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May 19, 2021

Mailing Lists for European Wineries w/ Kevin Sidders, VinConnect

Mailing Lists for European Wineries w/ Kevin Sidders, VinConnect

For the first time, European wineries can have direct relationships with customers, and lovers of many European wineries can consistently secure access to their favorite wines via the VinConnect platform.  Founder and President, Kevin Sidders, explains ho


For the first time, European wineries can have direct relationships with customers, and lovers of many European wineries can consistently secure access to their favorite wines via the VinConnect platform.  Founder and President, Kevin Sidders, explains how VinConnect works, tells us some of the unique, rare wines that have been offered, and all the reasons how VinConnect benefits their winery partners.  Not a new way of buying wine, but bringing the American direct-to-consumer experience to European wineries. 

This episode is sponsored by Sonoma State University’s Wine Executive MBA program.  A 17-month, transformative program that builds leadership skills and business acumen focused on the specific needs of the world of wine.  Learn more about SSU’s Wine MBA programs here.  If this is something you’re considering, the next Global Wine Executive MBA session’s enrollment deadline is June 30, 2021, for courses starting in October!! 

Detailed Show Notes: 

  • Kevin’s background
    • Lived in the Bay Area 25-30 years ago, discovered wine and joined mailing lists of California wineries
    • Was in the finance industry
  • VinConnect founding - 10 years ago
    • Struggled to buy and collect wines from Europe
    • Was on mailing lists in California and wanted the same experience for European wines
  • VinConnect Customer Experience
    • Just like signing up for a US mailing list
    • Sign up, get offers, have wine shipped to you
    • VinConnect works as an extension of the winery, a facilitator
    • Key benefits
      • Convenience, consistent access - “never miss a vintage,” which Kevin experience himself with Domaine du Pegau
      • Relationship / communications direct from the winery
      • Special treatment in hospitality
      • Provenance - authentic and shipping through winery approved channels (in good condition)
      • Occasionally special goods - unique wines (including a never release bottling from Chateau Musar, formats, vintages, library wines
  • Logistics
    • Supports planning, strategy, and pricing with wineries - wineries decide how they want to operate their program (communications, offers, etc…)
    • 2 models for buying
      • Single national importer - who sells to distributors, then retailers
        • VinConnect buys from importer
      • Direct to distributors - winery may have ~30 relationships in US 
        • VinConnect buys from winery directly
    • Allocations - depends on the winery, some have purchase limits, some do not
    • Wine Clubs - a couple wineries run clubs on the VinConnect platform
    • Each winery list is separate, no cross communication
    • When a new winery launches on VinConnect, all customers are notified that they have the ability to sign up - this is the only communication to all customers
  • Types of wineries that fit - high profile presence in US, flagship winery of their region - platform is more useful when the brand has a consumer presence
  • How Consumers sign up
    • The winery - visits in hospitality (most European wineries haven’t been as good at this), signups via winery website, social media driving to mailing list
    • VinConnect website - can sign up for all lists via the website
    • Google advertising
  • Benefits for wineries
    • They can’t do this themselves in US
    • Creates communication channel with consumers
    • Can create in-market events w/ consumers
    • Have access to all customer data (via dashboard portal)
    • 65 winery partners as of April 2021
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