It would be a bit like preaching to the choir for us to tell northeast wineries about the numerous challenges around getting placement of their wines on an on premise (restaurant) menu, as they have the same challenges as a distributor on a daily basis. The one difference being that we, as a distributor, are selling their products in a state other than the one the products are made in. It seems that the further you get away from the products home state the bigger the challenge to market it to on (or off) premise consumers.
In order for a product to be selected for on premise sales…
1) It must be a good product
2) It must be offered at a good price point
3) It should have a bit of a following (what is special about it? Is there a story?)
At the end of the day, in order to have a chance of getting any wine onto an on-premise menu it needs to meet at least two of these criteria and preferably all three.
The real challenge in getting the products into on premise locations is that mostly the restaurants want to be able to sell wines by the glass and higher price points prevent them from being able to do so. While it is valid that the prices of these wines are where they need to be from the winery standpoint, it is also valid for the on-premise venues to need the prices to be lower in order to cater to their customer base. So, the ultimate objective is to continue to be able to make more product each year in order to be able to lower the price and in turn be in a position to better market these wines to a larger scope of on or off premise accounts. There are many challenges around being able to do that which any winery will tell you is about the high cost of land and the small scale of the wineries, amongst other things.
The objective of New England Uncorked is to continue selling these products one bottle at a time to as many on and off premise accounts as we can in an effort to broaden the notion that the northeast is continuing to make more competitive product in an expanding/up and coming wine region for an ever-growing wine loving population. We have made great strides in this so far, but we have only just begun to scratch the surface, and our determination is to change the conception of where great wines can be found.
Although many consumers are still of the belief that the best products come from better known wine regions (i.e.; France, Italy, Spain, Ca.), they are starting to see that other regions, such as ours, are just as capable of making equally great wines, and as a result, they are starting to be more open to wines made from lesser known vinifera or hybrid grapes. So to us it would seem that we are winning them over one consumer at a time!