Small wineries and nurseries are a lot alike.

Small wineries and nurseries have a lot in common. How do you get them into your facility? You can buy plants at Home Depot or Wal Mart just like you can buy wine at BevMo or Costco. You don’t even have to go into the winery or nursery. There are lots of cheap wines that are drinkable just as there are lots of cheap plants that work. Most people will never try a fine wine or fine plants, the cheap stuff is good enough. How do we get them into the store and our world?

Wineries are huge fans of direct mail. I receive a number of snail mail as well as e-news letters from various wineries. One I receive is from Bonny Doon Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Randall Graham who is the owner is a well known figure in the wine industry. Besides being a bit of an eccentric he was one of the first wine makers to promote the twist top on wine bottles. He found that there was no difference and actually an improvement in the quality of the wine when twist tops are used instead of cork. He realized that people associated cork with quality wines, but he stuck to his guns. Of course now twist tops are common with wines from Australia, and are starting to be accepted by others. Let’s face it I would rather twist the top on and off a bottle that fussing with the cork. While people will still associate screw tops with cheap wine the members of DEWN (distinct esoteric wine network) know better.

For years this winery and wine maker have stuck to their philosophy while the rest of the industry ignored them. Over the years they have built up a loyal following. They have done this by producing quality wines, ignoring what the industry told them, and following their own muse. The one thing that pops out from a visit to their web page is a sense of fun and experimentation. You need this since it can take quite while for good ideas to be accepted. Be sure to watch the “Vive le screwcap” video under “The Dooniverse” section entitled “Learn our ways”.

I can see so many ways this type of marketing can work for the small garden center. Wineries and nurseries both need to educate the consumer without making it seem boring. I think Bonny Doon does it better than any other winery.