Large wineries have brand presence, resources, marketing departments, sales forces, trend reporting and analysis, marketing materials, and larger overall goals.
Small wineries lack brand presence, lack resources, often have no marketing department, maybe a sales force of one (and often the owner/winemaker), no trend reporting or analysis, no marketing materials, and smaller overall goals.
When you look at this comparison in this simplistic way, why would anybody not want to work with the larger wineries?
Several key answers to that question help unlock the power of asking the right questions, presenting the right wines to the right people, and framing the sales conversation in the right direction.
Some buyers simply want control of the sales story themselves. They don’t want their customers to know about a wine before they walk in the door.
Some buyers simply want to help the little guy.
Some buyers don’t want the weight of bigger goals (at the largest end of the industry it’s “brand quotas”) on their business.
Some buyers wake up one day and realize that many of their competitors have the same wines, which then makes it a race to the bottom on price.
As a wine wholesale rep: Know what you sell (large winery brands vs. little guys), know why you sell it and why people buy it, and go from there.
The most interesting thing to watch is a wholesaler that built themselves on small wineries start to sell big winery brands. Many of these wholesalers make the mistake of not acknowledging the change. Many of them desperately try to hold onto things like “culture” and the “our business is family” instead of saying what they should: we are growing, we are taking on more responsibility, and we are changing. Many of them many the crucial error of expecting their sales reps to sell big wineries brands like they sold small boutique brands. It doesn’t work that way.