Email Marketing for Wineries – Best Practices – 2020 Edition

Last Updated on July 13, 2021 by

Email Marketing for Wineries in 2020 – Best Practices

There is nothing I like more than receiving an email from one of my favorite wine clubs. Unfortunately, I can’t help but notice that the majority of these emails aren’t as optimized as they should be.  In this guide, we’ll cover the most important things about email marketing for wineries in 2020. The conversation has changed, and here are the insights, tips, and tricks you can leverage:

Is Email Marketing Still Relevant for Winery Marketing?


Here’s the thing: email marketing is one of the best ways to reach your customers.

Email has some of the highest conversion rates across the board. Why? Because the people receiving your emails want to receive them.

They’ve already shown interest in your winery. The only thing you have to do is convince them to buy, and keep buying.

Email marketing helps you convince new visitors to become your customers and retain existing members.

And all it takes is an email address.

Not to mention that some wineries are doing an incredible job of creating rich storytelling experiences through their email marketing.  

There’s nothing sweeter than good copy, enticing visuals, and a glass of wine to top it all off

Source: Campaign Monitor
There’s nothing sweeter than good copy, enticing visuals,
and a glass of wine to top it all off

So if you want to increase your DTC sales...

…grow your wine club membership base…

…or simply renew your existing customers’ delight…

Email marketing can help you.

Advantages of Using Email Marketing to Promote Your Winery

  • Two-thirds of customers made purchases because of email marketing (Source)
  • Not all leads were made alike; on average, only 20% of leads are ready to make a purchase, and email marketing makes it easy to convince and convert them (Source
  • On average, you can expect $42 from every $1 you spend on email marketing, making it an incredibly cost-effective way to promote your winery (Source)
  • 99% of consumers check their email every day, making email marketing one of the rare sure-fire ways to reach your customers (Source)
  • 49% of consumers want to hear from their favorite brands every week (Source)
  • Wineries have the highest email open rates across industries; the average winery email open rate is 31.3%, as opposed to all industries’ average of 25.3% (Source)   

And finally, let’s not forget about competitive advantage.

There are a lot of wine clubs out there. However, according to the Benchmark Email study, only 14% of wineries segment their list subscribers. 89% of wineries have no clue what their open rates are. Just by being here, you’re going to do a lot more to increase your DTC sales than your competitors.

How Can Your Winery Succeed with Email Marketing in 2020?

At the very foundation of every good winery email marketing campaign, there is a strategy:

  1. Know your audience (Where do they live? How old are they? What are they interested in? Why do they drink wine?)
  2. Define your goals (Do you want to generate more leads? Do you want to increase the number of your DTC sales? Retain your wine club members?)
  3. Create landing pages and opt-in forms
  4. Make a sending schedule
  5. Create beautiful and effective emails
  6. Wait for the results to start pouring in, measure them, and improve

But you can find the basics of strategy creation everywhere.

What you won’t find are insights hyper-specific to consumers in 2020; insights that leverage technological advancements, and allow you to understand your customers better than you’ve ever dreamed of. And that is what the contemporary email marketing conversation is all about.

If you’d just started like you would have in 2010, you’d be lagging behind.


Personalization and Automation Go Hand in Hand

Personalization in itself is beneficial; 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand who provides personalized experiences.

However, when you add automation to the mix, you’ll be able to personalize for thousands of customers at once.  

The main key to email marketing personalization is list segmentation. After segmenting, you can simply adapt your content to different audience types.

This is where email marketing automation for wineries comes in.

Automation allows you to send hundreds of personalized emails simultaneously. Let’s say you’ve got a group of people who love Chardonnay, and love consuming content about it. You can target them all with one email.

Greet customers who opted in through a landing page with a promise of customized wine shipments.

Offer birthday discounts to customers without having to jot their birthdays down in your planner.

And if some of them add wine to their cart but don’t follow through with a purchase, don’t despair.

If you’ve set up your email marketing automation right, one email will remind and motivate them to confirm the purchase.

The best part is: you can do it all on autopilot:

  • Set up drip campaigns, emails triggered by particular actions your customers take on your website
  • Set up workflows, which automatically recognize when your customers have taken the right actions for that stage (for example, they opened an email and downloaded your lead magnet). If they haven’t, your automation workflow will adapt, sending them other materials or offers they’ll find useful.

And this is just the beginning!

I’ll show you a few advanced strategies in Section 3 and 4.

The Opt-In Matters

A few years ago, everyone thought that the best way to sell more was to purchase contact lists from third-party sources.

In the end, that led to spam reports, dysfunctional mailing lists, and – you’ve guessed it – very few sales.

The way your customers and leads opt in matters.

In particular, there are two laws you should pay attention to: CAN-SPAM, and GDPR.

GDPR does pertain to EU subjects but with the California Consumer Privacy Act and other legislative measures rising to prominence, it’s good to start adhering to GDPR standards right away.

