanted to do (buy the pillow). Enough glowing reviews led me Read More…

A Sales Rep’s Choices

A wine sales rep is in a marvelous and privileged position. You get to choose. Today, are you building a brand or building the market? Tomorrow, are you finding the unknown (wine or customer), or are you learning the known even better? Next week, are you showcasing the new or reinforcing the established? What are Read More…

The irreplaceable placement

Many restaurants have one or two. Every retailer has six to twelve. They are the wines they cannot swap out, cannot consider getting rid of, and cannot possibly imagine life without. They are the wines that customers would riot over losing access to. The wines that sell as regularly as a heartbeat. They are the Read More…

Invent your own week

This is for wine retailers and restaurants. It’s an easy way to drive some traffic and get some attention from the local wine community. It’s repeatable and scalable. And it’s a way to train and focus your staff at the same time. And it’s a way to have fun while selling more wine. And yet Read More…