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VIRTUAL VINES

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1370 Trancas St. #772
Napa
CA, 94558
United States
Phone
707-927-3574
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Sales @ Virtual Vines

A Passion and A Purpose

     Laura Larson started her early career working within the hospitality business in various roles. Her passion for meeting and working with people of all levels and her studies in sales and marketing set the stage for a 25 year successful sales management career within the Information Technology Sector.  Working for Global 500 software companies, Laura had the opportunity to develop innovative marketing strategies & DTC Programs from the ground up.  During her career she hired, managed and trained some of the company’s top sales performers and always drove the importance of collaboration as essential for any successful outcome.

    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 integrated their hospitality programs into direct to consumer sales.     She quickly realized some of the sales and marketing expertise which drove success throughout her corporate career could help wineries shore up more focused strategies to better qualify, capture and grow loyalty among more customers, and ultimately help them sell more wine.

         Virtual Vines bases its services portfolio on relationship based sales and marketing methodologies which integrate commercial best practices to help wineries gain optimal positioning among direct customers as well as strategic business partners.  With her cloud computing background she also launched a popular live webinar based training program, “DTC SnapTracks”, so wineries inside and outside of Napa could gain easy access to DTC sales and marketing level training remotely– from anywhere on any device.  

         Since launching Virtual Vines, Laura has developed an extensive client list and is an active contributor to the DTC Winery Community.  She serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Napa Valley Hospitality Forum and is active with the “Free the Grapes”  coalition and serves on the Steering Committee for the DTC Wine Symposium.  

          Laura’s personal passion for wine led her to explore 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 Services; Sales Training & Staff Development


DTC Sales & Marketing
DTC Sales Strategy
DTC Program Assessment & Market Modeling
Private Client Business Development
Label Launch Support Services
Staffing: Recruiting, Hiring, Training

Sales Training
Web based; On Site

Loyalty Programs
Strategy, Design, Delivery

Digital Marketing & Tools
Strategy, Design, Delivery, Metrics
Social Media
Email Segmentation/ Automation
CRM/POS implementation

2017 SF Luxury Marketing Council - Tackling the Staffing Dilemma- Panel Expert
2017 SF Luxury Marketing Council - Tackling the Staffing Dilemma- Panel Expert
Virtual Vines Founder, Laura Larson, joins winery executives from Duckhorn, Inglenook, Hall & Beringer to discuss the current challenges of finding, capturing and retaining qualified staff for customer facing winery positions
Virtual Vines - DTC Wine Bootcamp 2017 - Sponsor
Virtual Vines - DTC Wine Bootcamp 2017 - Sponsor
PRESS RELEASE: Virtual Vines Announces “The V Files” A DTC Best Practices Expose' for Wineries

      Napa., CA:  May 15, 2017 – Virtual Vines releases THE V FILES ™, a monthly expose' based on wineries performance in the tasting room.  The monthly column, similar to a restaurant review, will provide an assessment on how well the winery delivers memorable guest experiences as well as staff proficiency converting sales and guests into loyal customers.  Using mystery shoppers throughout Northern California wine regions, THE V FILES ™ will highlight one winery each month and provide an analysis of performance against criteria set forth in an evaluation scorecard.  The scorecard rating system focuses on how well the winery creates inspiration for the winery brand, level of success connecting with guests, effectiveness converting a sale or wine club subscriptions and whether attempts were made to stay in touch after the visit.        

      THE V FILES ™   includes an averaged assessment of the guest visits and provide an overall performance rating using a wine glass scale based on criteria set forth in the scorecard.   Leveraging a summary of findings, the report will highlight areas the winery excelled and provide recommendations for areas requiring improvement.  Using input derived from actual guest experiences, the candid analysis offers wineries focused on direct to consumer market sales guidance on how to optimize DTC best practices and grow customer relationships to their fullest potential. 

