COVID-19 and Your Winery: Get Wildly Creative to Reach your Wine Customers

You are an entrepreneur. You are a leader. Unlike the big brands, like Amazon, you can be wildly creative with your marketing and pivot easily. You can try many different tactics and see which works best. Here are a few marketing ideas to get you started.

With new outbreaks in cities across the country every single day, the Coronavirus does not seem to have a clear end in sight.

How can your winery still sell wine without a tasting room?

Remember your customers love your wine brand. They want to support you, but they may not know how.

Every winery has a different business model – but one thing I want to emphasize: think virtual. People are working from home and many have kids at home, too.

How can you create engagement online?

What marketing promotions can you come up with that your customers will love? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Create a curbside pickup program

Many states have already closed restaurants and tasting rooms, and according to the latest government update, there might be a nationwide shutdown in the near future. Now is the perfect time to implement new creative strategies. Yes, change is hard, but you can do this.

I’ve seen many wineries on Instagram start curbside pick up programs.  Have you added one to your program? Wineries are getting orders both online and by phone.

Make sure to update your network by sharing the pickup program to social media, sending an email blast, and even calling a few of your most loyal customers.

Create a virtual tasting

Another way for you to stay in touch with your customers is by offering a virtual tasting using Zoom, Facebook Live, or Instagram Live. This is a unique way to continue to engage with your biggest fans and generate income to help your business through this difficult economic time.

Plus, it can be used in conjunction with the curbside pickup program. Give them a specific reason – your really fun promotion – to come get wine, not just come get our wine.

You can organize one of these live tastings in a variety of ways. Start by picking a date and the wine you are going to sample during the tasting. Create a nicely staged area for the tasting, with quality lighting so viewers can clearly see the wine you are showcasing.

Write a script for the tasting but make sure to also leave some time at the end of the tasting for a Q&A, as your viewers will probably have some questions. Remember engagement is key = ask people where they live, how they are, and you can even ask them for marketing ideas.

At the end offer discount code or add-on (food, promo items, etc) if they order more wine today.

Lastly, promote the event on your social media, website, and through your email list. Make sure to also test your platform of choice before going live, so you know how everything works.

View this post on Instagram

Our top priority is the health and safety of our guests, colleagues and community. In following the Governor’s recommendation, we have temporarily closed the winery to the public for the next two weeks. We are actively monitoring the dynamic COVID-19 situation and will post updates as we learn more. Join us for a virtual tasting every Thursday for the next six weeks at 3pm or 5:30pm, PDT and our winemaker will discuss the wines included in our Injoy @ Home Tasting Kit. Please email or DM us if you would like a link to join in. We remain available to serve your wine club needs, online orders and any other questions via email and telephone. Our team is available at 866-612-2582 or [email protected] to cancel or modify reservations and to send wine to your homes. We wish you good health and look forward to sharing a glass of wine with you soon.

A post shared by St. Supery Estate (@stsupery) on

Reach out to your wine club

Consider reaching out to your best wine club members directly, via telephone or handwritten messages, checking in on them and seeing how they are doing. Show that it isn’t just your business that you care about, but that your community and your best guests are in your thoughts.

This is also a great way to keep tasting room employees busy at home, as handwritten messages and phone calls can go a long way in keeping your brand at the forefront of your customers thoughts.

If you don’t have a wine club, now is the time to build one.

You have many options on setting up a wine club. Many smaller wineries go with Vinoshipper. Others go with wine software like TrueCommerce or VineSpring. The third option is to create a custom shopping cart. All have pro’s and con’s, so if you need to talk this through please reach out here.

Special TP & Wine promotion

Create a special shipment or curbside promotion for your members and customers. People are home and would love something to unite them or make them laugh: In each box add a roll of toilet paper with each shipment, instructions for a virtual wine tasting, a game, a scavenger hunt, or something to do! 

You could even run a contest where you are asking customers to post photos of them, their pets, sunsets, or even a gnome with your wine. Turn the Elf on the Shelf idea into a grown up game.

Offer Gift Cards

Remember how I said your customers love you? Many restaurants are promoting gift cards right now and wineries can do the same thing. People want to do the right thing and support local businesses. Give them the opportunity to support you and they will.

Increase communication outside the tasting room

Last but not least, make sure to keep consistent communication with your customers. Your posts do not have to be all about the novel Coronavirus. Engage with your customers just like you would in the tasting room and ask on social media how they are doing, how their family is, and what they looking forward to doing when it’s over.

