In discussion this week, Paul Mabray (Chief Strategy Officer, Vintank )
noodled with me on the role of the importer in Direct-through-Trade contributions to (and shares in) wine producers gain in net present lifetime value of customer relationships:
- improving consumer awareness of how a winery's offerings mesh with their own paths toward success in personal and business life
- attracting customers to new releases
- engaging customers in resonant, relevant online discussions
- cultivating appropriate roles in communities (both online and face-to-face)
- growing brand acceptance
- driving wine tourism
- promoting winery visits
We wrestle daily with capturing the records/evidence of these values' occurrences through methods of social/traditional media monitoring, while keeping an eye on how the business objectives of the wineries and their global distribution partners are served by engaging thusly with socially-connected customers.
One must understand fundamental business issues before sensible business process re-engineering can evolve, to wit:
- What are the players' goals in this chain of Direct-through-Trade?
- How do we capture and aggregate the events into actionable business intelligence?
- How do we target methods/practices that flow from such knowledge?
- How do we measure and communicate the incremental benefits that accrue from such innovations?
To forego the pratfalls of the shoot first school of business planning which would otherwise sidetrack benefit gain, one must engage with the passionate players/thought-leaders whose lives are driven to assure that all of the most important connections are vital and growing more healthfully. One such person is Bartholomew Broadbent.
He is a principal executive in Broadbent Selections (importer) as well as in his family's other diverse holdings in wineries and other major wine-related investments in many countries (including the U.S.).
When we privately debated Wine Enthusiast's award of the "Top 10 Wine Destinations", Bartholomew told me much about the essence and role of wine tourism in lifetime customer value I was confused, upset, and perhaps even a little suspicious about how Wine Enthusiast had chosen Virginia over so many other areas, thinking that "Top Wine Destinations" should be about the wine first, and everything else later. He showed me how much more complex, like it or not, the reality is.
Mr. Broadbent illustrated for me how national, regional, state, provincial, municipal governments, restaurants, hotels, and tour companies have a lot of skin in this collaborative enterprise. It is a thin skin when they compete with the rest-of-the-world for wine tourist revenues. The wineries, the global distribution chains, and the private/public infrastructure of wine regions contribute to and benefit from wine tourism, even if the benefit is more immediate for some than it is for others.
Winemakers know why they dedicate themselves to continuous improvement in their craft, while adhering religiously to their most traditional practices, as this is their life's design. The rest of us play our own roles with respect to the winemakers and their wine, as our stories surround and help to sustain the winemakers' purpose. Thus, we depend upon each other.
Bartholomew works in places where the infrastructure ranges from fabulous to nearly non-existent He is very sensitive to the wine tourists needs for food, lodging, culture, and family comforts so as to assure the best tourist experience.
Among the Broadbent winery interests, Barboursville Vineyards is one of the best endowed, most striking and greatly inviting. I visited Barboursville last year during the North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, where the public sector's roles in fomenting infrastructure was nothing less than awesome. The Governor brought 400 of us to dinner nearby at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello mansion, an indisputable icon of winery vision among the founding fathers.
Barboursville Vineyards, which is close to Charlottesville, includes The 1804 Inn and the Palladio Restaurant. Taken as a whole, Barboursville fulfills a wine tourist needs. Their outrageously great wine, Octagon
is an example of what other Virginia wine should aspire to rival.
Bartholomew contrasted Virginia to Douro, Portugal, a wine region of outstanding wine-quality and jaw-dropping gorgeousness, which is deprived of achieving familiarity by the outside world because of poor infrastructure. Douro is short on the roads, hotels, restaurants, health care, airports, railways, and other public infrastructure with which Virginia is so enviably well-developed.
Mr. Broadbent knows this all too well because Broadbent Selections is the exclusive importer for Casa Ferreirinha in Quinta Do Seixo, Douro.
I related this discussion to Paul Mabray. Having come to the end of our discussion for the day, Paul turned to his shelf and pulled down a bottle of Casa Ferreirinha Esteva 2001 Douro, a famous blend of Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca prized for its' herbal hints of Cistus Lusitanicus in the nose.
He then gave this fine Broadbent Selection to me to take home to share with my family, because he knows that this is what makes me successful in my private and business lives. Once home, I pulled out my mortar and pestle, to grind the finest herbs and spices, and attend to making a Madeira sauce that would help me to finish a fine rib eye au poivre paired with this Douro.
With help from Bartholomew and Paul, the chain of Direct-through-Trade interactions enjoyed a moment of fruition. It was an answer to some of the questions that we are still dealing with. Moreover, my hard work was richly rewarded at home that night.