Many wineries in Israel try bravely to create a wine club. Some of them take it seriously but unfortunately from what I know and saw there are no proper winery wine clubs in Israel.
Almost all of them offer you to join a ‘wine club’ but it’s just a registration to a future newsletter that most of them don’t really regularly send. Trust me I tried.
There are only 2 wineries in Israel and correct me if I’m wrong (I’m probably not) that are transparently offer something to their customers: Amphora Winery and Dalton Winery. Yeh, there are others, but they still don’t have a developed wine club.
Let’s speak about wine clubs. Only Winery Wine Clubs.
Why Wine Clubs?
Wine club is good for the winery + a well-managed wine club is super fair for the customer. I’ll give you some data: Most of the direct sales of a winery (USA and Canada) coming from Tasting rooms (50%) while managing a good wine club can bring from, 11% to 50% of direct sales.
When speaking about a wine club we should remember that this matter varies from region to region. Which means that researches that was conducted for California or for Piemonte will be correct to those areas, but I believe that the main idea remains.
The main Idea is easy - small to medium-sized wineries, specially those at lower production levels, benefit and gain a stable profit from creating and managing a good wine club and their customers get their wines for a cheaper price.
Do I see a reason why not to manage a wine club? Yes, if you a big winery with over 1 million bottles a year, you probably sell mostly through distributors and retailers and not directly, which means that managing a wine club can hurt those distributors/retailers. Also, if you are a boutique winery that sells mostly to restaurants and you don’t need to sell directly to customers – you don’t need the wine club.
If to speak honestly, even though the second case wineries don’t need the wine club for sales, I do think they should have one in order to help their customers to purchase their wines at a bit cheaper price. You should care about you community - it's not fun to pay restaurant prices.
How do you manage a Wine Club?
First - know it’s a process. It will take at least one vintage to create a wine club that will evolve and improve with time. You will learn about your winery and your customers a lot for sure.
Second – wine club is not a registration to a Newsletter. Stop asking people to join your wine club while you don’t offer them anything. Be transparent.
Third - initiating a customer into a wine club is a hard work. No matter which wine you are making, people don’t join clubs easily – they must gain something from being loyal members of your club. Kapish?
When you build a wine club, you should think about 3 categories: financial, educational and social benefits.
Social is all about interacting with other wine club members and winery staff, attending group events, especially such as wine club pickup parties.
Educational is about learning more about wine, wine and food pairings, information about the region, and the winemaking process. Education your customers will help them to understand you better.
Financial include 2parts: The Benefits - free tastings at the winery (if you have a tasting room), priority tastings of new or rare wines and special sessions with the winemaker. The Rewards – which are discounts on wine, free or discounted wine delivery for wine club members, special offers, and access to purchasing new or rare wines, as well as special addition wines just to the members.
What else? Not all wine clubs look the same, you should understand what your customer needs and how to create a good platform for you both. Is your average client under 30? He wants more parties, is he a bit older and wants more indoor tastings, or maybe he wants something no one made - Movie and Wine in a cinema, didn’t you know that chardonnay and popcorn are besties.
Let me pour you something – even if it’s not to increase sales, managing a wine club can assist you to predict customers loyalty and attitude towards your brand - it’s a lot.
I never asked Amphora Winery and Dalton Winery if their wine clubs are really functioning and working but I do hope that many other wineries in Israel will follow their lead.
I would really love to join a Wine Club that takes care of my wine desires. I would love to have a solid delivery of wines for 3 Israeli Holidays: Rosh Hashana, Passover and Shavuot. I would love my Wine Club to create creative events for its members, I would love to hear more from the winemaker. Maybe even create a unique wines just for its members. There are so many possible ideas how to create an interesting, exciting and profitable wine club. All you need to do is decide to go for it.
I offer for FREE – to FIRST winery (AROUND THE GLOBE) that will Email me – firstname.lastname@example.org to guide and help you to build a super cool wine club.
 Resnick, E. 2008 – “Wine Brands: Success Strategies for New Markets, New Consumers and New Trends”, page 91.