There is no better time to shoot video and photo content of your winery than during a period of social distancing. Some content ideas include photographing and videotaping your vineyards, winemaking process, virtual tasting room tours, and your brand story. According to Wordstream, 45% of people watch over an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. If you’ve been thinking about creating video content for your business, now is a perfect time to do so and gives you content to share on your website, social media, and with email.

You could even create a set of videos on how to make wine or if you offer food to your customers, you could share the video of how you create a favorite meal.

Trapped inside, customers are wanting to be uplifted with a message of hope and dreaming of sitting at your winery with a glass of wine. Give the customers something to dream about!

Be wildly creative!

Need more marketing ideas? Set up a free discovery call with our founder Becca Ritz.



Is your website ready for an upgrade?

Technology is changing so fast that websites get outdated in 2-5 years. When was your website last updated?

We know in the consideration phase, prospects are often comparing your website to your 5 closest competitors. How does your site stack up? Does your site load fast and show how you are different in seconds? Do you have a call to action to grow your email list? We know that in the decision phase, email is the number preferred tool for reaching potential customers.

How do you know if your site is ready for an upgrade?

Here are the top five questions to ask:

  • Is your website responsive? Does the website move easy between desktop, iPad, and mobile?
  • Does it have clear call to actions? Each website we create we focus on your customer’s journey and what information we can provide them to help. Make sure you are directing visitors to a lead magnet, fill out a form, or to buy.
  • Does your current site appeal to your ideal customer? Or are you trying to appeal to everyone? Be as specific as possible with your design, photos, and messaging.
  • Does it use current technology? Research shows humans often make assumptions. For instance, poor web design = cheap company.
  • Does it tell your brand story? Remember a website is often your first impression with customers, so you want it to immediately tell the story of your brand and how you are different.

And the Bauerhaus website? It turned 5 years old!

Our old website was mobile responsive, which means it still looked fine on smart phones and iPads. But technology changes fast and as we often tell our clients, keeping current with the latest web trends is essential in getting new business.

What did we upgrade?

Besides beautiful design, we also updated these features:

  • Transfer of 243 blog posts on branding and marketing
  • Newly custom designed WordPress theme
  • Latest best practices in coding a child theme
  • New Bauerhaus Design logo
  • Streamlined  navigation
  • Call to Action to sign up for the Free Sell More Wine email series.
  • Our portfolio better shows off the range of marketing, design and website development projects we currently do.
  • Case studies that show off  what it’s like to work with Bauerhaus. Check out the case study on Bingham Family Vineyards and KC Wineworks.
  • Better highlight owner Rebecca Ritz’s speaking experience.

Website, packaging, and collateral for food company



If you’re not sure about the state of your website, let’s talk about it! Your site is the face of your business, and it makes a big impression on your customers and potential customers.

Reach out here and set up a free Discovery call today.

Consideration: The make-or-break-it stage of a customer journey

Consideration Stage Customer Journey
Last month, we introduced the customer journey: the way your customers interact with your brand from start to finish.

The customer journey is everything your customer experiences from the moment they discover you to the day they become your biggest fan.

After the essential first stage, Awareness, potential customers enter Phase 2: Consideration.

(If you missed the previous post, click here to learn how to bring potential customers into the Awareness stage.)

Consideration is the experience your potential customers have as they think about whether they want to buy your product. Walking your potential customers through this stage is key to making sales and building lasting relationships with your customers.

Consideration Stage Customer Journey

Your primary tool for being successful in this stage is your website.

The goal is to have a website that converts visitors into paying customers.

Consider your customer’s perspective. As they visit your site, they’re consciously or subconsciously comparing it to your competitors’ sites. They’re considering the pros and cons of each winery, interpreting what you have to offer as it relates to their life and their preferences.

Here’s how to create a website that converts:

1. Look at the 5 closest wineries to your location and compare.

If you were a consumer trying to decide which winery to visit, what would draw you in? Chances are, you’d be considering factors like these:

  • Location
  • Experience: What’s it like to visit your winery?
  • Wine varietals
  • Price

Consider what your potential customers are looking for, and make sure that comes across on your website.

2. Have a clear brand differentiation on your homepage.

Does the uniqueness of your brand – your winery and your wine – come across right away? Is it obvious what makes you special?

3. Capture emails.

Every website we create has a single focus = conversions. Think about this: what good does it do to drive Google or Facebook ads to your website if you don’t have a way to capture a potential’s information?

