Monday, November 23, 2009

Its getting real now folks....

Wow, what a weekend! I do not know if it was the great weather; the Nouveau wine tasting notice I emailed everybody; the approaching holiday season; or a combination of all these. We were very busy this weekend for whatever reason and it kept us hopping.

The Nouveau wine tasting went very well, everyone seemed to enjoy the novelty of trying young red wines, chilled. I was surprised at the number of calls and emails we got asking if we would have the wines available after Saturday or even the weekend for trial. We only bottled a very small amount of these wines, but there is still a case or two of each left, so we will have them as long as they last.

I think I was most surprised at how well they sold, being young as they are. Some folks bought some to use in their own nouveau wine tasting with friends, as a bit of a novelty. Others genuinely enjoyed the wines and bought some for drinking. We warned all to keep in mind the flavor of the wine is not stable; these wines should be bought and drunk with 60 days, at last, in my view.

My wife has been constructing gift baskets at a pretty good clip the past week or so. She is focusing in on the popular $25 price point and will spend this week working on the more expensive baskets. It is quite nice to hear all the favorable comments about our baskets, the funniest one being, “These baskets are too cheap!”. I remind people we sell gift baskets as a way to sell wine, we are not a gift basket company, we’re a winery.

I am working on a sales promotion we’ve used before, the three-bottle gift box. We will offer it with either three bottles of regular production wine, or with two bottles, an Oak Hill Winery wine glass, and wine opener for $27.95. In years past, these handy packages have been popular with the “we forgot to get a house-warming gift and don’t have time to get anything else” crowd.

In the Prove-Me-Wrong category, I had gotten a call last summer from a gift supplier who told me she had a hot item, "cork cages", and I needed a bunch of them. Now I thought that was a stupid idea and said no. Then we went on vacation and saw these things all over the place. My wife enquired at several wineries as to their success in selling these unique items and all agreed they were good sellers. I expressed my skepticism and did not order any. I had several customers ask for these things in October, so I ordered a few and they look nice, seem to do the job they are assigned, but I still think they are silly and will not sell. Prove me wrong…

A new wine? I am working on a wine I had not expected to be ready for distribution until late winter, but it seems to be coming along pretty well. My wife says, “Bottle it!” I am not yet sure, but will play with it over the next few days and see what I think. The big issue with wines that taste good ahead of schedule is whether that flavor is stable and will remain, or will the wine move on to a different flavor structure? Watch here for the POSSIBLE release of our new “WATER TOWER” Gew├╝rztraminer, semi-sweet wine.

We have a few dates left in December for parties, check out the website at www.oakhillwines for more details…

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