As usual, the report is a good read. It’s also filled with charts and some wonderful photos, so be sure to print it in color! Go ahead and dive in anywhere, as you will undoubtedly land on something interesting. Here is a guide to what each section of the report entails.
- Introduction – Read these 2 pages for an overview of the main themes in the report.
- Executive Summary (3 pages) – This lists the 7 headwinds and 7 tailwinds.
- 2019 Predictions in Review (2 pages) – I love that Rob is willing to admit what they got wrong.
- 2020 US Wine Predictions and Observations (2 pages) – Key topics are Supply, Demand, and Price.
- Grape and Wine Supply (8 pages) – The is an oversupply, but you probably already noticed this.
- Wine Sales (20 pages) – Sales are flat everywhere. Rob has been discussing this issue for a while, therefore, this is not new, but still interesting.
- Demographics and Marketing (11 pages) – Rob feels that the wine industry has done a poor job of reacting to changing customer values in its key messaging.
- Land and M&A (2 pages) – If you were considering selling, now is not the time.
- Cumulative Negative Health Messaging (3 pages) – There is a strong neo-prohibition direction coming from government agencies. At the same time, the Millennials are very health-conscious, and they are picking up on this message.
Rob led two, one-hour discussions with a panel of experts to discuss the report. To be honest, I only listen for issues that I feel are useful for the family wineries. Much of the discussion is primarily focused on that other wine industry (the large, distribution focused wineries).
In the first session, my big takeaway was the neo-prohibition messaging that has quietly taken hold. The book “The French Paradox” and the report on “60 Minutes” all happened 30 years ago. (Remember when we all watched “60 Minutes?). It caused a surge in wine drinkers, particularly among the Boomers. Now those Boomers are “aging out” and the new generational cohorts are hearing a different message about wine. At the same time, several other alcoholic beverages have managed to find and spin a health benefit associated with their product (for example Vodka is gluten free!). Rob feels that the wine industry can do more to “bring balance to the conversation”.
In the second session, I was delighted to hear a shift away from last year’s statement that “the tasting room model is dead”. Instead, they suggested ways to continue the conversation with the visitors you initially meet in your tasting room. Continuing the conversation can be through emails, social media, or even a good old fashioned telephone call. These are suggestions that family wineries can easily implement. Large wineries simply cannot do this and will never have the genuine relationship with their customers that family wineries can develop.
Personally, wine has always been about connecting with my friends and family. Good wine always seems to stimulate conversation in a way that beer and cocktails simply don’t. With that being said, I encourage you to find new and different ways to connect with your visitors. I guarantee that both of you will enjoy the conversation!