Virtual Vines was formed in 2015 by it's Founder, Laura Larson in an effort to fulfill a passion to help wineries optimize strategies and integrate sales and marketing best practices into their DTC and B2B business framework. During her 25 year career within the Information Technology Sector Laura had the opportunity to develop, market and deliver innovative solutions and build long term client relationships from the ground up. As a Global Sales leader she hired, managed and trained some of the company’s top sales performers and always drove the importance of collaboration as essential to meet goals. Her drive for excellence and passion to solve problems were attributable to ongoing success and recognition throughout her career.
Over the years Laura moved to the Napa Valley and became more intimately engaged in the local wine Industry. She noticed a widening gap as many wineries pivoted to direct to consumer sales and how some struggled with how to approach the market and gain optimal positioning within their hospitality programs. She quickly realized some of the expertise which were pivotal to her success throughout her sales and marketing career could help wineries build more comprehensive programs to qualify customer targets and leverage segmented marketing techniques to approach, capture and retain more customers, and ultimately sell more wine.
With the inception of Virtual Vines, Laura made the leap and refocused her sights on how she could bring the most value to this space. Leveraging relationship based sales and segmented marketing methodologies, she developed a project based business development services portfolio which helps wineries integrate best practices from corporate business models to optimize their Direct to Consumer and B2B programs. With her background working for cloud computing software companies, she also created a web based learning program so wineries inside and outside of Napa could gain access to training expertise remotely– from anywhere on any device.
Laura’s passion for wine fueled her interest in exploring many of most prestigious wine regions around the world. She has a sommelier accreditation from the Court of Master Sommeliers and is embarking on her own wine making journey this year with a much anticipated launch of her first label in 2017.
DTC Sales & Marketing
DTC Sales Strategy- Assessment & Modeling
Private Client Business Development
DTC Market Launch
Staffing: Recruiting, Hiring, Training
Web based; On Site
Strategy, Design, Delivery
Digital Marketing & Tools
Strategy, Design, Delivery, Metrics
Why is it wineries can offer the best varietal, vintage and value, but the DTC Sales growth numbers remain consistent YoY at 15-17%? Market statistics have shown 85-90% of DTC wine sales originate in the tasting room, however, there seems to be a widening gap between the potential impact of sales and the staffing resources required to sustain them.
In 2016 SF Luxury Marketing Council conducted a Mystery Shopping project among over 85 wineries in the Napa Sonoma region with the objective to measure the outcome of their visit via likelihood to buy, recommend or return. Among the shoppers who rated their experience the highest, the predominant reason was their connection with the host. These experiences also resulted in ~30% higher sales based on an average of $114 vs $88.
If you examine the model adding average tasting room operations into the equation, the annual ROI results can be quite impressive.
The survey outcome exemplified the growing need for wineries to invest in their most valuable resources-- The customer facing staff who work on the front line. Not only are tasting room personnel expected to deliver exceptional customer service, they are also pivotal to driving a significant portion of the DTC sales for the entire sales budgets. With so much at stake isn’t it worth it to regard these players as your “A Team”?
So it seems the answer is consistently simple…The Host is Most.
Integrating comprehensive sales training and compensation programs are easy tweaks you can make to ensure your varietal, vintage and value are being represented and converted into the wanting palates and wine cellars of your customers.
Mutual Commitments = Mutual Success.
If wineries want their guests to invest in their business and commit to becoming loyal customers, wineries need to invest in what it takes to win their trust and bestow their best and brightest assets to lead the charge.
Virtual Vines provides DTC sales and marketing support to help wineries ensure optimum coverage and top talent represented in the tasting room through project based services like mystery shopping, staff assessments, sales staff & manager training, hiring and leadership blueprints.
Our live Spring Webinar series provides convenient access to best practices to recruit, hire and train top talent for maximum results.
DTC SnapTrack: The Host with the Most- Relationship Selling
For more information on our complete training and services portfolio, please visit us at
In January Ship Compliant released its annual DTC Report and announced 2016 DTC Sales increased 17% to $2.3B!
Do you know it is likely 70% of those sales came from existing customers?
Statistics show on average, loyal customers are worth 10x as much as their first purchase and existing customers are 3x more likely to buy than new prospects.* With all of the data that shows there is significant opportunity for revenue growth leveraging a quality vs. quantity approach, many wineries continue to place more focus on increasing traffic in the tasting room and driving club membership sign ups as measurements for success. While it is always important to fill the funnel with a steady flow of new customers and contacts, businesses should not take the customers who have already proved their loyalty for granted. For any relationship to endure the test of time it must be nurtured through mutual attention and commitment. If the relationship is not kept intimate and meaningful, interest begins to thin causing mindshare and palates to wander. The shift to refocus sales and marketing strategies toward nurturing select loyal customers is a white hot trend as the DTC market continues to grow and wineries compete to win and keep the attention of qualified, loyal followers.
Virtual Vines has designed a consulting services portfolio which helps wineries strengthen their relationships with their most valuable customers through high touch sales & marketing program techniques, up leveling club offerings, implementing white glove service values and developing ongoing segmented, personalized communications.
Do you have a plan in place to drive more sales among your top clients?
