I had this conversation with Jerry Anderson at Chaine d Or last year as we took a break during harvest.
I said “You know I feel like I’m getting pretty good at grape growing and that doesn’t scare me anymore, and my winemaking gets better every year and I’m feeling pretty good about that, but selling wine, that scares me.”
He replied “You’re worried about the right thing young man.”
So I have been worried. Worried for months. How am I going to sell this wine?
I started with a plan I thought was original. I wouldn’t make any more wine at first than I couldn’t drink or give to friends. I thought it was original until I read that John Alban had the same plan when he started Alban Vineyards in the 1980’s. Still, we would keep production small, focus on quality and build up slowly.
I still worried I’d have more wine than I could sell.
So I’ve had a huge swing in the last few weeks. How am I going to get wine to all these people who want it? My original plan was to have 400 mailing list names by 2008, with 1/2 who would buy 6 bottles per year, or 120 cases sold directly.
We’re at 120+ sign ups already, and we’ve got people asking if they can have full cases or more. I think by the time we release we can easily be up to 200+ names, and I really want to keep cases aside for restaurants and local wine stores.
Now I’m worried about how to come up with an allocation policy so everyone who wants wine can get some. Some might say it’s a great problem to have, and it is, but I still worry. I want to have happy customers, people who like doing business with us, and I hate the idea of telling people; “Sorry you can only have 2 bottles”.