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What is the motivation to buy wine from a winery?

Currently, Maryland residents cannot purchase wine from wineries within Maryland or outside the state and have it shipped directly to their homes. That may soon change, as the General Assembly is ready to pass a direct shipping law. In yesterday’s post I commented on some of the rants from the retailers and distributors regarding direct shipping to Maryland residents. A retailer tweeted that, “You would be crazy to order wine plus freight and expect to save $.” That made me think about the motivation one would have to order wine from a winery instead of purchasing a wine from a wine shop.

If consumers who purchase wine are concerned with the price of the wine, they may not order wine from wineries and pay the extra cost of shipping. However, after traveling to hundreds of wineries and seeing other wine travelers ordering cases of wine to be shipped to their homes throughout the country, I don’t believe that price is the motivation behind ordering wine from a winery. The people who purchase wine from a winery and have it shipped to their home do so because they like the wine. Perhaps it is the wine’s taste or aroma. Perhaps consumers like it because it is a variety that wine stores do not carry. Or perhaps the wine reminds them of a vacation in a particular region of the country. Some wineries are involved in charitable giving and perhaps this provides a motivation to purchase wine from that winery. Whatever the reason, seldom is it money related.

Many winery tasting rooms are filled on weekends. Some of the visitors are from the local community, but many are travelers who enjoy visiting wineries. These wine travelers get to taste from the portfolio of wines made at the winery they are visiting. If they find something they like, they will often purchase it. With about 6,000 wineries in the United States, there is a lot of variety. Wine stores simply do not carry the portfolio of 6,000 United States wineries. Go into a Maryland wine store and try to find a bottle of Carlos from North Carolina. Try to find a bottle of Norton from Missouri. Also try to find a bottle of Blanc du Bois from Texas. The proponents of direct shipping in Maryland want the freedoms to purchase wines that they like that are not carried by wine stores.

Price is probably not the only motivating factor. However if it is, note that some wineries do offer case discounts and few offer free shipping at certain times of the year. Wine retailers in Maryland will need a better argument, that people would be crazy to spend extra money to order wine from a winery, if they intend to persuade people from not ordering from wineries once the law is changed.

What would motivate you to order wine from a winery?


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