 THE V FILES™ will be published monthly by subscription in Virtual Vines monthly DTC Sales & Marketing Newsletter
Link to  The V Files™ First Edition – May 2017



To recieve future publications of  THE V FILES ™ : SUBSCRIBE  

     Based out of Napa California, Virtual Vines provides project based Direct to Consumer sales and marketing consulting services & training programs designed to help wineries build and implement successful DTC market strategies.  For more information: www.virtual-vines.com.

 

 

 



  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


News Archive


DTC Sales Live Webinar Training Series- Summer Schedule Posted
01 May, 2017

New!  Summer Sessions Added

  Busy season is upon us!  As wineries embrace a heavier volume of visitors, new sales and marketing staff are ramping up to support the demands.   Virtual Vines convenient live webinar training series offers DTC sales & marketing training sessions which can be attended during convenient "off" customer hours at flexible times conducive to anyone's schedule.  Each session offers best practices training as well as competitive tips and techniques which will help wineries build closer connections from the first visit through the entire customer life cycle.  Whether it be making a stronger impact in the tasting room, optimizing a more compelling framework to your wine club, delivering a personalized digital marketing program or developing strategies to build loyalty among top clients, each 30- 60 minute course is perfect for new hires as well as seasoned hospitality, sales and marketing personnel.  

Click on each course link to learn more or register for one of our May or June sessions. 
Custom dates/times and group discounts available on request

 

 

"Make it Personal"
Mastering the Digital Marketing Experience 

90% of DTC winery sales originate in the tasting room, however, many customers don't get back for an on site visit after their initial guest experience.  As a result customer relationships are nurtured through digital contact: email, social media and website exchanges. This session will provide best practices on how to nurture and grow mutually committed customer relationships- DTC to LCD. 
60 minutes plus live Q&A. Best practices workbook included.

 

 

  "The 80/20 Rule"
Building a High Touch DTC Client Strategy

Loyal customers are 70% more likely to buy than new ones and their average purchase is 10X higher than their first. Using the 80/20 Principle, this  live webinar provides insights on how to increase opportunities to capture and grow your Top 20% customers by building a white glove, high touch segmented framework into your DTC program.    
   60 minutes plus live Q&A. Best practices workbook included.

 

"Talent and the Tasting Room"
Tackling the Staffing Dilemma

As wineries design strategies to cater to their top clients, the need for professionally trained staff who can consistently inspire, connect, build trust and loyalty is essential. Designed for DTC Managers and business owners, this live webinar offers insights on how to hire, train and motivate top performers through leadership framework which instills a sales value culture.
60 minutes plus live Q&A. Best practices workbook included.

 

 

"Be the Host with the Most"
Relationship Selling

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 live webinar 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 connections and confidence to close more sales and set the stage to grow longer term customer relationships.
30 minutes plus live Q&A. Best practices workbook included.

 

"To Have and to Hold"
Romancing Your Wine Club

The average wine club customer belongs to ~4-5 loyalty programs. As a result competition is growing and customers can be easily be swayed with a simple promise of something different. As a result, oftentimes wineries spend more time focused on customer retention strategies vs. building more intrigue into their club programs and growing mind share among those valued customers who are already committed. This session dives into the difference between customer retention and customer loyalty and provides creative ideas to add some spark into your wine club program to keep the romance alive.
30 minutes plus live Q&A. Best practices workbook included.

 

Custom online or on-site training options and group rates available on request.
Session times posted on site are scheduled in PST and are intended for single use per registration.

 

Full Training & Event Schedule

Based out of Napa California, Virtual Vines provides DTC Consulting Services and Sales Training designed to help small to medium sized wineries build brand awareness and implement innovative sales strategies which will result in increased customer demand and loyalty. For more information:http://www.virtual-vines.com

 


Looking for help with DTC Sales or Marketing Project?
18 April, 2017

DTC Sales & Marketing Consulting Services

Do you need help with a sales or marketing project?
Virtual Vines project based consulting services are tailored to help
wineries optimize DTC channels by offering sales and marketing expertise to help fill gaps within your
DTC program or to supplement personnel skills.
 Project engagements are customized to support business needs and can be termed for months or an afternoon. 