We know consumers are overwhelmed with how many images they see online and offline each day. On average it takes 7 or more touchpoints for a consumer to buy. By getting someone’s email address you are able to continue the conversation with your potential consumer.

How can you capture emails?

Present a special offer as a way to entice visitors to join your email list. When visitors subscribe to your list, you open up the opportunity for a lasting relationship. The offer can be a coupon for a free tasting, a discount on food or product in your gift shop, or a downloadable wine pairing freebie.

Once you have a clear, engaging message on your website, apply it to your social media pages. All your digital marketing elements should feel consistent, because they all work together to convey your message about your brand.

As potential customers enter the Consideration stage, they’re looking for clues about whether or not your brand will solve their problem, delight them, make them feel a certain way or accomplish a goal.

When you know what your potential customers are looking for, and you’re clear about what you have to offer and why it’s unique, your value becomes clear to your customers.

When you make it easy for potential customers to enjoy the Consideration stage, you set a foundation for lasting customer relationships.

Next up: How not to lose your potential customer at the last minute in the Decision stage.

Which social media platform do luxury consumers prefer?

Marketing for Luxury brands

Marketing for Luxury brands

Digimind, the global leader in social listening and market intelligence, released a report at the end of 2018, stating “Branded content on Instagram consistently earned the most engagement across social media. 40% of luxury purchases are influenced by what consumers see online, and their interactions with a brand.”

93% of consumer engagement with luxury brands happens on Instagram.

Why Instagram?

Today’s luxury consumers are getting younger and younger and guess which platform Millennials prefer? Instagram.

In the “Future of Luxury: A Look into Tomorrow to Understand Today,” they stated “Generations Y and Z accounted for 47% of luxury consumers and 33% of luxury purchases in 2018. However, they contributed virtually all of the market’s growth, compared with 85% in 2017.”

How can your luxury brand compete?

  • Focus on younger consumers
  • Design a customer journey to better discover opportunities on how they want to be engaged with.
  • Be a leader in digital media
  • Tell your unique brand story

Everything’s Coming Up Rosé

In 2018 Bauerhaus worked with the Illinois and Grape Growers Vintners Alliance (IGGVA) Board on several projects.

Bauerhaus created a comprehensive marketing plan for the IGGVA, plus provided a promotional plan for a new program, called the Illinois Rosé project.

Through a state-wide qualification process, wineries can submit their Rosé to become an official Illinois Rosé. They hired Bauerhaus for naming, logo design, brand standards guide, and bottle necker design.

The final name “Everything’s coming up Rosé in Illinois” was chosen by the board. We then created and presented 3 logo designs. The final logo is modern, fun, and chosen for its appeal to the Millennial Rosé wine drinkers.

How a Custom Google Map led to an increase in traffic!

How can you help increase visits to wineries in your state?

Create a custom Google map that is mobile friendly and can be used from any mobile phone or desktop.

We worked with Illinois Wine (Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Alliance) to build a custom Google map to make it easier for people to find Illinois Wineries.

Check out the live Illinois Winery Locator map here.

A few notable statics:

  • The interactive Find-A-Winery map saw the most website traffic (31%) of any page
  • Plus, when they featured the map in online advertising they saw a 5,855.17% increase in website traffic! Wow!

Custom features included:

  • Mobile friendly
  • Auto-location
  • Location by zip code or city
  • State outlined in purple
  • Designed VIP locator pins for member wineries
  • Ability to show member wineries first over non-member wineries
  • Various radius options: 10 – 400 miles
  • Sidebar call out for member wineries

Once you enter your location the map zooms in to the area in the mile radius you specify:


Next, if you click on a map marker or a winery in the sidebar, a box shows up with winery information and a “get directions” link.


KC Wineworks Can Packaging Design

In 2018, KC Wineworks approached Bauerhaus about designing a canned wine to appeal to their Female Millennial and Generation X target market.

The marketing director, Lindsay, and I started the conversation by talking about the importance of the can color. It needed to photograph well on Instagram, no matter the background.

We also wanted the name to be a hashtag that was new, so consumers could easily tag photos on Instagram and KC Wineworks could re-post the photos on their social media accounts. Hashtags are free advertising for any brand and incorporating the hashtag on the can increased their social reach.

Results? They launched with 3,000 cans on August 3rd and by September 20 they had sold 2,700 cans. Plus, fans tagged their photos with #showmesangria on Instagram.

James, the winemaker, also says that this is their “gateway wine.” Meaning people say they don’t like wine, drink this, and then want to try the rest of their other wines.

