Trellis Wine Consulting Header  
American Association of Wine Economists
Tech. Time Saver
If your company issues 1099s, I've found a web-based business that will save you time and hassle. is a free bookkeeping site that also offers 1099 e-filing. The process is fast, secure, simple and best of all, only costs $5 per filing.

I found it while on a 45 minute hold with the IRS to ask a simple 1099 question (which after three transfers remained unanswered). Go figure.
Industry Articles, News & Events
Canopy Wine Marketing Network
Eight industry experts launch unique referral and collaboration network.  Read more in Oregon Wine Press and visit us at booth C9 the Oregon Wine Symposium, February 22-23.

Direct to Consumer Symposium
Thoughts on event held in Santa Rosa in January.
Wines & Vines
"A Three Step Process for Selecting Direct-to-Consumer Software," published January 2010.
Wine Links
Business Links
Client Corner
??? launches 
(coming May 2010)

??? launches 
(coming June 2010)
Wine Picks
I just returned from a fabulous weekend of wine tasting  in Oregon's Willamette Valley.  Below are the producers and wines that particularly shined:

Andrew Rich
Coup d'Etat Rhone blend

Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc

Lazy River

Patricia Green
Eason and Estate Pinot Noirs

Willakia Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris

I also recently shared a special bottle given to me when I left the Symington Family's Premium Port Wines -- a magnum of Graham's 1970 Vintage Port.  It was unbelievable and so long lived -- layers and layers of complexity on the palate including red and black fruit, curing tobacco, baking spices, mint, lavender, etc., etc. 

For those of you attending Portland's major wine auctions -- 
Classic in March or Salud in November, Trellis Wine Consulting has donated bottles of this wine so be sure to bid.
Dixie Huey 
Welcome to edition 11 of 
Strategic Guidance from the Ground Up, the Trellis Wine Consulting bi-monthly newsletter.  This issue features an examination of the True Meaning and Value of Marketing, where I focus on distinguishing between sales and marketing functions in the industry. And a tech time saver to help your business more easily file 1099s.

For Oregon-based readers, I hope you'll join me at the Oregon Wine Symposium, where I'll be speaking on creating a strategic winery/vineyard marketing plan on Monday, February 22.  
Lastly, my spring wine marketing class, Assessing the Target Market, begins in April 1st at Chemeketa's Northwest Viticultural Center. The course is open to students seeking degrees as well as those looking for professional development. 


Dixie Huey's signature

Dixie L. Huey, Proprietor
View Dixie Huey's profile on LinkedIn Linkedin  Follow dixieleehuey on Twitter twitter   blog
A Look at the True Meaning and Value  of Marketing
In the wine industry, we tend refer to "sales" and "marketing" in the same vein, often using the terms interchangeably.  We create "sales and marketing plans", appoint Directors of "Sales and Marketing" and generally know that we need both functions to operate successfully.  However, there exists a good deal of confusion regarding the purpose and specific activities accorded to each activity.   While the two should work in tandem, it is important to understand that sales and marketing are not one and the same.  Marketing is a distinct value creating function.

Two years ago I created a workshop entitled "Driving Sales with Marketing-Driven Strategies" that I've since had the pleasure of presenting to a few wine industry organizations.  During the introduction, I point out that the title of the presentation was chosen mindfully -- it presupposes that sales and marketing are two distinct functions.  I then show two simple images: a leather shoe and a crowded room.  The leather shoe represents sales, which closes the deal -- literally moving inventory out of the winery and through the channels of distribution and creating revenue.  The crowded room symbolizes marketing -- a function that creates value by driving demand for wines and makes it easier to move those boxes. 

Let us examine a different example, a tasting room: sales closes the deal -- it is a "here and now" activity; but first, marketing attracts the customers to the winery and requires a longer term outlook.  Without marketing, the role of a sales person is rendered much more difficult.  There are more outbound than inbound calls, a steeper slope and a heavier bag.  And without sales, the marketing role is much less effective since wines rarely sell themselves.  The challenge is that many wineries do not have the budget to hire two full-time people, one overseeing sales, another heading up marketing.  So it is even more important that the roles of each function are well understood and that appropriate time is allocated to both.

One of the primary responsibilities of a marketing manager is to identify the winery's compelling story.  This story, a critical aspect of the brand, should identify the winery's four "D"s - what is desirable, distinctive, deliverable and durable.  These characteristics define uniqueness, which is critical for achieving a defendable and strong positioning in a very crowded and competitive marketplace.  The next responsibility should be to create or polish the winery's vision, mission, key talking points (and proof for each) and identify the segments it's targeting in the sales channel.  Part of doing so well involves a competitive analysis of wineries that occupy the chosen position and defining particular internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats (the SWOT analysis).

At this point a nascent winery will start thinking about assets including all visual and written communication including packaging, website, press kit, e-blasts, brochures, etc.  For an existing winery, this is the time to review those assets to make sure that they do the following: 1) tell the story consistently and in a compelling manner, and 2) appeal to the identified target segment(s).

The next step in a marketing-driven sales strategy is to create a plan to tell the winery's compelling story.  The traditional four P's of the marketing mix provide the beginning of a framework -- product, price, place and promotion.  The first two traditional P's must be defined as part of the winery offering.  The third, Place, is the one most related to sales.  It should answer the questions of what channels and markets, as well as specific breakdown between wholesale, direct-to-consumer and direct-to-trade in each.  "Place" is essentially where a winery will tell its story.  The fourth P, Promotion, is often the "fun" part.  It defines the combination of tactics including events, ads, online activity, media relations, trade relations, programming, promotional materials, etc.

There are some newer P's including People, Process and Physical evidence that work very well in the wine industry, which necessarily has a hospitality and customer service focus.  A good winery marketing plan will include specific strategies for engaging and training the right people, creating systems and processes for customer service, etc. and producing a location, whether online or virtual, that includes physical elements that speaking to the winery's particular story.

The final and ongoing stage of marketing-driven sales strategy is to aim for continuous improvement.  The Processes created by marketing should determine exactly who is doing what, define how compliments and complaints are handled, and provide for a set of key winery metrics.  Internal performance reviews and annual surveys of key audiences are methods used to assess good standing and provide feedback for improving operations.

Marketing can only succeed in its true value creating role when it is performed at the strategic level.  Confusing marketing with sales diminishes a winery's optimum operations and misses opportunity for both short-term deal making and long-term value creation.
Strategic Guidance from the Ground Up                                                       
Trellis Wine Consulting, LLC is a full service branding, strategy and communications firm for wine businesses.  Our services include business planning, marketing communications and sales strategy, brand identity and packaging, website
design and social media.
We deliver exceptional value to our clients by providing a unique blend of breadth of services and depth of expertise that supports efficient and effective growth and enhanced profitability. Ten years of experience guiding over 50 brands ranging from small, family owned wineries to large international corporations means that we know what works and well understand the need for return on marketing investment. For more information, call 360.210.5551 or visit our website.