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American Association of Wine Economists
Tech. Time Saver
A winery website can be a great marketing communication tool.  It should help visitors learn more about you, find your location, and of course serve as a conduit for wine sales. 
I recently learned three new ways to help ensure that your website is running smoothly from Rachell Coe of 4theGrapes. Best of all, they're free!

1. Make sure your links are working properly.
2. Be sure to test your site on the popular browsers such as IE, Firefox, and Google Crome.
3. Ensure that your site is loading within 10 (preferably fewer) seconds with this optimization tool.
News & Events
Wine Bloggers' Conference, Stoller live tweet tasting June 25-27
OR wine competition
judging July 13-14
IPNC, July 23-25
Wine in Pines, July 30-31
Swiftwater Cellars Opening, September 10-11
Wine Business  Links
Business Links
Client Corner
Swiftwater Cellars
announces grand opening entertainment, LONESTAR and restaurant name contest winner 
Stoller Vineyards
SV Pinot Noir wins "Best Pinot Noir" at Critics Challenge 

??? launches 
(coming 2011
Industry Spotlight: Design
When hiring a designer you want someone who is knowledgeable, talented, understanding, and of course within budget.  Below I highlight four impressive people with whom I've worked and list one of my favorite things about them.
CA:  I've been working with Wendy White of
W.White Design for five years on numerous projects.  Her enthusiasm.

WA: Joe Farmer is the creative mind behind WhizBang Studio. I met him working on Swiftwater Cellars.  His integrity.

OR: I met Chris Noud of
Now Design through Stoller Vineyards and quickly had a lot of work for him.  His initiative.

Amy Hall-Bailey owns
Grow Creative in Portland with her husband, Jonathan.  I met them through one of their clients. Her aesthetic.
Dixie Huey 
Welcome to edition 13 of 
Strategic Guidance from the Ground Up, the Trellis Wine Consulting bi-monthly newsletter. 
I just returned from SoWine, the first annual Southern Oregon wine industry conference on sales and marketing, where I spoke on Developing a Marketing Plan for your Wine and Wine Grapes. There I met Rachell Coe, who offered some great website development tips that I've featured as tech time savers.
In this issue I discuss wine labels -- specifically what they should and should not do for your winery. Know that most people launching wine brands start with the label, which should actually be attended to later in the marketing timeline for best results.
Lastly, I've added a new Industry Spotlight column which features fellow wine business service providers.  This month I introduce you to four great designers.  In the future I'll spotlight event planners, photographers, PR firms and other companies.


Dixie Huey's signature

Dixie L. Huey, Proprietor
View Dixie Huey's profile on LinkedIn LinkedIn  Follow dixieleehuey on Twitter twitter   blog
Your Label: What it should and shouldn't  do  

The tendency to create a label early on or first in the branding process is understandable.  From the producer's perspective, a wine label is the visual extension of the winery's "raison d'Ítre," and is therefore a crucial part of the wine marketing and brand communication process.  From a consumer's perspective, labels are often the first cue in the purchasing decision and one of the most memorable aspects of the winery after consumption.  And from our friends at the TTB, regulating them is an opportunity to "ensure that products are labeled, marketed and advertised in accordance with the law." [1]

In discussing marketing strategy with current and prospective clients, I'm often confronted with label questions and involved in discussions surrounding creation or redesign.  Based on my experience, it seems that the label is the first item to be addressed when launching or repositioning and the first aspect of communication to be blamed when sales are not performing as expected.  In short, we in the industry place a tremendous value on our labels!

Below, I've assembled a short list of what your label "should" and "shouldn't" attempt to do for your wine:

* Provide visual cue to consumer at point of purchase
* Attract target market segment
* Serve as visual representation of brand's meaning and value
* Be deemed compliant by our friends at the TTB

* Substitute for brand plan or business strategy
* Constitute sole theorized reason for increased or lagging sales 
* Take up the majority of you time in dealing with TTB

Valuing a critical aspect of a winery's look and feel is not a mistake.  However, basing your marketing and/or sales plan around your label does not constitute sound business practice.  Creating the visual assets including label and other marketing materials such as website, brochure, etc., should be the third step.

So why is the label a tertiary step in developing a new wine brand?  Before addressing the "look," a winery should deal with two vital elements: 1) create a brand plan including message, value proposition, and identity -- compelling story; and 2) develop a marketing plan defining how your brand will communicate with its target audience and stakeholders and shape the experience with your wine. 

In understanding your message and for whom it is intended, you'll ensure a stronger visual and ultimately a label that will convey more meaning for those selling and enjoying your wine.  And you'll save time and money during the label design process because you'll be able to communicate more effectively and efficiently with your designer.

[1] "Our mission is to collect alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and ammunition excise taxes; to ensure that these products are labeled, advertised, and marketed in accordance with the law; and to administer the laws and regulations in a manner that protects the consumer and the revenue, and promotes voluntary compliance."
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.