By Clare Goggin Sivits On May 26, 2023

7 Key Ways to Market and Brand Your Winery

A bottle of wine is not just crafted but it’s grown, aged and carefully packaged for a specific consumer. Winemakers painstakingly create a product over months and years, hoping that it will be received by wine lovers with open arms. But it takes a solid wine marketing plan to bring those producers together with their customers. And maybe even a hand from an alcohol marketing agency.

Marketing alcoholic beverages, whether craft spirits, beer or wine, always delivers unique challenges along with wild successes. Laws across the country dictate what your winery can and can’t say in advertising, especially California’s regulations around tied-house laws. Other states enforce similar restrictions as well but California certainly has the strictest rules.

Labels can be a challenge too. The words chosen for the label must run through a similar process with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and include similar language. However, the right balance of copy, design and overall messaging across all marketing platforms will sell that product to the perfect drinker.

As an alcohol marketing agency with more than a decade of experience, we understand what it takes to market wine well. We’ve grown and aged and carefully packaged our strategy for you below.

Branding Development

No one understands the nuances and flavors of your wine quite like you do. You’ve been deep in that liquid since first planting, patiently waiting for harvest, crush, press and fermentation, only to wait longer while it ages. So we’d say you’re pretty familiar with it, right? Now it’s time to introduce your customers to it! It can be helpful to work with a wine branding agency that understands the industry.

Before you market a single drop, it’s important to know your brand too. Developing a brand is like building a personality that will appeal to your perfect consumer. That very specific wine drinker who will get excited about the flavor and mouthfeel of your product wants to see certain characteristics reflected in your brand. That’s why we always start out with a Branding Workshop.

During that workshop, we establish your winery brand’s purpose and values before chiseling out that personality. To do that, we explore Brand Archetypes that might fit your company’s identity well. For instance, maybe you want to deliver a wine that displays a wide range of flavors from a wide variety of grapes while also educating the consumer on those attributes. That might make your brand a Sage with a touch of the Creator.

After we’ve landed on that personality, we’ll map out your brand’s story and identify your ideal consumer base. With that in your arsenal, you’ll be ready to target the right people to buy your bottles.If you want to team up with a wine marketing agency, we have some tips for working with an agency like ours.

Bottle and Label Design

With branding in place, you’re on the right path to delivering your product to the market! First, you have to package it. Given that you know a bit more about your brand, you can probably envision what that label and bottle will look like – you just need a creative and talented designer to help you bring it to life.

Aside from incorporating your brand’s personality in the design, wine labels also need to include a set of messages per the TTB. The bureau provides a pretty thorough rundown on what needs to be included in your labeling copy here.

Once you’ve carefully combined the required words with your crafted brand story, design and product description, the TTB will review the label through a process that may require multiple revisions. It can be frustrating so it’s wise to work with a team that has experience fielding these changes while keeping the design intact.

Product Photography

Now that your wine has a bottle, it’s ready for its closeup! In order to showcase that design you spent so much time completing, work with a professional photographer to really catch its good side. You’ll want straightforward bottle shots for the purpose of product pages, menus, sell sheets and online product listings but it’s also wise to capture some lifestyle photos to use for marketing and advertising purposes.

Before the photoshoot, build a shot list that includes angles and images that you absolutely need for all of your upcoming marketing purposes. If you need a hand figuring out what should be on that list, sit down with your marketing team – or alcohol marketing agency – and plan out what you need. You’ll be in a much better place by the time your bottles are in front of the camera.

Tasting Room Set Up

The best opportunity you have to market your products is when customers walk into your tasting room. That means your tasting room needs to be a welcoming location – even a destination for your exact customer. Before throwing a bunch of barstools around your bar, consider what that destination should look like and how you can achieve that aesthetic.

In addition to the decor, wineries also need to consider the printed materials necessary to sell wine in your tasting room. Menus for wine flights should include wine descriptions that speak to your customers. Wine lists should incorporate those descriptions as well along with pricing info. Consider any other materials you’d like your guests to peruse while they’re in your company, like business cards, table toppers or coasters. Add your social media handles where it makes sense as well to encourage visitors to share their experiences online.

Website Creation and SEO

Brick-and-mortar locations anchor your business in the real world. But a website opens up your brand to the world. When you build that site, you want it to be as comfortable and welcoming as your tasting room. Good wine marketing companies with expertise in web development will help you translate that real-world experience into an online experience.

Aside from the overall feel of the site, you’ll want to add an about page that tells your brand story, vision and purpose. An overall product page along with a page for each of your products, information about the winery location, a product finder and your address on each page will help you build SEO both globally and locally. A good digital marketer will help you really map out what you need online so find a good one.

Content and Social Media

Once your website is live, you can’t stop there. Constantly updating the content across your site will help keep your brand ranking high on search engines, like Google. A good content marketing plan will allow you to build new stories around your wines and your brand and keep the website fresh.

That content marketing plan can lead your social media posts as well. By having a presence on the right social media platforms, you have the opportunity to get your products in front of your customers. A little bit of research into where your audience spends time online will help you focus your efforts and publish the right messages and stories.

Know the Rules

As we mentioned, the rules and regulations around marketing wine – and really any alcoholic beverage – cover everything from branding to tasting rooms to websites and social media. It can be a lot to navigate when you’re also trying to craft a fine product and sell it. We highly recommend getting a hand with these laws to ensure that you’re operating within the limitations set by both federal and state governments.

We can help you with all of it! Our wine marketing services will give you the bandwidth to do what you need to do to run a business and the confidence that your wines are finding the right market.

Clare Goggin Sivits

As a marketer with a strong writing background, Clare Goggin Sivits has worked in the beer, spirits, and wine industries for nearly a decade. She oversaw digital marketing for a small wine startup as well as a craft brewery and distillery with a nationwide footprint. A Florida ex-pat, Clare now lives in Portland, Oregon, and continues to write about craft beverage marketing and the industry as a whole.

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