If you manage or own a winery, it’s time to embrace email marketing as a serious DTC (direct to consumer) sales tool.

At it is core, email marketing is a form of direct marketing which uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercially. More importantly, email marketing is permission-based marketing i.e. people give their email addresses freely (with permission), and you are then able to send them targeted marketing messages.

Why does email marketing work?

It works because you have already established a relationship through a touchpoint such as your cellar door, events or even social media.

Now, before you start sprouting that old chestnut that people are over emails and open rates are down; your inbox is overflowing, and there is just no way to cut through all the noise! Consider this – If you have 1,000 email subscribers and 30% open your email offer – that’s 300 people who have seen your offer. Then let’s say 10% click through to your offer (which is presumably on your website) – that means 30 people go back to your site and look at your offer (that in itself offers SEO benefits  – Google loves websites with regular traffic). On average you will probably get 3 to 5 people purchasing.

Now those figures might not seem that amazing, but just think if you scale this to say – 5,000 email subscribers or 10,000!

Are you getting that sort of return on investment on your other forms of marketing?

And don not forget the power of remarketing to your email subscribers or automation email workflows and the conversion rates these tactics can bring!

So please, do not get stuck in that crazy mindset that email marketing is dead, or email marketing doesn’t work for your wine brand. That is like saying Facebook is dead or your customers are not on Facebook. It is too broad a statement and could be causing you to leave money on the table.

No one promised this would be easy – all marketing and sales take effort especially in the crowded wine marketplace.

Keep in mind though, that this is permission based marketing.

The consumer has given you permission to send them an email letting them know more about your wine releases, winery events and wine sales offerings.

Whether they open the newsletter and purchase your wine is really up to you.

Yes – you read that right!!

It’s up to YOU as it really hinges on how well you know your customers, how you have gained those all-important email addresses, how often you send a email/wine offer, when you send the offer and the offer itself.

I digress – how to increase open rates is an extremely important topic, but a topic for another time (you probably should sign up to our newsletter to get that delivered directly to you inbox when we write it! 🙂 )

Back to the topic at hand…..

Here is the kicker with DTC wine sales through email marketing – you actually have to have an email list! A database of wine enthusiasts who know, like and trust your wine brand and actually want to purchase your wines.

And that is where most wineries FAIL!

They don not put time and energy into ethically growing an email database of consumers who actually want to hear from them.

Note ‘ethically’ – there are some dodgy brother practices happening out there in wine land, so stay clear of purchasing lists or any strong-arm tactics to gain email addresses.

Permission based comes with the expectation that you won’t abuse the privilege.

So, before you start sending out emails hoping to make those direct to consumer wine sales – let’s take a step back and look at ideas on how to grow your winery email database.

1. Sign up in the Cellar Door

This is a no-brainer. It is going to be possibly your most effective way to gain those much needed email addresses.

Implement a customer focused email conversion strategy in your tasting room.

Either paper based or electronic sign-up forms will work.

Your cellar door team has to drive this, so ensure they know to ask the question “do you want to join our newsletter” with every wine sale or tasting undertaken. You’ll see your email database list grow quickly with solid leads.

2. Sign up form in With Their Wines

So you didn’t get that valuable email address at the tasting room. Maybe a sign up reminder form in with their wines you’re shipping to them may do the trick.

3. Sign up at Events

Similar to joining at the cellar door, this is a pretty powerful lead magnet.


Because people have already made that connection. They’ve met the winemaker, viticulturist or team member whose passion for their wines shines through.

4. Sign Up form on Your Website

Your winery website should be playing a huge role in wine marketing strategy.

If your prospective customer has found your website, make it super easy them to sign up for content and wine offers with a simple opt-in form on your website.

An opt-in form in the website Footer works as people will scroll on their mobile devices and it’s the last thing they will see. Just remember to not ask for too much information – name and email address is enough information to start the relationship.

DTC Wine Marketing - email marketing

5. Pop Ups on Website

There is a bit of controversy in the wine industry around pop-ups. Many wine business owners or wine marketers still think that they may annoy consumers.

In reality, pop-ups on websites can be as subtle or as intrusive as you wish. It all depends on your target audience and your wine brand needs.

Technology is changing rapidly, and there are so many options here –  full page pop-ups or the discreet as you exit pop-ups and everything in between.

Do ensure they work seamlessly with your email service provider such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact etc. And test to find out what bests suits your wine brand and customers.

6. Sign Up on Facebook

Most email service providers offer widgets that allow integration of a sign up form on your winery Facebook page. You can also use Facebook’s Call-To-Action button!

7. Sign up link in your email signature

A savvy business practice is to have a standard format for employee email signatures.

If you have room, include sign up options. It’s a great way grow your email database.

sign up form in signature

Did you know…..

According to Hubspot – email marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5% every year.

Unless you are refreshing your email database continuously with new leads, your email marketing strategy will be based on a dying asset.

So yes – it is important to be strategic and grow your winery email database to make up for these lost contacts. Collecting and growing your winery email database should be a priority as it is hands-down the best direct road to keep your loyal wine ambassadors engaged and increase your DTC wine sales.

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