Contact us for a complimentary DTC 80/20 Client Assessment Consultation
or join us for one of our live on line webinars:
For more information: email@example.com 707-927-3574
Based out of Napa, CA, Virtual Vines provided DTC sales and marketing consulting services designed to help small to medium sized wineries build brand
awareness and implement innovative growth strategies which will result in increased customer demand and loyalty.
The first winery jobs report for 2017 is in! January kicks off very strong with a 22% increase in DTC hiring over January 2016! While this is great overall news for growth prospects in our Industry, it offers some new challenges for wineries in an area that has already experienced a drought all its own…. Attracting, hiring and retaining top talent.
As more wineries pivot to enhancing their routes to market around the direct to consumer model, they are finding good sales, marketing and hospitality talent is hard to find and harder to keep. Not only is there a gap forming in relation to supply and demand, wineries are also feeling the significance the front line team has on the outcome of front line sales. Let’s face it, >85% of DTC sales originate in the tasting room and over 50% of DTC sales consistently happen there. Businesses need their customer facing teams to not only create memorable experiences, they also need to have skilled professionals who know how to qualify, sell and close business, exceed revenue goals, capture and grow ongoing relationships with top customers, operate and manage CRM and technology tools with precision and efficiency, and smile continually from the moment they arrive until they walk out the door.
As hiring needs increase and competition continues to grow, wineries will need to take a hard look at how they consider these pivotal roles and the impact they have on the business. They need to reassess what they have to offer, not just what the employee can give to them. I encourage wineries to employ the same strategies attracting and retaining employees as they do with their top customers:
If wineries integrate these customer value best practices across their personnel management program, I can guarantee they will recognize similar returns: More qualified candidates, increased sales performance, closer relationships and longer term commitments.
Join us for two unique opportunities to learn how to address these challenges by attending a panel discussion at the Luxury Marketing Council Winery Boot Camp on March 1 at the Lincoln Theater and/or register for a DTC Web Track seminar on this trending topic through our on line Learning program:
Contact us for more information or to schedule a complimentary staffing assessment consultation.
Virtual Vines offers DTC Sales training opportunities for wineries focused on developing professional sales and marketing acumen within their DTC hospitality program.
Hosted on line or on site our curriculum is flexible and can be customized to maximize your training needs.
FAST & FLEXIBLE! DTC Sales Snap Tracks are 3o minute interactive web based sessions which are streamlined to cover specific areas of interest and job function for DTC winery hospitality and sales personnel. The convenient on line webinar based forum offers a flexible venue for busy professionals to learn new DTC tips and techniques hosted by Industry experts remotely from anywhere on any device.
FOR SALES MANAGERS & BUSINESS OWNERS: DTC Sales Web Tracks are 60-90 minute interactive web based sessions which provide more in depth content around DtC strategy, design and Program Management. The on line webinar based forum offers a flexible venue for winery staff and managers to acquire DtC best practices sales and marketing expertise remotely from anywhere on any device.
In tasting room performance surveys, connecting with the host is proven to have the highest impact on the overall guest experience and produces consistently higher wine sales. This 30 minute live webinar will cover key relationship selling methodologies commonly taught and used in the commercial space to develop professional sales acumen. This interactive session will demonstrate how to build these techniques into the DTC selling model and offer winery/ hospitality staff tips on how to better qualify guests, build confidence to close more sales and build longer term customer relationships. MORE INFO & REGISTRATION:
Loyal, committed customers drive 67% more sales than new customers. While many wineries invest the most time, staff and marketing dollars into attracting new customers, oftentimes, the reliable, loyal buyers don’t always get the attention they deserve. This session will focus on the difference between customer retention and customer loyalty and offer up some creative ideas to kick things up a notch to add some spark into your wine club program. Using personalization, segmentation and simple 80/20 marketing logic, this session will provide some thought provoking ideas which will help drive longevity and keep your customer romance alive. MORE INFO & REGISTRATION:
This 30 minute live webinar will cover key facets of building an effective email outreach plan to help wineries attract, retain and stay connected with customers in the new world of on line marketing. This interactive session will outline key facets of building a strategic outreach plan, tips and techniques on how to develop intriguing content to increase open rates and conversions and how to leverage email outreach to galvanize stronger customer connections to build a loyal client following. MORE INFO & REGISTRATION:
The 80/20 principle applies to most business relationships… that is 80% of return is determined by 20% of customers. Today wineries need to focus on building marketing strategies which offer unique experiences to appeal to their preferred buyers by building closer relationships, offering memorable experiences and inspiration. This 60 minute web training session will provide best practices on how to use white glove marketing techniques to cater to the top 20% through intelligent data gathering, personalization and segmentation designed to intrigue, capture and convert high end buyers. From the tasting room guest experience, digital communication or annuity programs design, implementing best practices to incorporate the 80/20 principle into your DtC program will dramatically increase sales and grow brand loyalty. MORE INFO & REGISTRATION:
Over 85% of DTC Winery sales originate in tasting room. Hiring, training and motivating for a performance driven culture has become paramount to meet market demands and an ongoing challenge as wineries require more in depth skills and commitments from their hospitality staff. This live webinar will share best practices and creative ideas on how to attract and motivate top talent to increase sales performance and promote employee commitments and longevity. The session will offer 60 minutes of content followed by an interactive Q&A session. MORE INFO & REGISTRATION: