Public Relations, Wine Sales and Softball

So what do public relations, wine sales and softball all have in common?  Answer: Absolutely nothing.  

When I first started at Dry Creek Vineyard almost 5 years ago (gulp!), Wilma brought me aboard to be the winery's communication conduit.  Writing, interfacing, schmoozing – call it what you want, but when it comes to communication and public relations outreach, Wilma relies on me.   Well, in the past six months, things have changed a bit – check that, they've changed a lot.

With the economy sputtering along, Wilma and The Husband came to me in January with one simple request – help SELL wine!  Not that I was surprised.  Everyone in the wine industry is in the same boat.  When times are tough, businesses need all hands on deck (pun intended).  Hey, I'm a team player. Why not?  This sales thing is a piece of cake, right?  Uh, no, not exactly as I would come to find out. 

Over the past six months, I've been knee deep in the sales world, working with sales people, attending distributor meetings and trying to keep my positive glass-half-full attitude.  Not easy.  That being said, it's been really rewarding work.  I've met lots of very talented sales people, who spend their days out working the streets.  I'm not sure there is anyone I admire more than a distributor salesperson – these people are some of the hardest working professionals I have met.  Sometimes their job is totally thankless and yet most of the time they manage to still get their job done with a smile.  I've learned about sales reports, business reviews, and how wine is sold in the real world.  I have to admit – I think all wine industry PR people should be required to do this kind of work.  Sometimes we PR people get caught up in our lofty PR ideals and forget that there is a certain reality to how the market works.  Being in sales over these past few months has taught me a ton about how I need to think and look at the big picture as a PR person. 

And so, as we continue to fight the good fight, selling one bottle at a time, I have this to fall back on – the winery softball team.  Yep, that's right.  Every Wednesday night we Dry Creek Crushers lace up our cleats and head to the diamond, with just one thing on our mind – okay, two – kick the stuffing out of the other winery team and then enjoy an icy cold beer at the local pizza joint after the game.   After all, it's the little things in life that keep us happy, right?  That and beer.  Okay, and a W – we won 9-6 last night, defeating The Sexy Wine Bombs!

| | Comments (4)


JimCaudill Author Profile Page said:
July 9, 2009 11:00 AM

You're right that things should be required. On a ride-along once we pulled up to a bottle shop in Houston and instead of going in the front door, we headed down the strip mall to a beauty parlor. "Huh?" The distributor rep says "my client is a Muslim and doesn't drink, so he relies on Betty & The Gals to do the tasting and tell him what they like." Over time, I never forgot to recalibrate at least some of the sales sheets and things for Betty.

And I have my own softball memory from the KJ team: a nice scar from when I blew my Achilles out rounding third, heading home for the home run I never quite scored. Go Team.

The Sexy Wine Bombs?

DCVpr guy said:
July 9, 2009 11:30 AM

Jim, funny story. You know, I've acutally run into similar situations. It's crazy what you see out there. Don't you just love tasting wine out of plastic cups?

Yes, Sexy Wine Bombs. Not my first choice of names for a winery softball team. Ask Jim Morris. He was the pitcher.

Matt Author Profile Page said:
July 10, 2009 9:13 AM

I remember doing a Friday morning sales meeting in Cincinnati at a real nice wine shope that happened to be connected to a car wash. Dunkin Doughnuts and wine on a Friday morning followed with a wash and wax. Strange world sometimes.

Jean Deaux said:
July 11, 2009 7:04 PM

We are customers of the local Dry Creek Vineyards' distributor and they are overwhelmed. I believe the term for most of the reps would be "order takers." Despite having a wonderful catalogue and an amazing range of wines to sell, virtually the only time we're presented wines is when the rep has one of those dreaded "ride withs." I would think it's difficult to make a new placement if you're a rep who is empty-handed and flat-footed.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by dcvprguy published on July 9, 2009 10:23 AM.

That Wine Country Je ne Sais Quoi was the previous entry in this blog.

Pope and Lobster Anyone? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


This is a blog about what it's really like to be in the wine sit back, take a sip and enjoy!

about me

our wines

our winery

our events

contact me

privacy statement

favorite posts

A Lifetime in Wine

Top 10 Traits of the Successful Family Winery

The Dreaded Family Meeting

Board Meeting Jitters

Is the Future of the Winery in Danger?

The Case of the Overweight Bottle

Wine and Dementia

Wanted: Talented (Normal) Individual for Family Owned Winery

A Sea of Wine

The Heroes of Our Industry

monthly archives


Hopes & Dreams

Owning a Coastal Cottage

Sailing for 6 Months

Getting a 100 Point Score

Favorite Haunts

Coast of Maine

Dry Creek General Store

Dry Creek Kitchen

Healdsburg Bar & Grill


Sonoma Country Antiques

Baci Cafe & Wine Bar

The Farmhouse

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar

Bad Ass Coffee

Bistro Ralph

Bits of Press

Food & Wine Magazine

The Wine News

Wine Enthusiast

Wine Spectator

Press Democrat

Sunset Magazine

Connoisseurs' Guide

Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences

Cruising World Magazine

Oprah Magazine

The Washington Post

Coastal Living Magazine

Wine & Spirits Magazine

People Magazine

SAG Awards Magazine

Forbes Magazine

Favorite Magazines

Coastal Living

Down East


Country Living

Quarterly Review of Wines

Wines & Vines

Wine Spectator

Wine Enthusiast

California Grapevine

Connoisseurs' Guide

Practical Winery & Vineyard


Vineyard & Winery Mgmt

Blog Buddy List


Hip Tastes

Pinot Blogger

All The Best

Julia Flynn Siler


Winery Web Site Report

The Pour - Eric Asimov

Dr Vino

Steve Heimoff

Start Up Ladies

Good Wine Under $20

Blind Muscat

The Wineroad Blog

Gabe's View

Wine Peeps

Vici Vino

Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk

Uncork Life

WineVine-Imports Blog

The Wine Witch


Honorable Mentions

Wilma Hits The World of Blogs
Most Intriguing New Wine Blogs of 2008
Midwest Wine Guy
Winery of the Month
Julia Flynn Siler
Meritage wines - and a fascinating glimpse into family business
Winery Web Site Report
New Winery Blog: Wilma's Wine World
Start Up Ladies
Insider's View of Family Owned Dry Creek Vineyard
The Glue that Keeps the Whole Thing Going
Atlanta Dish
Blog of the Week
Blind Muscat
The Merits of Meritage
Boston Wine Expo exhibitors, and the reason why winemakers are so darn happy