Help me find a distributor! A common theme for emails to this site. Unfortunately, wineries seeking distribution today face more hurdles than in any previous time in recent memory. Distribution companies are bombarded almost daily by wineries hoping to secure a distribution channel, meaning few succeed in their quest. It is a numbers game, distributors sell wine to make money, they don’t represent wineries to build brands.
It is important for wineries seeking distribution to put themselves in the place of a distributor in order to see their wine’s offer through their targets eyes. Any new winery added to a portfolio must bring something to the table for that no other winery currently does, such as regionality, price point, awards, quirky marketing etc. Alternatively the winery needs to have an inherent demand in the marketplace, providing current and ongoing case sales (and least one pallet a month) to justify it’s inclusion in the portfolio.
Does your winery bringing any of the above to the table? If not then securing a decent distributor will provide a challenge. A good starting place would be to complete the ‘Pre-Distribution Checklist,’ available on this site, which lists the key aspects a distributor will be interested in, allowing you to refine your approach. Obviously the ‘Seeking distribution guide’ provides far more detail and will certainly take your offer to the next level.
A great deal of emails received to this site come from wineries unable to secure distribution, and I am unable to provide detailed answers to every unique case. My simple advice is to get out on the road and start making regular sales calls in order to build up business, targeting independent retailers, fine dining restaurants and larger cafes. Bringing a list of current and loyal customers to a distributor demonstrates that there would be immediate profits to be made from selling your wines.
There is no easy way to secure distribution, however ensuring that you and your product tick as many boxes as possible will give you the best chance for success.