Wednesday, February 1


First consumers of wine in the world, the United States asserts itself as a market with incredible growth prospects (370 million cases drunk in 2014, consumption increasing non-stop for more than 20 years and + 11% forecast of here 2018 *.) Before shining on the shelves, stage N ° 1, for any domain, remains the search for the right partner to import its wines: a real quest!

For this new 60-second post, we have decided to provide you with some basic advice to help you find a partner who will support you in the development of your sales in the USA. We would have liked to tell you even more but penetrating the American market is so complex that the writing of a book on this subject would have been necessary!

Understand the US market and choose the right approach.

Before embarking on prospecting, take the time to understand the 3-thirds system and why your wines belong there. Several options are available to you for importing your wines: national or regional importer, direct distributor, direct to stores, direct to consumers or even to create your own import company. But what is the right option? It depends … especially on your production and the volumes that you will dedicate to this market. If you are a small or medium-sized domain, the simplest and fastest solution to penetrate the market is perhaps to work with a reseller (retailer) who does direct import (direct import) or can be one of the leader’s e-commerce. Once you’ve researched the market, think about the states where you want to be present and which ones have priority. Then identify a few players for each priority state and ask yourself the question “why should they care about my wines?”

Create a convincing commercial and marketing proposition.

You now have your list of potential partners. Before contacting them, we recommend that you create presentation tools in US English: technical sheets, info on the estate, vineyard, map, etc. Be consistent in terms of speech and identity through all these tools. Use press articles to demonstrate that there is a need for your wines and their category. Prove that your wines offer a real competitive advantage compared to your competitors on the market. Finally, be aware that to be successful, you will need to fully invest yourself in this market, notably with several trips per year to monitor the development of your distribution.

The right price positioning.

To calculate your ex cellar sale price, start with the retail price at which you want to position your wines. To do this, benchmark the prices of your competitors on the market. Once you have your public price, you just need to deduct the margins of the different intermediaries: store, distributor, importer (around 33% for each intermediary). We advise you to keep your prices stable for at least 2-3 years.

The right packaging.

In the United States more than elsewhere, the packaging is (almost) essential! It must give an idea of ​​the value of the product, be in agreement with your target consumer and be memorable. Finally, it must make the difference in radius and not only in the middle of the wines of your region but also in the middle of wines from around the world. That said and even if the labels can be very original in the USA, we recommend that you remain yourself, to remain consistent with your history and your identity.

To conclude here are 4 common mistakes not to commit: 

  1. Do not take the time to understand the US market or its competitors or the possible importer/distributor options
  2. Have unrealistic sales goals
  3. Poor price positioning
  4. Having insufficient commercial and marketing support