It may be hard to believe that there are over a thousand wineries producing wines in California. One look at the shelves at your local wine store will confirm the fact that there is not nearly enough room for them all. The truth is that the majority of the California winemakers do not have the ability to distribute their wines on a national level. Many winemakers only produce a few thousand cases per year of all of their wines. Compare this to the million plus cases per year that many of the wine makers you see on the shelves at the local supermarket produce and you can see just how difficult it is for these small batch wineries to compete on the national stage.
In years past, this meant that the only way you could experience many of the wines and wineries of California was by planning a vacation out west or hoping a friend out there could send you a bottle or two. Today, however, many of these wineries are taking advantage of regulatory changes in interstate commerce and direct alcohol sales by partnering up with wine of the month clubs. This cost effective move eliminates the middleman and allows for their wine to reach customers across most of the country.
Regardless of what their precise focus may be, all wine of the month clubs work on the same principal. Each month, depending on the membership level that a customer has chosen, the club will ship out a certain bottle or bottles from the featured vineyards. These wines are hand selected by the staff of the club as the best example of what their focus is. For instance, a club that is dedicated to bringing the best small market California wines to their customers would review several wineries and find those that offer exceptional wines that are also unavailable anywhere else.
This partnership means the wineries do not have to sacrifice quality to meet the production levels for national distribution, and they do not have to engage in costly advertising campaigns in the hopes they will reach even a percentage of their target audience. Instead, their wine will get shipped directly to people who have already expressed an interest in their style of wine. Furthermore, these direct sales will help establish the best advertising campaign of all: positive word of mouth. When a formerly regional California wine gets introduced to a new market on the other side of the country, they can begin to establish a toehold. This direct sale also creates brand loyalty, which means that future vintages will already have built in sales, allowing the winery to become more successful and grow their operations.
Jack Terry is a freelance writer who has written about the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. http://www.wineclubworld.com