How to Align Your Winemaking, Sales, and Marketing Teams

Aligning Your Winemaking Team

From the moment you pick the grapes to when your bottled wine hits the shelf, there are a lot of hands that work tirelessly to produce an exceptional product. However, it’s not always easy for sales and marketing and winemaking teams to align on what they’re creating.

For example, marketing might say something like, “Make a wine that is soft, robust, plush!” But what does that actually mean? Your winemaking team has no idea what the “#%$&!” they’re talking about. On the other side, winemaking might be able to explain how tannic or astringent the wine is or describe the oak profile, but what does this mean to marketers who have to figure out how to make the wine sound appealing to the consumer?

Despite this, everyone has the same goal in mind: producing a great wine that sells. In time, teams do usually work through the bumps in the road.

Now, what if there were a way to fast-track this process and completely remove roadblocks in communication that you might have? At Tastry, we’ve seen winemaking and wine marketing and sales teams do just that. Here’s how:

They Found a Common Language

One way to bridge the gap in communication is by adopting a common language everyone can use. Tastry helps translate wine chemistry markers into terms that align your team on a shared vision to create a wine your market will love.

In fact, one of our clients, Andrew Nelson, President of WarRoom Cellars recently shared with us how his team used Tastry’s Insights Dashboard to see eye-to-eye.

“Originally our views were divided as a team,” said Nelson.

“Part of our team felt that we could taste what we’re looking for, but having real data points from Tastry was really helpful because it has given us a communal language to speak.”

Tastry’s AI reads and translates how the tannins, oak components, and esters in your wine will be perceived by consumers in terms of mouthfeel, sweetness, boldness, and more. It uses numbers to measure and score each wine based on these chemistry markers thus helping your team compare wines vintage over vintage and against your competitors.

They Distinguished Objective Qualities from Subjective

Unlike chemistry, there is no way to control a human-issued sensory test. There are a large number of factors that can affect a human’s sensory perception, from environment to what they ate that day.

In fact, in a recent conversation with Alex Remy, founder of Atlas Wine Co., he shared his own personal views on tasting wines.

“When I was consulting, after 25 samples I always stopped tasting, even if there were 200. People were always surprised by that,” said Remy.

“I believe that it’s literally humanly impossible to stay focused, taste, evaluate, and compare 200 wines. Now, TastryAI does this in a matter of seconds, and it doesn’t make a mistake or get tipsy. With Tastry, you’re winning time and resources. I believe it’s a better way to do a lot of things.”

While trained panelists and even members of the winemaking team can be astute tasters, there are still limitations. To any individual human, taste is inherently subjective.

When it comes to getting your team to agree on what they need to do in order to achieve a particular outcome, evaluating the wine subjectively just adds complication because not everyone will perceive wine the same way. Moreover, any individual on a team cannot perceive tastes the same way your target market does.

However, this is easily mitigated by using an objective scoring system and numerical measurements for key chemistry markers, which you can do with the Tastry Insights Dashboard. Beyond measurements and scoring of your wine, Tastry also provides visibility into how millions of U.S. consumers will perceive the flavors in your wine and identify the subset of the market who will love it.

Your team should spend less time on the guesswork of winemaking and more time making great wines you’re confident will sell.

When everyone’s feeling confident in the work they’re doing, it creates an environment that’s more conducive to productivity and teamwork.

They Put the Consumer First

The consumer is almost always at the center of the most successful companies. Look at how brands like Kendall Jackson and more have responded to the pandemic-driven growing health trends among consumers by developing a set of low and no alcohol wines.

Consumer taste trends are always evolving, and short of conducting a series of (likely expensive) focus groups, winemaking and marketing teams are challenged to get the visibility they need to produce successful products. Not only that, it’s difficult to apply the data you get from a human tasting panel to a large-scale target consumer base.

With these circumstances, how can a winemaking team get the visibility they need into what the consumer wants in a more affordable and accessible way?

It’s simple with Tastry, of course. Working with Tastry gives teams access to a permanently empaneled focus group of 248M drinking-age palates we have collected through our recommender, Tastry Uncorked.

Tastry provides a quiz to consumers to help them find the wines they’re going to love. When consumers take our quiz and when they rate wines, TastryAI is taking their impressions of those wines and translating it to the chemistry fingerprints that their perceptions are related to. Our visibility on their palate, over time, gets more and more accurate.

We then use that data anonymously in aggregate to help winemakers understand what palates in the market actually want. What do consumers actually want to drink and what do they not? Which people and where do they shop?

In fact, we recently had a conversation with James Hall, co-founder and winemaker at Patz & Hall, about some of the challenges of bringing wines to market and how Tastry can empower the winemaking team as they endeavor to bring their wine into retail.

“As the distribution system becomes more consolidated, getting your wine to market is a bigger challenge,” said Hall.

“My father was a writer and he watched the publishing business do kind of what the wine business is doing now. Before a publisher would release a book they would do a focus group on it to see if it was a book that was worth releasing. This is similar to what Tastry lets you do.”

“You can go to a wine retailer and present the data on your wine and how it can target a specific group of people precisely as well as other groups. It reinforces the message of the brand and takes it from subjective to objective and empowers people to make decisions based on other things than critic scores.”

While these ideas might not be new, especially if you’ve been working in winemaking, wine marketing, or sales for several years, so many wineries are still challenged by the circumstances that can block productivity and team alignment. This is by no fault of their own, of course.

Until now, we’ve been limited in the tools we’ve had to remove the barriers to producing a product that the market will love, largely relying on educated guesses and expensive tasting panels. Ultimately, these old systems make it harder for winemaking, sales and marketing to understand one another. That’s why Tastry is here to unlock the key insights your winemaking, sales, and marketing teams need to skyrocket your performance.

What about you? What are some challenges your winemaking, wine marketing or sales team faces? We’d love to hear from you. Schedule time to talk with us right here.