Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

B.C. Wineries Gather for MNP’s 7th Annual Industry Roundtable


​​This article was first published in the Winter Edition of Canadian Grapes to Wine and has been reproduced with permission


On November 3rd, MNP and Farm Credit Canada (FCC) were pleased to host a crowd of 80 winery owners and key industry stakeholders in Penticton for a full day of presentations and discussion around the business of wine. 2016 marked MNP’s Seventh annual workshop for the B.C. Wine Industry.

The first speaker was Steve Moriarity, the Managing Director of Wines of British Columbia at Save On Foods. Steve gave an informative update on the first year and a half since the sale of B.C. VQA wine in BC grocery stores became a reality. Moriarity stressed the fact that carrying a broad selection of B.C. VQA wines in select Save On stores has been a perfect fit for the B.C.-based grocery chain and has proven to be good for business.

Next up was MNP wine industry specialist Geoff McIntyre and tax specialist Marty Clement. Geoff and Marty used the recent Otteson Tax Court case to highlight how properly structuring your land-based winery business can help ensure access to three valuable tax exemptions: the farming capital gains exemption, the qualified small business exemption and the principal residence exemption.

The keynote speaker was Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops. DTC Wine Workshops supports wineries of all sizes in the areas of E-Commerce, CRM, DTC Strategic Planning and Training Services to grow direct-to-consumer wine sales and retain loyal customers.

To wrap up the morning session, Sandra shared case studies and best practices from wineries in the United States to help wineries in the Okanagan plan for the future of direct wine sales growth. During her keynote address, attendees received a clear understanding of how to build a solid foundation for selling wine direct to consumer. The three topics included:

  1. How to select the right DTC Wine Technologies.
  2. Top Three Workflows that grow direct wine sales and retain loyal customers.
  3. How to measure ROI and DTC Sales Success.

New to this year’s conference agenda was an afternoon hands-on workshop session in which the Top Five Do’s and Don’ts for Selling wine Direct-to-Consumer were revealed. Sandra presented latest direct to consumers sales numbers and survey results from the U.S. wine market that now represents $2 billion in wines shipped to consumers last year. Attendees were encouraged to leverage lessons learned in the DTC Wine Case Study Series that included topics around Customer Retention with Teleservices, Mobile POS, Reservation Management Tools and Social Customer Relationship Management Tools.

A recap of the Top Five Dos and Don’ts are listed here:

1. Do LEVERAGE the right technology with the right processes.
2. Do BALANCE the Online with the Offline customer experience.
3. Don’t ASSUME that your team knows what customers want – be sure to ask and listen socially.
4. Do INVITE customers back in meaningful ways.
5. Don’t IGNORE online brand mentions – be sure to respond in a timely manner.

As Sandra concluded the hands-on workshop session, she took questions from the audience and shared best practices based on her work with wineries of all sizes in the U.S. Sandra also left attendees with words of wisdom for developing strategic DTC sales plans in 2017 and emphasized the need to create a “customer touch-point schedule” to ensure that staff stays connected with club members in between visits through a variety of communication channels. Sandra also shared the importance of developing a “brand ambassador group” to formally thank brand loyalists for social mentions, peer reviews and continued support. Lastly, Sandra reminded attendees of the value of peer reviews to help online customers making buying decisions and shared the following statistic:

Customers are 77% more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from family and friends. (Nielsen) 

As part of their efforts to help grow and strengthen Canada’s wine industry, MNP and FCC are planning to host a similar Industry Roundtable event in the Ontario wine region early in 2017. Stay tuned!

Geoff McIntyre, CPA, CA is a partner in MNP’s Kelowna office. Geoff advises the B.C. Wine Industry. To find out what Geoff can do for you, contact him at 250.763.8919 or [email protected].