Fetzer Vineyards

Vintner Stages Brand Relaunch with Strategic Sampling

Last year Fetzer wine, the flagship brand of 48-year-old California-based Fetzer Vineyards, underwent a major makeover with a new label, improved grape quality and lower yields resulting in an overall elevated product. Now it’s up to Brian Dorn, regional vice president for Fetzer Vineyards, to spread the word in Texas and tastings are his method of choice. “For us tastings are vital, especially in Texas,” he says. “Out of everything we spend to manage the business, demos and incentives we run for our distributor team make up the bulk of what we do.”

In 2015 Fetzer decided to invest heavily in its Texas tastings to accompany the brand relaunch. But while Dorn was sure the tasting bonanza would greatly increase exposure, he also knew it couldn’t last forever due to budget constraints. In order to eventually scale back activity while still maintaining momentum and upward sales growth, he needed more data about each tasting to help him increase his return on tastings going forward.

More Data Equals Better Tastings

In 2015 the vintner increased the number of demos for Fetzer and other brands in its portfolio with First Crush Tastings by more than 117 percent compared to 2014 due to the agency’s track record of excellence and also to take advantage of its Palaterra Tastings Platform, a proprietary web-based tool that enables suppliers to:

  • Filter tastings by date, retailer, location or brand
  • Easily track sales during tastings by brand or retail chain
  • Analyze conversion rates of samples poured versus product sold
  • Quickly catch and correct distributor issues like product out of stocks
  • Read consumer comments

“What the Platform has allowed me to do is make better decisions about…where we’re choosing to spend our money.”

Brian Dorn

Fetzer Vineyards

Now when Dorn wants to analyze demo spend or sales, he uses the Platform to quickly slice and dice data. “If for example I wanted to compare sales between Retailer A and Retailer B, I couldn’t do that as easily if all I had was a bunch of spreadsheets that I’d saved for five or six months. The Platform makes it so much faster and more convenient.”

The Palaterra Tastings Platform has given Fetzer the data it needs to not only increase ROI, but course correct when necessary, such as when the company decided to discontinue tastings of some of its brands due to low conversion rates. “You could tell by looking at the reports over a few months that there wasn’t a strong enough response on the purchasing side,” says Dorn. “I was able to identify that and steer us more toward our core workhorse brands that do show more return on investment.”

Dorn feels good about the progress made in getting Fetzer noticed, creating excitement in stores and growing sales. The accomplishment is even sweeter knowing they’ve created a successful tasting strategy based on hard data, not guesses. “I think fact-based decisions are always better than gut decisions,” says Dorn. “What the Platform has allowed me to do is make better decisions about what we’re choosing to do in the stores and where we’re choosing to spend our money.”

Ready to optimize your tasting program with the Palaterra Tastings Platform? To get your free demo contact Daniel Hernandez at (512) 229-5770 or Daniel@firstcrushtastingsinc.com.