What’s the Secret to Post-Pandemic Wine Sales? Pulling Back the Veil

This article first appeared in Wine Business International

Your customers might love your wine, but they likely don’t understand the unique wine industry challenges you’ve faced throughout the pandemic. Being transparent about these issues can help you build stronger connections with consumers — which can help you boost sales.

Winemakers around the world struggled through the pandemic as COVID spread from country to country. Consumers likely didn’t see the full impact on the wine industry as tasting rooms, restaurants, and bar sales plummeted to zero within days. And in the U.S., sweeping wildfires in major wine-growing regions made matters even worse for winemakers.

Building education about these and other challenges into your wine marketing strategy can pay off. Customers will be interested to know the hurdles you’ve faced and how you’ve worked to overcome them to continue delivering the products they know and love.

Brand transparency can help set public expectations and enable you to recoup losses faster. At the same time, you might even win over sympathetic new supporters who will be eager to purchase your wines and related products.

Building Trust Through Marketing: An Agribusiness Example

What does transparent marketing look like in action? Consider the case of Farmgirl Flowers. It’s an agribusiness company outside the wine industry, but it serves as a great example for vintners interested in building consumer trust online through transparent marketing methods.

Farmgirl Flowers delivers flower boxes to customers’ doorsteps, but COVID lockdowns presented some new challenges in the process. The company shared many of those challenges through frequent updates on its Instagram page.

At one point, the team shared a riveting photo of a massive field of flowers that had to be dumped because stay-at-home orders prevented the team from packaging and shipping them in time. The Instagram post was flooded with messages from followers who sympathized with the company’s frustrations. The team even updated the caption later on to provide answers to followers’ questions about why the flowers had to be thrown out.

Consumers felt connected with and empathetic to the organization’s plights, and the brand’s transparency and sincerity about everything from shipping snags to Paycheck Protection Program application struggles resonated with viewers.

The Art of Being Real Without Bringing Consumers Down

It’s important to remember, however, that brand transparency in your wine marketing strategy needs to involve more than just presenting your challenges to the world. The key to forging genuine connections with consumers is to share your successes, too — right down to your smallest wins.

The wins are important to share because they show that though you may be experiencing hardships, you are working to overcome them. Customers will see how much you value them and appreciate the lengths you go to in order to keep providing quality products.

Successes you share might include talking about the innovative safety measures you’ve put in place, highlighting the people who’ve helped you keep going, or advertising ways your team has been helping support vulnerable communities.

Several California wineries did just that when they raised money and donated products to benefit restaurant workers, tourism charities, frontline workers, and select nonprofits. Their efforts garnered press and became exactly the type of thing consumers needed to hear in trying times.

More than anything, your sincerity and authenticity can have an enormous impact, even if you’re a small-scale operation. The more you show your corporate spirit to the public, the more people will realize that you’re more than just a business — you’re a team of people who are so passionate about what you do that you’re eager to share your experiences, good and bad, with the world. And your resilience will help you move into a period of recovery and strong profit margins, as long as you bring customers along for the ride.

Toni Scott is responsible for Morrison’s overall management and operations. She leads and directs Morrison’s grant services — working with clients in government, food, agribusiness, manufacturing, production agriculture, processing, and marketing to plan, prepare for, and secure competitive state and federal grant funding. She also oversees grant administration of client projects and contributes to business plan and feasibility study projects and conducts strategic planning and facilitation. Toni directs Morrison’s external communications and industry outreach as well.

To get in touch with Toni, please find contact information for Morrison here.


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