Business Development
DTC Market Strategy & Design Loyalty Programs
Customer Recruiting/Outreach
Strategic Alliances

Staffing
Sales Skills Assessment
Mystery Shopping
Professional Sales/ Sales Management training
Personnel Recruiting

Hospitality Program Optimization
Tasting Room Logistics
POS/CRM integration
Cost & Delivery planning

Digital Marketing
Email
Web Design
Social Media

 

Pricing is offered on project basis defined by scope of work and estimated timelines 
For more information, please contact us at info@virtual-vines.com


Batter Up! DTC Spring Training Schedule is On Line
04 April, 2017

DTC Sales & Marketing News- April 2017

It's time for spring training.  As busy season fast approaches what better time to assess and supplement staffing needs and skills development, cross train employees and brush up on best practices? Virtual Vines live webinar series offers convenient on line learning options for sales & hospitality staff and managers which can be conveniently attended remotely from anywhere on any device.

April and May dates have all been posted!

 

 

"Make it Personal"
Mastering the Digital Marketing Experience 

90% of DTC winery sales originate in the tasting room, however, many customers don't get back for an on site visit after their initial guest experience.  As a result customer relationships are nurtured through digital contact: email, social media and website exchanges. This session will provide best practices on how to nurture and grow mutually committed customer relationships- DTC to LCD. 
60 minutes plus live Q&A. Best practices workbook included.

 

 

  "The 80/20 Rule"
Building a High Touch DTC Client Strategy

Loyal customers are 70% more likely to buy than new ones and their average purchase is 10X higher than their first. Using the 80/20 Principle, this  live webinar provides insights on how to increase opportunities to capture and grow your Top 20% customers by building a white glove, high touch segmented framework into your DTC program.    
   60 minutes plus live Q&A. Best practices workbook included.

 

"Talent and the Tasting Room"
Tackling the Staffing Dilemma

As wineries design strategies to cater to their top clients, the need for professionally trained staff who can consistently inspire, connect, build trust and loyalty is essential. Designed for DTC Managers and business owners, this live webinar offers insights on how to hire, train and motivate top performers through leadership framework which instills a sales value culture.
60 minutes plus live Q&A. Best practices workbook included.

 

 

"Be the Host with the Most"
Relationship Selling

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 live webinar 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 connections and confidence to close more sales and set the stage to grow longer term customer relationships.
30 minutes plus live Q&A. Best practices workbook included.

 

"To Have and to Hold"
Romancing Your Wine Club

The average wine club customer belongs to ~4-5 loyalty programs. As a result competition is growing and customers can be easily be swayed with a simple promise of something different. As a result, oftentimes wineries spend more time focused on customer retention strategies vs. building more intrigue into their club programs and growing mind share among those valued customers who are already committed. This session dives into the difference between customer retention and customer loyalty and provides creative ideas to add some spark into your wine club program to keep the romance alive.
30 minutes plus live Q&A. Best practices workbook included.

 

Custom online or on-site training options and group rates available on request.
Session times posted on site are scheduled in PST and are intended for single use per registration.

 

Full Training & Event Schedule

Based out of Napa California, Virtual Vines provides DTC Consulting Services and Sales Training designed to help small to medium sized wineries build brand awareness and implement innovative sales strategies which will result in increased customer demand and loyalty. For more information:http://www.virtual-vines.com

 


DTC Sales 101: The Host with the Most
23 March, 2017

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.

REGISTER TODAY! 

