The vines are buried, the tractors are silent, the tasting room locked until Spring, and another vineyard season draws to a close. Every season brings constellation of new challenges and this season was no different. We enjoyed every second of it.
The last couple of days were spent assembling a pile of year-end orders. I felt like a Christmas elf surrounded by parcels, covered with bits of straw and wielding a packing tape gun. “I wish we had a shipping and receiving team,” I texted to Micheline. “Is this how big things start?”
After a day-and-a-half of making weigh-bills, taping boxes, packing straw, and double checking orders, I carted a truckload of parcels to the post office. The courier came and picked up the rest.
It’s the first time we’ve shipped wine at Christmas. This year we worked with a few wine clubs, started our own Broken Stone Winery wine club, and added e-commerce to our web site. We also had a company order gift boxes for a list of their clients. All these initiatives had a big impact.
I was surprised by how many people ordered wine through our web site. I’ve always said that wine is an experiential product. Especially for a startup winery, people need to try the wines to have the confidence to buy them — it’s not enough for us to simply tell them, “they’re delicious”. And the experience is part of the deal. Outside of the tasting room environment, away from our beautiful vineyards, and back in the city at their desks, I didn’t think people would just show up on our web site to buy wine.
But it turns out that some people visit our tasting room and then like our wines enough to visit our web site to order more. That’s great and really helps us keep our little business going through the long, slow Winter months!