Wine Connoisseurs 'Nosing' a Choice Market
A Rare Vintage, Indeed
Men or women, young or old, there are still a few things these amateur critics have in common—particularly the desire for exclusivity. According to Elizabeth Slater, marketing savant at In Short Direct Marketing, a direct marketing company that works with individual wineries and winery associations, that's the first key to reaching this market. Oenophiles "want what they can't have," she says. To reach them, she recommends her winery clients make "small amounts of high-quality wines and get the word out that the quality is high and availability is limited." Connoisseurs, Stephens readily agrees, "will spend large sums on the acquisition of high-end wines." If the offer is exclusive and limited, it affords prospects the chance to appear in-the-know by procuring it first.
Along the same lines as exclusivity is status. According to Project Genome, 20 percent of wine buyers are image seekers. To reach this group, make your offer stand out as something that could increase the prospect's status level.
Pair This Cabernet With the Camembert
So how do marketers weed out these hidden elite? "I don't think it's enough to apply simple demographic income, education, those kinds of overlays," says Boatright. "There has to be an affinity with wine there." Windsor Vineyards and International Wine Accessories do what she terms "traditional rentals." They focus on seasonal, gourmet food- and wine-related lists. Additionally, they participate in co-ops such as Abacus and NextAction, which easily can segment out individuals with an affinity for wine.
Slater says oenophiles do love their food. "Many," she says, "like to cook and pair good food with good wine," so related lists could prove effective in prospecting efforts. In addition, Greenberg suggests marketers might find success renting files related to specialty chocolates and even cigars.
Aside from segmentation and list rental, Windsor Vineyards and International Wine Accessories insert catalogs in Wine Spectator magazine. Specialty publications such as this are sought out as great places to advertise and for wineries to send samples for reviewing. A good review in Wine Spectator solidifies the product's image in the mind of wine connoisseurs. "Wineries rely on good reviews or scores to attract the wine connoisseurs to their brand," says Slater.