DTC SnapTrack: The Host with the Most- Relationship Selling    

DTC WebTrack:The 80/20 Rule- Building a High Touch DTC Client Strategy

DTC WebTrack:Talent & the Tasting Room: Tackling the Staffing Dilemma

For more information on our complete training and services portfolio, please visit us at
www.virtual-vines.com


The 80/20 Rule: High Touch = The New Norm
13 March, 2017

 

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: 

The 80/20 Rule- Building a High Touch Client Strategy 

Make it Personal- Mastering the Digital Customer Experience

To Have and to Hold- Romancing Your Wine Club

For more information:  info@virtual-vines.com       707-927-3574



*Source: McKinsey

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.
www.virtual-vines.com

 


The Staffing Dilemma- Are you Up for the Challenge?
20 February, 2017

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:

  1. Creating memorable experiences
  2. Consistently demonstrating the WOW Factor
  3. Integrating personal/ demographic segmentation strategies
  4. Educating and Upselling
  5. Leading with value proposition
  6. Offering incentives for loyalty
  7. Delivering White Glove Customer service
  8. Recognizing and rewarding for revenue or contribution

             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. 

As you gear up for busy season, are you ready for the challenge?

    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:

DTC Manager WebTrack
More Info & Registration:
“Talent & the Tasting Room-
Tackling the Staffing Dilemma”

  

 

Luxury Marketing Council
Winery Boot Camp-
More Info & Registration:
“The Staffing Conundrum”

 

Contact us for more information or to schedule a complimentary staffing assessment consultation.

Based out of Napa California, Virtual Vines provides project based Direct to Consumer sales and marketing consulting services & training programs designed to help wineries build and implement successful DTC market strategies.  For more information please visit us at www.virtual-vines.com.
LIVE WEBINAR- DTC Sales Training- TO HAVE AND TO HOLD- Romancing Your Wine Club
DTC SNAP TRACK- TO HAVE AND TO HOLD- Romancing Your Wine Club CLICK HERE FOR COURSE INFO & REGISTRATION:  Loyal, committed customers drive 67% more sales than new customers.  While many wineries invest ...
LIVE WEBINAR- Sales Manager Training- TALENT & THE TASTING ROOM: Tackling the Staffing Dilemma
DTC SALES WEB TRACK:  TALENT & THE TASTING ROOM:  Tackling the Staffing Dilemma  CLICK HERE FOR  COURSE INFO & REGISTRATION:  .  Over 85% of DTC Winery sales originate in tasting room. ...
LIVE WEBINAR- Sales Manager Training- THE 80/20 RULE- Building a High Touch Client Strategy
DTC WebTrack- THE 80/20 RULE- Building a High Touch Client Strategy    CLICK HERE FORCOURSE INFO & REGISTRATION:  The 80/20 principle applies to most business relationships… that is 80% of return is determined ...
LIVE WEBINAR- DTC Sales Training- BE THE HOST WITH THE MOST- Relationship Selling
DTC SALES SNAP TRACK- BE THE HOST WITH THE MOST- Relationship Selling CLICK HERE FOR COURSE INFO & REGISTRATION:  In tasting room performance surveys, connecting with the host is proven to have the ...
LIVE WEBINAR- DTC Sales Training- MAKE IT PERSONAL- Mastering the Digital Customer Experience
DTC SNAP TRACK- MAKE IT PERSONAL- Connecting through Digital Marketing CLICK HERE FOR COURSE INFO & REGISTRATION:  90% of DTC winery sales originate in the tasting room, however, many customers never return for an on ...

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.

    DTC Snap Track
                               Be The Host with the Most-
                               Relationship Selling

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:   

       DTC Snap Track
                                         To Have and To Hold-
                                 Romancing Your Wine Club Program

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: 

 

   DTC Snap Track
 
                              Make it Personal-
                              Connecting Through Digital Marketing

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: 

 
    DTC WebTrack
                                     The 80/20 Rule:
                              Building A High Touch DTC Client Strategy

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: 

 
     DTC WebTrack
 
                                Talent & The Tasting Room:
                                Tackling the Staffing Dilemma

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: