A guest comes into your tasting room, goes through a tasting experience with a host who makes a connection with them, and is invited to join the wine club. They say YES! Your new club member takes their first shipment and receives their discounts on that day. Great! Now what?!

It’s important to have a plan in place to continue your relationship with your wine club members after they leave the tasting room. Don’t leave it up to them to reach out to you. Don’t be the winery who only sends a club shipment in a plain cardboard box every few months. Why not?! Because your wine club members are your “bread and butter”…they are your loyal brand advocates, and they help to build your database. Show them the love…remind them why they joined your wine club, and why they should stay. Here are a few tips for how to retain your wine club members and decrease your attrition rate.

Develop an Onboarding Program (this happens in the tasting room on the day of sign up):

  • Specifically for new wine club members
  • Communicate process to staff
  • Explain benefits to members – day of joining
  • Next Steps
  • What to Expect
  • Collect Data – name, email, address, phone number, important dates (bday/anniversary)
    • This is crucial for reach out later
  • Introduce Wine Club Manager if possible
    • For smaller family wineries who don’t have a manager in place, make sure the staff knows the process

After the Tasting Room: How are you engaging with your club members? Communication is key, and surveys show that members do value it. Remember that not everyone communicates in the same way, or uses the same channel. Learn more about your wine club members and how they prefer to communicate by asking them…either on the day they join, or by sending a survey.

Here are some ways to communicate:

  • Mail
    • Send a hand written THANK YOU to all new wine club members within a week of joining
      • The host who had the relationship should be responsible
      • Make it mandatory
      • Remind them of their wonderful experience at your winery by mentioning something that happened (or that you learned about them) during the tasting
    • Send birthday cards…I’m surprised by how many wineries don’t do this
    • Nice mailer about upcoming club member events
    • Invite them back for a special experience
  • Email
    • Offers, invitations to events, surveys (one annually), new happenings at your winery, happy birthday/anniversary/milestone
    • Segment – data shows that if a wine club member is going to cancel, it happens around the 18-month mark. Set alerts, keep a spreadsheet, do whatever it takes to track these members who are approaching 18 months and reach out to them…surprise & delight, send surveys and offers…do whatever it takes to remind them of why they joined your wine club!
  • Phone Calls
    • Great for increasing incremental revenue
      • Usually falls in the wine club manager’s court and they are incentivized on the sales.
    • Thank them for being a member
    • Offer them wine based on what they like and have purchased
  • Social Media (yes you need to be utilizing)
    • We are in the age of digital…consumers are sharing their experiences
    • Retweet, repost, tag – if a member (or anyone) mentions you on any SM platform, please acknowledge and respond
    • Create a FB page just for wine club members
      • It’s FREE…and there are 214 million users in the US so I’m sure the majority of your club members are using FB!
      • Post photos of members at the winery/events
      • Tell them about upcoming events
      • Showcase a “Member of the Month”
    • Instagram…just do me a favor and search #unboxing
      • Make sure your wine, and anything you ship arrives to your purchasers and members in a presentable way. Try to surprise and delight!
      • Use #wineclubmember for photos of your members at events

Whatever channel you use to communicate, please make sure your content fits with your brand. Remember that your wine club members joined because they felt a connection with you, and if you are not reflecting that brand, or are trying to be someone you’re not, they will be confused. Stay true…if it doesn’t make sense for your winery, don’t do it!

You should have a plan in place for communication with your wine club members, and you should be measuring your attrition rate (percentage of members who leave). Every winery has attrition…the industry average is between 28%-30% annually, and it’s something you should measure monthly and look at YOY. Here is the formula:

TOTAL MEMBER CANCELS  /   TOTAL MEMBERS at BEGINNING of the MONTH

Once a club member leaves, that’s not the end! Send a survey to try and learn more about why they left. Invite them back!!! One of our member wineries sent a voucher to past club members inviting them back to be a “Member for a Day”… 22% redeemed the voucher and 14% REJOINED! Try it, and make sure the offer and the way it’s presented fits with your brand. You will also need to train staff on what to do when those past members come back for a visit.



If you would like help planning out ways to increase wine club retention for your winery, please call or email us: 512.412.6319 | lindsay@vingdirect.com