As it snows outside this after noon, I can’t help but feel inspired to jot down a little memo to the wine drinkers out there who not only enjoy travelling to various wine-regions (which all of us should be doing anyway), but also may find themselves drawn to certain wineries.
What I’m about to get into really applies to smaller wineries – you know, the “ma and pa”-type wineries who are really doing it for the love – but also can apply, in principle, to any winery.
Having worked a bit in the industry for a wine distributor, I can tell you that there’s a hellacious mark-up on every bottle of wine you buy at the store – most of which go directly into the coffers of the distributor and the retailer.
I’m not here to trash distributors as in many instances they can become a necessary evil for every winery; however, I do think the general public needs to understand why it’s very important (when at all possible) to work out some sort of arrangement with their favorite wineries.
Additionally, there are many fine retailers who work their tails off – trying to help ensure you have a pleasant wine experience.
As a very generalistic example, a $20 bottle of wine at retail has a wholesale cost to the distributor for $8-$1o (may even be a bit less) from the winery. This means that, in many cases, that the retailer and the distributor are getting as much, if not more, than the winery – so if the winery is selling it for $8-10, it doesn’t have much in the way of profits. Think about the cost of the grapes, the cost of shipping the grapes (in many cases), the cost of the barrels etc.
The reality is, if a winery doesn’t have a very good direct sales model, chances are they won’t be able to stick around very long – especially the ones which aren’t backed by deep pockets.
I say all of this to say that if you care about a particular winery and regularly drink its wine, then you really should try and purchase directly from them as that way they’re getting all of the profits. If it’s important to you to help keep them in business than buying direct is always the best way to keep out “the man” from taking quite a large chunk out of a bottle of wine.