Monday, May 10, 2010

Building A Brand, by Tim Krause

When I was given the assignment to start selling wine in the state of Connecticut, I assumed that it would be similar to selling wine in the Tasting Room. The truth is that selling wine into the wholesale market is really quite different. However, the single constant must be that the wine is good. When selling wine to a retail store or restaurant you are actually selling a brand that fits a niche.So what is the niche that is Millbrook? Yes, it is regional/local. Yes, it has been around for 25 years. But why Millbrook instead of some other winery from Long Island or the Finger Lakes?

The answer comes in the taste. Millbrook wines are of exceptional quality and each restaurant and retail store I have been to are always quite surprised. They are always pleasantly surprised that such good wine can come from a local source.But getting the initial placement out of sympathy for a good local wine is only half the battle. While it is important to get the initial placement, what good is it, if it only sits next to the other local wines collecting dust on the shelves?This is where you must build the brand. The only way to get fan loyalty is to do in-store tastings. It is imperative to get to the consumers directly. They must try the wine and create a buzz in the their local communities. It is like a band that has to go on tour and perform 150 dates throughout the country. You have to take the wine to the consumer to build a brand.So the next time you are in a Connecticut wine store ask for your favorite Millbrook wine or better yet ask if they will be doing a tasting of Millbrook wines. It is only a matter of time before Millbrook becomes the New England wine of choice!!


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