EVineyard Uncorks TasteTour to Grow Loyalty

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Aiming to develop loyalty among its youthful customer base, eVineyard.com, Portland, OR, is pitching its "TasteTour Wine Course" via e-mail to 150,000 opt-in users this month.


About 70 percent of eVineyard customers are younger than 50. Moreover, a large percentage are not wine experts and want to learn more.


"It's the exact opposite of wine industry statistics," said Brett Lauter, vice president of marketing and sales for eVineyard.com. "We're really trying to grow this market as opposed to siphoning off consumers that have been around for a while."


With that in mind, eVineyard's six-month course includes a monthly shipment of three bottles of wine from a single varietal, accompanied by that varietal's TasteTour Wine Guide.


Beginning with merlot in April, featured varietals continue with cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, zinfandel and chardonnay. Users click on the TasteTour Wine Course icon on the eVineyard home page to sign up for the distinctive collection, available for $349 to $489, or the premium selection, for $799 to $839.


"For the folks that have opted in to become members of this wine club, we'll market to them and say, 'You've just tried merlots, here's other merlots to try,'" Lauter said. "It's very much a way to sell wine but to also educate our customers so they know more and buy better wines."


The TasteTour guides explain what tastes to look for in each wine and how to match the wines with different foods.


"It's about building a better relationship and creating more value for your customers," Lauter said. "It's not just about selling, selling, selling.


"One thing we try to do throughout our site and our business is to not come across as the wine snob," Lauter said. "We want to be very approachable so that people don't feel that anxiety level."


In May, eVineyard plans to send more than 1 million TasteTour e-mails through targeted lists rented from eCentives.com, coolsavings.com, ClickRewards.com and MyPoints.com. The lists comprise wine enthusiasts who are older than 21 and live within the 27 states the company ships to, Lauter said.


EVineyard expects to generate 25 percent to 30 percent gross margin profit from the TasteTour, which is "on the low end of the normal retailer," Lauter said. Bricks-and-mortar wine retailers typically pull 30 percent and higher, Lauter said.


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