Putting Staff to Work on Creating Long-Term Value for Your Brand

We have heard from many wineries and clients looking for ways to deploy their staff during these uncertain times. Some of the activities are not immediately revenue-generating but will create value for your organization through richer customer engagement, content creation, and improved processes.

Things to keep in mind as you navigate COVID-19

Be Genuine and Human

Being human today means more than ever. It’s important to understand that people’s state of mind may now include high levels of fear, anxiety, and possibly depression. Be empathetic, patient, and willing to offer a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. 

Be Mindful and Strategic

Everyone is in the same boat, be mindful of the emails you send and programs offered. When brands are all offering the same thing the offer loses its efficacy. Rethink your hold policies, re-direct shipping costs and mass emails. 

Play the Long Game

Build long term processes over short term fixes (e.g. not just writing cards to customers but how do you build/use this to learn and, if successful, part of a continual process for customer success). The foundation you build today will pay dividends in the Fall for the peak wine selling season.


Don’t be afraid to experiment and fail. Use a learning cycle and find the way. Currently, no one has a perfect answer and yesterday’s answers are obsolete.

Tactical Deployments

Customer Engagement
  • Check-in, Write cards to customers, thank you, how are you?  (great example)
  • Webinar tastings for small, intimate customers groups (Zoom et al) 
  • Engage with people on social media and share what your experience (Reka set a wonderful example)
  • Get interactive with live video, polling, questions etc. 
  • Create Facebook groups for customers in specific markets (e.g. San Diego Wine Lovers)
  • Host online classes with the unique interests of your staff on the grounds. (Do you have someone on-staff that could lead a yoga, meditation or wine class via social every Tuesday from the winery? Or a drawing/painting class? Or a knit/crochet class? How about a book club? Virtual food pairing class? ) Could you partner with other businesses in the area for publicity?
  • Create and play wine bingo as a community with image posting or just for an individual. Make the center free square a discount or offer for anyone who plays and gets bingo
  • Send adult or child coloring books/crayons to top members/purchasers
Wholesale Engagement
  • Write cards/emails to restaurants/retail customers
  • Reach out to somms to check in with them, get their info to keep in touch, etc.
Content Creation
  • Create social media content (images, stories, etc), and organize repositories of evergreen social media posts. 
  • Stock up on blog posts/articles for a “rainy day”. Most wineries say they lack time to write content for their blogs and newsletters. Now’s a great time to draft future posts and develop your post-COVID editorial calendar.
  • Build content on the oral history of your winery and even pre-winery life of the owners and winemakers (UCLA has a good guide
  • Virtual tour of the vineyard on social media (mini-vacation/escape). Consider a series of Instagram stories that you might roll out as serialized content.
  • Create simple pantry recipes and pairings.
  • How to’s or Pinterest board for cork crafts, wine bottle projects etc.
  • Set up a live stream in the vineyard or barrel room that guests can drop in on
  • Create/share zoom virtual backgrounds of iconic locations on your property
House Keeping
  • Clean dirty data (incomplete addresses, miss-typed emails, consistently format phone numbers, consolidate @noemail customers, remove “&”, make sure data is in the correct fields in your system)
  • Match social media account to customers
  • Review customer journeys. Build processes for customers around life stages and milestones (rising, stable, falling or account tenure, numbers of orders placed)
  • Audit your social media accounts and articles.
  • Update website and automated or system-generated emails.
  • Create/refine audience segments for more precise targeting and email journeys.
  • Collaborative meetings on increasing customer engagement (Great example
  • Team training, system and process training or cross-training, email marketing, social media marketing, telemarketing, video creation, data analysis, wine skills (Napa Wine Academy), VingDirect classes (https://vingdirect.com/online-class-options/)
  • Upskill the creative side: Whether it’s improving your photography, learning to use a drone, or embracing a bit of creative writing, now is a great time for the team to try their hand at new fun skills that will make life a little easier when things return to normal.
  • Create welcome tracks for new customers
  • Document, document, document. From processes to manuals to styleguides, get it out of your head and into documents that help you scale and adapt.
  • Collaborative meetings on how to better engage with customers (https://medium.com/pinterest-engineering/how-pinterest-supercharged-its-growth-team-with-experiment-idea-review-fd6571a02fb8)
Community Contribution
  • Where legal, consider donating wine to first responders and healthcare workers or offering an extra discount
  • Partner with local restaurants creating meal kits for home cooking to do a wine pairing combo
  • Engage members/top purchasers in an effort to help: sponsor meals, donate funds to aid
  • Promotional help: purchase of X brand/bottle, with X% proceeds going to aid

Additional Resources

Start with the Molecular Customer Journey – Emetry

Identifying and Activating Intervention Strategies within DTC – Emetry

Propel Growth with Experimental Design – Emetry

Are you Measuring What Matters – Emetry

Retention is the New Acquisition – Emetry

Dealing with Dirty Data – Emetry

The Coronavirus Email I’d Like to Get – SpitBucket

When Did We Spot Treating People Like People – SpitBucket

One Night Stands and Surprises – SpitBucket

The Most Important Thing Missing in Wine Marketing Talk – Reframe Wine

Now is the Perfect Time to Analyze Your Wine Marketing Strategy – Reframe Wine

Experience Economy for Small Wineries – Reframe Wine


Special Thanks The Contributors 

Alexandra O’Gorman, Amber LeBeau, Andre Ribeirinho, Andrew Floor, Andrew Kamphuis, Berry Enderwick, Chris O’Gorman, Chris Oggenfuss, Damien Wilson, Dan Sims, David Round, Felicity Carter, Jason Rzutkiewicz, Joe Frattorini, Jordan Kivelstadt, Justin Noland, Karen Roche, Laurie Millotte, Lindsay Kana, Polly Hammond, Rebecca Hopkins, Réka Háros, Richard Siddle, Robert Joseph, Tammy Boatright, and the Emetry Team.