Allocation Lists: Are they the best decision for your winery?
Being in the wine industry, we are fortunate to attend more tastings than the average wine lover. For us, nothing is more exciting than finding a new producer or a new wine during one of these tastings. Here is what usually happens, stream of consciousness to follow…
Oh I’ve never had their wines before. Hi, can I taste the (insert varietal here)? Wow this is different. I like this. I want to buy this and have it with dinner at my friend’s house this weekend. I need to share this with my friend who is really into (insert varietal here,) they will love this.
Fast forward to me, back at my computer, on the high of tasting something new that hits all my palate’s needs. I feverishly type the winery’s name into my Google search engine. Click on the website. Pull up the “Purchase here” tab and…a box pops up saying “Please sign-in to view our list of wines for purchase.” Nine times out of ten I’ll feel slightly defeated, exit the screen, and forget about the wine until I see it at a tasting again or on the off chance I see it at a wine store.
Why in this era of instant gratification, with services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, are we so turned off by one extra step? Is it because we already feel like the world of wine can be elitist and “joining the club” before we can even see the list seems so…off-putting?
I understand the concept of exclusivity creating demand. But why not be open and transparent to new customers, tempt them to peruse your site, buy a bottle, find they love it, THEN join the list? I have a feeling that I am not alone in my mixed feelings about signing up for a list before knowing what a winery has to offer. And if that is the case – which I am going to go out on a limb her to say it very well could be – then wineries are losing tons of potential loyal customers without even realizing it.
Do wineries want to have loyal customers on their allocation lists? Yes. Are the times changing with more and more people expressing an interest in wine? Yes. So why push away the potential newbie who wants to explore and buy your wine but doesn’t want that commitment of signing up for a list right away? It’s like going on a first date and asking the person to marry you and then date you…not so logical, is it?
The allocation list is a wonderful thing, especially for select bottlings and special offerings, but why turn the general wine enthusiast away if you have much more to offer? You never know who could become a customer for life.