Luxury Wine Marketing: 5 Key Insights
09.09.2020  |  by Milton Cornwell

Recently, I watched a presentation by Peter Yeung and Dr. Liz Thach in anticipation of reading their new book, Luxury Wine Marketing: The Art and Science of Luxury Wine Branding. Their book is based on extensive research on luxury products and wines specifically, and includes interviews with luxury wine producers, experts, and consumers alike.

I thought it would be helpful to give our readers some of the highlights and to compare their work with our own thoughts on marketing to affluent wine consumers. (Here is the full webinar for those that are interested—many thanks to LuxeSF and Alf Nucifora for putting this together!) These are five insights worth noting:

Insight #1: To be defined as a luxury wine, it must have 6 specific qualities. 

Luxury wine brands are defined as wines that are (1) of high quality, (2) come from a special place, (3) have a sense of scarcity about them, (4) sold at an elevated price, and provide both (5) pleasure and a sense of (6) privilege. 

Insight #2: Luxury wine customers come from all demographics.

Perhaps one of the biggest insights comes not from what’s in the book, but from what isn’t: The typical discussion of generational buying patterns. There’s been a lot of talk about generations—millennials, baby boomers, Gen X—in wine marketing. (We’ve been guilty of that too.) But one thing that is clear is that luxury wine customers come in all ages and demographics. (And as Elizabeth Schneider of “Wine For Normal People” shared with us recently, you need to go beyond the demographics and learn about the people!)

Insight #3: Luxury wine customers are not all the same.

Yeung and Thach’s research identifies four categories of luxury wine buyers: The aspirational buyer, the luxury buyer, the wine collector, and the wine geek. Each persona has its own price points, brand loyalty, and trusted referral sources. For example, a wine collector will listen more to critics and other wine collectors, while an aspirational buyer might be more influenced by celebrities and lifestyle magazines. (Admittedly, our own take on affluent buyers really only touched on one or two of these.)

Insight #4: Luxury wine marketing is just marketing, but with a twist.

Traditional marketing follows something called the “marketing mix,” which tells us to pay attention to four key elements: Product, Pricing, Placement, and Promotion. Yeung and Thach add to that mix two more elements: Story and Packaging. We’ve covered the importance of authentic brand stories and things to consider when changing your packaging before. It’s no wonder these are being added to the marketing mix for the world’s most successful luxury wine brands!

Insight #5: The wine promotion toolkit is now larger than ever.

Just because luxury wines are seen as “classics” does not mean the tools for promoting them have to be old school. Digital advertising, social media engagement, search engine optimization, and influencer marketing are as much part of the toolkit as more traditional marketing methods for wine. Indeed, as events are more restricted in the days of COVID-19, online and digital strategies have an even larger role to play.

Where do you go from here?

Building a luxury brand is not something you do overnight, naturally, but many of the steps outlined in the book, and in our articles, can help move you in the right direction to tap into a more affluent customer base.

If you’re ready to grow your luxury brand and bring it straight to your customers, contact us to discuss DTC shipping and wine club shipping. We’ll help you put together a strategy that works.