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4/10/2017

More wineries charge for tastings than not

For the first time ever, more wineries in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa charge for tasting than do not.

These key findings come from a recently completed Wine Business Solutions’ Direct to Customer Benchmarking report.

“I really think that the University of Central Florida’s Robin Back (Cousin of Charles Back of Fairview fame) can take a lot of the credit here. He was the first to carry out research that confirmed that people actually buy more wine when they pay for tastings," said Wine Business Principal, Peter McAtamney.

"We’ve therefore pushed this hard to the 200 plus wine business owners and senior managers who have attended our workshops over the last 12 months across the three countries," he said.

"Logically, if you are given something for free, you value it less. It was great to see this proven in research. Better still to see wineries do something about it.

"A lot of the resistance has been down to a fear of upsetting people who for too long have been using the wine industry as free entertainment. That is all changing. Those wineries that are charging are getting that, in order command a fee, the entertainment product must be better.

"Tasting fees also mean more money to pay for better staff and the training thereof. All of this is good for our industry."

The survey attracted a steady number of responses over the past 3 years which has given it a consistent view of what's going on the direct to customer space.

For participants selling <50,000 cases, DtC comprised 50% of their wine businesses revenue. This has now reached 60% in the US according to Silicon Valley Bank.

"The key reason why businesses are not keeping pace with the US is that, while visitor numbers across Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are up 12% overall, only South Africa managed to keep pace with the US’ DtC growth of 18%. Australia only grew DtC sales at 8% and New Zealand, barely at all," said McAtamney.

"This is largely to do with the difference in the type of experience offered and sales training.”

Perhaps now is the time to switch from free to fee.

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WID 2017