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TPG Contributor Roger Morris knows wine. Here, he outlines seven loyalty programs that are game-changers for wine enthusiasts everywhere.
American wineries don’t want you to just buy a bottle of their wine — they want you buy cases of it. And not just when you first visit their tasting rooms.
Enter the loyalty program. While most producers keep their wine clubs simple, relying on a set number of periodic wine shipments, a steady flow of news from the winery and the promise of additional bonuses and discounts for repeat orders, some wineries have established innovative programs that go beyond the standard 15 percent discount. Here are seven programs around the country that are taking a more innovative approach.
1. Inman Family Wines: Charge your electric car for free
Founder and winemaker Kathleen Inman is passionate about the environment, using such organic methods as multiple composting and natural pest controls at her winery in Santa Rosa, California, rewarding wine club members who drive hybrids and other electric cars with complimentary charging while they’re doing business.
2. Chateau Montelena Winery: Buy now, save 45 percent later
Montelena made its reputation when its Chardonnay won the 1976 Judgment of Paris, but today it looks ahead with its Futures Club, where members can pre-purchase wines now and receive new vintages of the estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon 18 months later at almost half-off the posted release price.
3. Concannon Vineyard: Drink wine made from your own personal vine
Members of Concannon’s Legacy Club have their own vines in California’s Livermore Valley whose grapes are used to produce a special wine just for them. Not only that, each member also has a Cabernet Sauvignon vine dedicated to them with a plaque and their name, a practice innovated decades ago by Benmarl Vineyards in New York’s Hudson Valley.
4. Round Pond Estate: Dinner is served at your house
Every year, this Napa Valley winery takes its show, and its chef, on the road. The circuit works a little like a concert tour, and if the Round Pond on the Road event is coming to a city near you — New York, Boca Raton, and Atlanta have been recent venues — club members get preferential booking and special pricing for a tasting or dinner with friends at your house or another site of your choice.
5. Blackbird Vineyards: Lock in your price for life
This Napa Valley winery’s BlackMail Club guarantees that its members will always pay the price they paid the day they joined for favorite wines produced by star winemaker Aaron Pott.
6. Raymond Vineyards: A personal invite to one of Napa’s wildest parties
Raymond’s owner, French producer Jean-Charles Boisset, is serious about winemaking, but he is also serious about having a good time, and his parties are typically the talk of Napa Valley — his annual “Napa Gras” event, for example, may find him swinging from a trapeze with a bottle of bubbly in his hand and Rutherford Wine Club members are invited to join in this DIY circus among other exclusive events at the winery and around town.
7. Keswick Vineyards: Have a barrel of fun with your own cask of wine
Each member of this Virginia winery’s Barrel Owners’ Club is given an individual cask that holds between five and eight cases of wine, which they can visit on a regular basis to taste and discuss its maturation with the winemaker. Not only that, when the barrel is retired from its winemaking career in four to eight years, he or she can take it home.
Do you know about other cool winery loyalty programs? If so, let us know in the comments section.
Featured image courtesy of Inman Family Wines.
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