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WINE CLUBS CASE STUDIES

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					WINE CLUBS CASE STUDIES
All Saints Estate & St Leonards Vineyard,
Wahgunyah, Rutherglen

The Wine Club at All Saints Estate and St Leonards
Vineyard is among the country’s most successful
‘direct from Winery’ member based wine clubs, and is
certainly one of the oldest. The majority of recruitment
to the club occurs at cellar door, so owner Peter
Brown recognises how important it is to attract visitors
and work closely with regional tourism to maximise
referral.

The average length of membership sits at around two years, however there are regular purchasers who have
remained loyal for up to 25 years (and the loyalty doesn’t go unrewarded!) Communication with the database is
highly personalised and types of offers, communication frequency, special interest and individual preferences can be
tailored specifically for every member. A great deal of rigour is placed around document priority, so if someone has
indicated they wish to be contacted no more than every three months and only about food and wine offers – that’s
exactly what will happen. A well-managed and powerful database, integrated with a customer relationship
management system, is a critical tool in maintaining communication integrity.

Customer sales history is the primary source of information around which offers are developed. If a customer has
never purchased a sweet wine, they won’t be getting an offer to buy the latest release sticky, unless of course it is
targeted specifically, acknowledges they’ve never bought one before and encourages them to give it a first time try.
Someone who has purchased shiraz with regularity will certainly be given a ‘forward offer’ of a new release award
winning reserve – well before anyone else has it on their dinner table. Multiple offers are likely to be out at any one
time, working to generate business from specific segments of the database.

The extensive range of wines and price points available from All Saints and its sibling St. Leonards Vineyard are
critical to the wineries’ direct selling success. Communicating to a large database regularly requires good product
variety to ensure there is always something new and interesting to attract another purchase.

Until recently, All Saints has maintained a low profile in the wholesale trade, focusing their energy and attention on
cellar door and the club. The desire to build a higher profile in the general market place coupled with a demand for
extended product availability has seen them make a foray into selected on and off premise outlets. The club
however, remains a priority and club members are privy to exclusive opportunities (both for wines and winery
events), special member benefits and high levels of service and product customisation.




    1
Tamburlaine Wines, Hunter Valley

What makes one wine club more successful than another?
It’s about the level of service you provide; how you develop
your relationship with each and every customer and the
range of wines you offer to meet their needs.

Mark Davidson of Tamburlaine Wines in the Hunter Valley
believes that success hinges on the little things, like
sending personal notes from key people in the business.

His customers know they can send him an email asking for advice and he’ll respond. With well over 10,000 active
customers on his database, the personal touch is clearly working. And is it worth it? Well, most wineries would be
happy if over 70% of their production was sold direct through both cellar door and mail order.

“Our annual retention rate has remained high, at around 85%, and we have members who have been with us for 17
years,” says Mark.

But Mark wouldn’t be nearly as successful if he’d stuck to his original plans of producing only premium wines – his
market would have been too limited. So over time he developed additional ranges to meet demand and increase the
purchase rate because their customers’ budgets could accommodate regular purchases spread across several
categories. This kind of brand extension works well if you create products that clearly meet the stated (as opposed
to perceived) needs of your customers. From a winery perspective, it can also alleviate a common problem of
moving wine that for some reason doesn’t make the premium grade by providing a “home” for it in the form of a
commercial style range.

Mark also uses specialist software to run his winery operations, including the Wine Club, and it is this integration and
management behind the service that is absolutely critical to success.

So what does Mark do about the “inactive” customers? Well, they’re archived as “Lost Property” until they can be
contacted, sometimes up to two years later. Not surprisingly, a phone call can be greeted with a response like,
“Hey, I wondered what had happened to you”, to which Mark would reply, “Well, we were wondering the same thing
about you”.




    2
Meadowbank Estate, Tasmania

Proprietor Gerald Ellis claims that
one of his most profitable
sources of business is through
the Meadowbank Cellar Club.

The deal is simple:

Members sign up to receive a tasting pack every May and November at a cost of $155. Gerald then selects “six of
the best” and sends them out with an accompanying commentary. Delivery is free in Tasmania and Victoria and
most capital cities, and customers are rewarded for their commitment by access to a range of other benefits.
Customers can also opt to receive a third tasting pack in August.

Benefits are clearly articulated:
• 10% off wines purchased at Meadowbank
• 10% off restaurant meals for the customer and their partner
• Free room hire and access to the underground cellar
• Discounts to Cellar Club events
• A club card to make claiming benefits easy

Gerald has found that these customers regularly make case purchases of products in the pack they like, which adds
considerably to the value of each customer. Even with just a few hundred members, this type of club can clearly
contribute significantly to the bottom line.

Meadowbank also has a regular mailing list that receives quarterly updates on upcoming events and wine tasting
notes.




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