In Pursuit of the Holy Sale
I've been spending a lot of time on the road lately. Literally in my car, or as the case is now, on an airplane heading to the East Coast for a sales trip. Market work or road trips are a necessary evil in the world of wine sales. For most wineries, it's practically a requirement if they're going to stay in business.
These trips are designed to introduce our new releases, solidify distributor relationships, attend trade tastings, call on accounts, and present our wines to as many people as humanly possible. And, of course, all the while I will attempt to be enthusiastic, upbeat, and utterly charming day after day. (This in itself can be a challenge.) Generally these trips include a lot of evening events followed by early morning wake up calls to head on to a new city. It's probably not unlike the life of a rock star except you're not treated (or paid!) like one.
I bring this up not to whine or complain, but to shed another dose of reality on the true life of a vintner. Road trips or market visits, as we call them, are a vital part of a winery's marketing plan. The trouble is everyone's doing it. In the olden days, wine distributors were thrilled to have a supplier visit their market. People were thirsty for California's new quality wines and accounts welcomed us with arms wide open. These days it's a bit of a different story. Distributors are inundated with supplier visits from the 1000s of brands they represent from all over the globe. And the accounts have more wine available to them than they do actual customers. Navigating through this maze to reach the end consumer takes persistence and patience, trust me.
So I'll be out of commission for a while. Hitting the streets in pursuit of the holy sale. Wish me luck I've been on enough road trips to know I'll need it!
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