by Andrew Chalk
Gruet Winery sells almost 130,000 cases of wine a year, the best of it made from New Mexico grapes and clearly labelled as such. Its retail and on-premise (restaurant and club) reach extends to 49 states in the U.S., plus Japan and the Caribbean. Gruet is sui generis in this respect. No other winery from New Mexico has a footprint outside of the state.
Texas wineries are at an inflexion point in the industry’s history. They are quality-competitive with like-for-like varietals from other states, but that fact is not known outside the state. As a result, out-of-state sales are much lower than they could be. Obviously, a good product is not sufficient to sell nationally. Something else is needed.
What lessons does Gruet’s success have for Texas wineries in expanding their sales footprint outside the state? What are the key factors that led to Gruet’s success? Was it distribution? If so, does on-premise or off-premise distribution matter more? Is it reviews? If so, which review sites matter? How important is editorial coverage in wine blogs? How important are blind tastings? What about word-of-mouth? Continue reading