Strategy: How Do I intend to Get This Done
To say that I have been working on this plan for a couple of years is an understatement; I basically got the idea to do it in 2010. Over the years I have met enough people to show me different parts of the puzzle as well as answer some important questions for me. While I looked at two potential deals in 2011, I got to see the shadiness of some folks in the wine industry.
Right now, there are connections in place with a number of producers that will private label for the company. This means that they produce wine already and just are contracted to churn out a label for us. This is pretty much standard and very common in the industry and you'd be surprised by how many labels are done this way. In the end, producers have wine that they want to sell, and they're happy to sell it, though the might save their best wine for their own label.
I've located the graphic artist that I want to produce the labels and affiliated printed materials. The last pieces to put in place will be warehousing and the choice for order fulfillments (the actual delivery of products from warehouse to customers). The marketing plan including several different campaigns has already been designed. We intend to enter the market with around 2,200 cases of wine consisting of up to four different wines.
To start the process with the producers, I need to be in Italy by April 4th and stay for at least a week. During this time, I will taste the wines from the producers, making the final selections and negotiating the final numbers including rates and terms after the first containers are ordered, meaning prorating the price of the wine at certain amounts of total cases ordered. I will also use this time to look at other products that we would like to incorporate in the future.
We intend to start distribution in DC, focused on clubs, bars, restaurants and retail outlets that cater to our demographic. We are looking for a product launch around July 15th and then expanding to Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania by the end of September.
Demographics: Our Market
Our core demographic consists of African Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, and Caucasian women over the age of forty. With the groups of color, we also are focusing first on the women and then on men. The reason why I have chosen this group is that they are virtually untapped when it comes to the wine market. Sure, they do purchase wine but either not as much as the mainstream market, or they purchase more mass produced and mass marketed wines, and these wines are really the best examples of the styles of the varietals that are on the label.
This demographic is teeming with people who can be willing to explore new things but in some cases are taken aback by the pretentious attitudes and actions exhibited by others who [supposedly] are astute on wine. No one really wants to either feel like a child or be treated like one, but the industry can make them feel that way with talk consisting of phrases like "tannins" and "sur lees." And on the side of the educators, many have given up on trying to penetrate this market. Wine is a finite thing and people are going to go for the group that is most likely to spend their money on it. Unfortunately, right now the larger companies are either only interested in either pushing the things that the bulk of this demographic are more readily picking up [which is usually sweet] or not interested in developing this market at all.
But I am!
This market has a combined annual discretionary spending budget exceeding 2.4 billion dollars, and possibly over 4 billion. And I know that if presented with better products as well as spending the time to develop their wine palates, they will change the face of the American wine market. Remember that at one time no one thought that wines coming out of California could compete on the world stage, especially not be as good as those coming out of France.