There's more than one way to skin a cat. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of brand building for artisan wineries. There are plenty of "professionals" out there that can "move boxes". This is an important skill, and one that is not to be overlooked. Moving boxes is the "art" of the deal. It exists in a universe I have never visited, and don't know much about. It's easy for us wine geeks to scoff, as I often do, about these corporate minded "tools". It may be time we learned about them though. I have noticed them infiltrating my world quite a bit as of late. I can only presume this is because of the economy and these seemingly glowing resumes hunting for new jobs. Inevitably, small and mid-sized wineries look at these salespeople, and think that they are what they've been missing all of these years. Corporate placements, court-side seats, $1000 table fees, spiffs, DA's. These are their tools of the trade.
This may sound great, and maybe I'm just jealous. Or maybe, it only works in certain situations. Moving Boxes is great if your supply is large,and your margins are thin. If you are diversified enough to withstand not being profitable every couple of years. Most small wineries count this as blood money. They can't afford discounts, let alone marketing budgets, entertainment budgets, etc. The price is the price. In these situations, you need to build the brand. Building the brands perpetuates placements,and you may even turn your customers into evangelists (the best sales tools in the world). People that move boxes can't evangelize. They just aren't built that way. That's not to say they can't sell, but their skill set is better used in different arenas.
My prediction is that this market correction, will once again have another market correction. This will inevitably result in small wineries refocusing on their solid placements, and selling by brand building rather than the fast money.