Love Wine? Make It Your Business With A Direct-Sales Distributorship

Posted on: 12 December 2014


Wine has long been a hobby for many, and a business for a lucky few. However, the emergence of direct-sales wine companies has created opportunities for wine-lovers to go into business for themselves. It's easy to get started, and you don't need to be a wine expert to succeed.

The direct sales model puts you directly in front of your buyers. You pay a modest fee to join a company as a sales rep, and then purchase some sample bottles as well as marketing materials and product literature. The company pays you commission on the wine you sell at tastings hosted by family and friends who earn free wine or discounts in return for hosting the events. Base your choice of companies on product quality, start-up costs and the depth of training and support they offer to new reps.

Your First Tasting

The friend or family member who hosts your first tasting will invite other family and friends to attend. You or the host should prepare food to pair with the wines you'll demonstrate. The direct-sales company will supply you with all the product information you need to describe and discuss the wines, as well as order forms to allow attendees to make purchases or sign up to schedule their own tastings.

Expanding Your Marketing

The continued growth of your business depends on expanding your marketing efforts beyond your personal contacts. Although you'll want to keep it local to minimize travel, especially if you hand-deliver orders, you probably have more opportunities than you realize to demonstrate the wine to a wide circle of enthusiasts.

A direct response advertising agency can create a website that's more effective at building traffic than the free site offered by the wine company you represent. Mobile marketing,  which engages consumers while they access the Internet from their phones, is another direct-response specialty, and it's particularly effective for local marketing.

The agency can also provide targeted mailing and email lists of people interested in purchasing wine, or who fit the profile of wine buyers. Add your own customers' and tasting attendees' addresses to the purchased lists and create email campaigns--or have the agency create campaigns for you--to stay in touch with a newsletter, wine trivia and other information of interest to your target market.

Create Partnerships

Get more mileage out of your marketing by teaming up with businesses and community organizations. For example:

  • Co-demonstrate with a gourmet-food direct sales rep
  • Plan your own "brushes and bubbly" event with a local artist who'll teach attendees to paint a simple painting while they enjoy the wine
  • Hold tastings for local community service organizations and donate a portion of the proceeds
  • Donate bottles for organizations to give away during their fundraising events, and include enticements for the recipient to host a tasting
  • Rent space at vendor fairs and community events to market your wines

The distributorship is your business, and there's no limit to how far you can take it. As you build financial security, you also build relationships with people who have a common interest that can serve as the foundation for lasting partnerships and friendships.