Sales Boost: Step 5

target this niche: Wineries

Wine consumption in the U.S. is increasing. So is the number of stateside commercial wineries. Tap into this expanding market, and your sales are sure to catch a buzz.

Sonoma Style

Sonoma Design, Apparel & Promotions (asi/329869) is located in the epicenter of California's postcard-perfect wine country. Being so situated means the Santa Rosa-based distributorship has a leg up when it comes to turning wineries into clients. "The biggest advantage for us is that we're right in their backyard," says Eddie Brascia, a partner at Sonoma.
Sonoma has capitalized on its competitive edge, providing a spectrum of solutions for wineries. This includes delivering apparel and hard good products for clients to use at tasting events and the like. "It really can be a lot of different types of promotional products," says Brascia. "What exactly will work depends on the winery and the demographics of its target audience."

For example: Vintners with young trendy brands aimed at appealing to millennial generation wine enthusiasts have loved the T-shirts with hip graphics that Sonoma has created for them. Meanwhile, for more traditional wineries, Brascia and his team have produced distinctively embroidered polos. Matching wineries with logoed items that help them raise their profile with ideal consumers is pivotally important, but that's not all these clients desire. "They're looking for a quick turn, good quality and competitive price," says Brascia.

Amid a flurry of activity on a recent week, Sonoma produced 150 expertly decorated lightweight rain jackets for a local winery. Practical and attractive, the wearables were for staffers. The order didn't end there, though. Sonoma sourced and decorated a second batch of higher-end rain jackets, which the winery gave to clients at a wine event. The multi-pronged sale highlights how, with wineries, there are multiple layers of end-users, meaning the number of solutions reps can create for a single client is potentially vast. Santé to that!

Wineries are everywhere!

Yes, it's true that California produces the overwhelming majority of wine in the U.S. But you can still score new accounts in this strengthening market even if you're not in the Golden State. At least 40 other states feature commercial wine producers, from Alabama to Arizona, Colorado to Connecticut, Missouri to Maine and beyond. Look for opportunity in your corner of the country.

by the numbers

  • 23.1 Billion Estimated retail value of California wine shipments within the U.S. in 2013.
  • 892 Billion That's how many gallons of wine Americans consumed in 2013, a 4.2% rise over the prior year.
  • 8,391 Number of wineries in the U.S. in 2013 – a 4.3% increase.

biz tips:

When it comes to branded apparel, many wineries are interested in placing their logos in interesting spots on the garment, rather than going with the standard left-chest look. Designs will go on sleeves, or yokes, the hems or wrap around the shirt. Show virtual or actual samples of such decoration techniques when speaking with winery buyers, and you'll be in a strong position to gain an edge on competitors.