Wine Industry Today

There are 1.000.000 wine labels, 150.000 winemakers out there in the global wine market – competition is fierce

50 percent of a wine’s success is the personality factor of the brand, building an emotional tie with the customer

The wine industry has become more competitive than ever before. With an annual wine production of 36 billion bottles spread across 1+ million different wine labels winemakers struggle to differentiate themselves. Making a good wine is not enough any more. With 150 thousand professional winemakers worldwide, competition is fierce. More and more winemakers ask this: How can I be different?

Wine is about engagement. Most people share a bottle when drinking wine. Whether a business event or a private party between friends consumers typically enjoy a sip with others. In other words: wine is a social product. With that is mind it should not be a surprise that wine is among the top 8 categories being discussed online! So, what’s the deal here?

Digital Life & Social Media

Social media is widely accepted as a reliable & trustworthy source of information

Social media and wine are a match made in heaven – both are about engagement

Smartphones made it possible that digital content is now available anytime, anywhere. Today’s users of mobile devices spend an average of 145 daily minutes on their gadgets. They touch their smartphones on average no less than 2,617 times a day! This is all fueled by a new lifestyle built around one key phenomenon: Social Media.

Social Media is all about engagement: being part of the conversation around topics of interest has become a widespread need. The borderline between business and private use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and similar platforms disappeared. Social media users browse their favorite channels both out of personal and business interest. They look for engaging content that they find relevant, educating, entertaining or useful.

Direct Sales & Digital Marketing

Digital marketing uses a strong combination of tools that offer excellent reach and economical price

The future is in direct sales: better profit margins driven through personal engagement with customers

Ever since sharing customer experience has become a matter of a single click, Social Media turned into a vital source of purchasing information. Prospective customers buy products based on recommendations of their friends or business partners.

It is exactly this reason why digital marketing is an excellent choice for wineries of all sizes to drive sales. Wineries are in a unique position to engage in the social conversation around wine. They can get to their target customers using digital marketing tools which are cheap taking into account the scale of their reach.

Engaging customers online brings many benefits: rather than relying on channel sales and partners wineries can build relationship with their customers and have better profit margins. The future is in direct sales online.

Are wineries ready?

Comparing digital footprints of European and US wineries reveals fundamental differences. In particular, German wineries are significantly behind in their communications practices when compared to their counterparts overseas. Global growth of video and instant messaging content on social media surpasses any expectations. Despite these trends, European wineries are not yet geared to drive business via online channels.

Utilization of digital channels


United States99%


United States92%


United States64%

Youtube / Vimeo / MyVideo

United States37%

Typical engagement practices

Social Media

United States90%

Regular Mail

United States38%


United States61%

Purpose of social Footprint

German wineries

  • Public relations
  • Information broadcasting
  • Advertising

US wineries

  • Customer engagement
  • Promotion
  • Sales conversion

Statistics illustrate that many European / German wineries have not yet understood what social is all about. Their social media activities are still predominantly focused on one-way communication. They should instead encourage involvement of prospects, engagement of customers and conversion in e-commerce. A digital footprint that supports two-way communication is vital for driving direct sales with much better margins.

New customers

Meanwhile many wineries failed to make the leap to the new digital world, a new set of customers emerged: the millennials. Millennials are young people aged between 20-35 years. Their profile is best described as the ‘selfie-generation’. They are known to be high-tech freaks and digital natives. This generation seeks the same patterns in their interactions with wine purchases as in any other transaction. They are highly social and live an active life in the digital space using social media.

Unlike older generations that value country of origin and producer aspects, millennials opt for wine brands that showcase patterns important to them. They expect individual guidance but in much different form than their seniors: online and via social media. Having 80% using a smartphone at least 2 hours a day they interact on social platforms where word of mouth has a strong influence of purchase decisions.

Some wine brands recognized the potential in turning more and more millennials into wine enthusiasts. Wineries like Gallo with their Barefoot, DarkHorse and Apothic wines, McWilliam Wine Group with their Evans and Tate brands go straight after this new generation. Yet, most wineries failed to recognize key social and buying patterns of millennials – a prerequisite for alignment of their sales and marketing strategy.

6 facts about Millennials

  • Represent 25% of EU population

    • US: 75 million
    • EU: 95 million
    • DE: 15 million
    In the European Union the single largest population of millennials is living in Germany.

  • Prefer to be online using their smartphones

    • 89% | Smartphones
    • 45% | Tablets
    • 75% | Laptops
    • 37% | Desktop
    The primary connecting device of millennials is their smartphone. Their average daily use is no less than 2 hours.

  • Collect shopping information through Social Media

    • 55% | Social Media
    • 39% | Amazon
    • 45% | Google
    • 35% | TV
    • 37% | Retail websites
    • 27% | Website ads
    Millennials browse various channels before making a purchase. For shopping information Social Media is their most preferred source.

  • Follow a brand for its Values & expected Savings

    • 54% | Values & Savings
    • 13% | Offers
    • 32% | News & Trends
    • 1% | Other
    Millennials appreciate a brand for the values it represents and the savings it offers. Being trendy people themselves, they look for the same in brands.

  • Make purchasing decisions based on price

    • 1 - Price
    • 4 - Store
    • 2 - Quality
    • 5 - Availability
    • 3 - Brand
    Buying patterns of millennials show that they are much more sensitive to price as a decision making factor than any other group of our society. 

  • Readily embrace loyalty programs

    • 76% | E-mail
    • 10% | SMS
    • 10% | Phone app
    •   4% | Other
    69% of millennials belong a loyalty program. Their primary source of loyalty program information is still E-mail.

What wineries need to do

Digital Wine Marketing Strategy - Focus on Your Core icon

Use a mobile first strategy to reach millennials and stay relevant

Integrate traditional communications strategy with new digital marketing

Adjust communications patterns, establish a strong social footprint to drive engagement and conversion

Build own webshop with marketing automation, attractive prices and loyalty programs

Get website mobile-ready

Instant access to wine information and engaging content, easy sharing of impressions are vital for targeting millennials. According to Google, 60% of users unlikely to return to a website they had trouble accessing on a mobile device and 40% of users visit a competitor’s site instead. Getting the customer experience optimized for smartphones and tablets of the winery website is fundamental.

Establish strong social footprint

Customers communicate ever more across social networks. They share information, offers, experiences, opinions – making it easy for them is key. Social is about engagement – all competitive wineries should establish a strong social footprint. It is less complex than it sounds: not all channels are equally important. On which channels a particular winery should be depends on the target audience and their social behavior.

Use digital marketing

Social media for wineries is about conversation between them and their prospects and customers. Rather than focusing on one-directional communications the next generation marketing efforts should consider how customers react. Thanks to advanced digital marketing analytics and promotion tools a large part of the engagement can be automated. Depending on how the targeted customers react to promotions, automated business logic can lead them through the optimal customer journey.

Implement e-commerce platform

Although digital marketing efforts may contribute well to sales through partners the ultimate goal of wineries should be selling direct. Not only it creates a awareness about the end-customer but it also helps reach higher margins and dedicated customer ownership. Professional e-commerce platforms running on open standards supporting simple integrations are available now at affordable prices.


Find out by using our 5-min self-assessment tool. It is completely free.

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