Wine Australia’s first cellar door and direct-to-consumer survey has revealed wineries are missing opportunities to maximise sales.
The survey examined 180 wine companies as part of the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the $50m Package).
It showed that cellar doors are the driving force behind direct-to-consumer sales in Australia, accounting for 44% of direct-to-consumer (DTC) revenue, ahead of wine clubs and mail orders.
Overall, direct-to-consumer sales accounted for 10% of all domestic wine sales for the survey’s respondents.
Wineries that produce less than 1000 cases relied on direct avenues for 68% of sales and wineries in the 1000–5000 case bracket achieved 40% of sales through DTC channels. In contrast, wine brands with production above 50,000 cases recorded just 4% of sales through DTC channels.
Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said approximately two–thirds of Australian wineries produced fewer than 5000 cases, which highlighted the importance of DTC channels to the majority of wine businesses.
“This is really the first time we’ve benchmarked operations in this space and in future surveys we’ll be able to measure changes and provide wineries with insights to help them develop their DTC strategies,” he noted.
“The survey shows that nearly 90% of respondents have a cellar door, with this channel accounting for close to half of all DTC sales on average, and significant investments are being made at cellar doors across Australia; with two-thirds found to be open 7 days a week.
“Although 86% of respondents offered food, such as a restaurant or platters, only 28% of cellar doors offered matched food and wine tasting experiences.
“There’s a huge opportunity here for wineries, as food and wine tourism is a growing market, particularly if you’re looking at tourists from the China and US markets. It’s also a key focus of our $50m Package activities.
“High-value travellers rank good food and wine in the top five most important factors when choosing a holiday destination, according to Tourism Australia research.
“That’s why we’ve partnered with Tourism Australia on international marketing campaigns and we’re delivering “Growing Wine Tourism” webinars in each state from 29 October 2018 with ATEC, Wine Tourism Australia and Fastrak Asian Solutions.”
Other findings from the cellar door and DTC survey include:
• 29% of respondents charged for wine tastings, with larger wineries less likely to charge a tasting fee (US research shows paid tastings translate to more sales)
• Annual visit rates were found to correlate strongly with winery production, with 1000 visitors on average per year for every 1000 cases of production.
• 60% of respondents operated a wine club and/or loyalty club and average growth in wine club memberships in 2017–18 was 14%.
Pictured main: Seppeltsfield was crowned 2018’s Star Cellar Door in the Barossa Valley by Gourmet Traveller Wine.