Want to see their wine in bottles?

To see their full product line, plus read about the Midwest owners, check out the case study KC Wineworks: Collaborating to create a family wine brand. 

Fukutaro: Launching a food brand in the U.S.

Food brand website design and development

Fukutaro entered the U.S. market in 2019 at the Saratoga Wine and Food Festival. To launch the brand, Bauerhaus created a website, Facebook page and provided content marketing. Plus, we currently provide monthly social media posting.

Established in 1909, Yamaguchi Aburaya Fukutaro began as a cooking oil merchant and grew into a general food manufacturer and wholesaler that specializes in spicy cod roe and other mentaiko-related foods.

Located in Fukuoka, a Japanese prefecture known for its culinary delights, they proudly produce over 1,000 food items including oil, sesame oil, rice, frozen food, and condiments. Their extensive range of delicious products is perfect for both home and professional use.

Fukutaro is planning on launching in New York City in the Fall of 2019.

Smoked Iguana BBQ packaging design

food label design for barbeque sauce

Smoked Iguana is a small batch Barbeque sauce company located in Trenton, Missouri. We worked with this food brand on logo, illustration, and packaging design.

They have two sauces out right now, Original BBQ Sauce, and Mango Habanero.

To achieve the metallic shine, we worked together with their printer, Curtis 1000. The labels were printed on Metallized Film using 4 color process (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, & Black),  plus white ink.

Follow their brand on the Smoked Iguana Facebook page. They also sell it at Hy Vee stores in Liberty, Trenton, Chillicothe, Unionville, and Chariton, IA.  You can also order online from Hawgeyes Bbq.

Awareness is Step 1: Increase wine sales with a clear customer journey

Every winery wants to increase sales. At the end of the day, increased wine sales comes down to your customer journey.

A customer journey is the way your customers interact with your brand from start to finish: It’s everything your customer experiences from the moment they discover you to the day they become your biggest fan, and beyond.

We can understand this journey in four stages: Awareness, Consideration, Decision and Loyalty.

First, a potential customer becomes aware of your brand. They see you on Instagram, notice an ad in the local paper, tagged along on a wine tasting excursion and stumbled upon your tasting room, searched for something on Google and found a blog post you published the month before.

Getting a customer to the Awareness stage is hard work! Marketing and traditional advertising take time, effort and money. And yet, the Awareness stage is only the beginning of the relationship.

In this blog post, we’re diving into this essential first stage of the customer journey, so you can create a wine marketing blueprint around your customer journey – one that turns leads into raving fans.

The Customer Journey Map (above) helps you visualize all the interactions a customer has with your product. This way, you can identify the strongest opportunities for you to engage that customer and move them along the customer journey, towards becoming loyal customers.

To bring potential customers into the Awareness stage means raising brand awareness and making it easy for your ideal customers to find you.

Here are a few ways to do just that:

Location first

How do people find out about brands? They start with location. They ask friends, either in person or on social media. 81% of shoppers research online before setting foot in a store. If someone is looking for a winery, they’ll likely start with something like this:

Customer journey winery

And then what happens? They’ll probably end up here:

Customer journey winery

Will your winery show up on a Google search?

What about reviews – Are there any? Are they good or bad?

Make sure all your online listings are up to date so that when someone looks for you, they’ll find you. Add photos and videos to invite potential customers to take a look at your brand and become aware of what you offer.

Invest in online ads around your specialty (tours, etc.). Create unique wine experiences that you can feature online such as hiking, chocolate pairings or dinner.

Attract a local audience by making it easy for potential customers to enter the Awareness stage.

Add value

Of course, it’s not all about location. Maybe you’re trying to expand your audience with a wine club, or make loyal customers out of tourists who return just once a year.

Value creates awareness by attracting customers and engaging them in a way that resonates.

The #1 secret to creating awareness through social media: Add value.

As a rule, the content you post on social media should be 80% value, 20% promotion. This increases engagement, which increases your brand’s reach. That’s because valuable content is what social media users prefer.

Inform, inspire, entertain, engage: These are all ways you can offer value to your audience on social media and throughout your marketing.

Getting potential customers into the awareness stage brings them into your customer journey. Success here comes from consistent digital marketing and unforgettable branding.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the second stage of the customer journey: Consideration.


Looking for help maintaining consistent branding and marketing?

We offer a monthly digital marketing service just for that. Contact me, Rebecca, for more details.