What We Made Then
Here’s why that seemed like it should work. In most U.S. wine markets, there are at least two dominant wholesale distributors. Those two dominant distributors (Southern or NDC or Charmer/Sunbelt or another major regional player) usually carried one of the two nationally distributed lines of Washington wines: Ste.Michelle Wine Estates or the portfolio from Constellation Brands. With Clayhouse Wines, we are usually with a third distributor (not one of the dominant two). That third distributor lacked any major brand or wine portfolio from Washington, and we had the connections to create the wine to fill that open niche in our distributors’ book of wines.
We went out and bought wine, sourced grapes, set up winemaking, designed labels, created sales materials, and launched Buried Cane (which is named for a cold weather viticultural technique common in Washington State). And then … nothing.
The opportunity we had identified was either gone or had never really existed. By the time we hit the market, the economic recession had begun. No wine company wanted new brands to inventory and sell. There was no support from our wholesale distributors. But we had plenty of wine. Indeed, we had already INCREASED our commitment to the brand by switching to custom capsules, bottling multiple vintages, and creating promotional plans and materials.
All for a wine brand with these key selling points:
1. It’s from Washington!
2. The wines are pretty good!
3. We’re priced higher than the successful national brands from Washington!
What next: Check back tomorrow.Share on Facebook