Ensure you’re compliant by:

  • Adding “Unsubscribe” links to your emails
  • Adding your winery name and address to your emails
  • Using email addresses people can reply to in ‘From’ fields, rather than the generic

GDPR-specific tips:

  • Create a privacy policy that explains how you use consumer data, and who you share it with
  • If your customers request it, allow them to access their personal data, modify, or delete it

When it comes to marketing purposes, the opt-in matters because you want to increase your deliverability:

  • Clean your mailing list regularly; remove or re-engage inactive subscribers
  • Ask your subscribers to add your newsletter address to their email address book
  • Use double opt-ins
  • Use a reliable email marketing service
  • Establish a sending schedule and stick to it

In general, behave with emails as you would with someone’s home addresses. You wouldn’t send them hundreds of letters – they’d get inundated. You wouldn’t send them offers they don’t care about.

Instead, make sure every subscriber is actually interested in your emails, and track their open rates.

After that, it’s time to personalize.

You Can Segment at Scale with Dynamic Content

Dynamic content is definitely one of the most interesting email marketing developments in the past few years.

To put it simply, dynamic content is a block of code in your email that changes depending on the end user.

You’ll send the same email to everyone on your mailing list, but different audiences will see different things.

Your Merlot lovers will see Merlot-specific offers, while your Chardonnay aficionados will see Chardonnay-specific offers.

This is a great way to hyper-personalize your email content and increase your wine club membership and DTC sales.

If you’re already offering customized shipments, you should integrate dynamic content as soon as possible!

And if you’re not, consider allowing your wine club members to create their own shipments.

The overwhelming majority of them loves it, and it’s a great customer retention tactic.

You could personalize dynamic content based on:

  • Demographic information such as location
  • Preference
  • Email and website interaction data

You can get really creative here.

If you’re announcing a new wine, you could highlight pairings specific to each customer’s location.

If your customer isn’t ordering as much as they used to, you could reengage them by reminding them of the wines they’ve enjoyed in the past.

And if you really want to roll up your sleeves and increase your sales, you can even test copy, visuals, and CTAs.

Are HTML Emails Better than Plain Text? 

Usually, yes.

They allow you to insert links, dynamic content, and personalize at scale.

However, plain text is great for correspondence that needs to come across as personal.

For example, if you’re speaking to your customers as the founder of your winery, and inviting them to try out a new varietal that you are proud of, plain text would be much better.

It would simply seem more exclusive.

Use HTML for the majority of your email marketing efforts, but don’t be afraid of plain-text. 

Of course, give your subscribers the option of receiving plain-text emails, which can help with accessibility even in places with shoddy internet connection. It loads faster than HTML, and works on all devices.

Winery Email Marketing Automation

Anyone can tell you that email marketing automation is the best thing since sliced bread. But a lot of its value lies in your way of presenting it.

Your customers could perceive your email marketing as annoying, or they could think it’s delightful:

Show Your Customers that You Care

There is no easier way to way to reach your customers at scale than email.

It’s easy to set up a series of emails that are sent at key times of the year, such as on a wine club member’s birthday.

Sadly, very few wineries actually do this. My wife and I are members of about six wine clubs (none of these wineries are Nimbletoad clients, although they should be). On my last birthday, not one of these wineries sent a birthday card, let alone happy birthday email wishes. I wasn’t expecting one, but you have to admit – it would’ve been the perfect time to earn even more of my trust and business.

Birthdays are an amazing time to reach out to a member with a quick note wishing them well, and perhaps suggesting they celebrate with a wine from their last shipment.

I say ‘perhaps’ because the goal of these emails isn’t to sell directly, but to solidify the relationship you have with your customers.

(And yes, that does generate more sales down the line.)

It all comes down to data.

Birthdays are just one key piece of data that you can leverage when you use email marketing to attract and retain customers.

And where there is one data point, there are many.

What about where your customers live?

Most wineries’ have a wine club membership base across the country. People sign up for wine clubs when they’re on vacation, and they known they can’t return to your winery soon. What they can do, though, is drink your delicious wine and recall the memories fondly.

(Perhaps that can be another idea for your email retention strategy. 😉 )

It’s critical to keep these members engaged so that they don’t cancel their membership after their initial 12-month commitment.

You can also improve your wine club retention numbers by sending out a seasonal email customized to their region.

Maybe that region is having unusually glorious weather.

Why not send an email recommending a perfect recipe and picnic wine to help them take advantage of their good fortune?

And before you ask: yes, you can absolutely automate this! Use weather alerts to trigger an automation flow.

You don’t have to do a lot, but it’ll charm the socks off your customers.

Automated seasonal emails tied to the first snow or first warm front can show your customers that your winery is more than just their quarterly source of wine.

For an extra kicker, segment your member lists according to shared characteristics, and personalize at scale.

Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue.

Enrich Your Regularly Scheduled Emails

Every email you send allows you to gain insight into your members.

You’ll know which members love opening your wine pairings emails, and which ones don’t bother clicking-through unless you’re discussing their favorite varietal.

All of this can be used to galvanize your relationship with your customers.

Every data point you get from emails you send helps you make the next email even more relevant by customizing it.

Email marketing automation helps you answer the following questions:

  • Did the member open the email?
  • Did they share it?
  • What links did they visit?
  • How long did they browse the page after following the link?
  • Did they purchase wine, or download a suggested recipe?
  • Did they abandon their shopping cart?

And more!

When done right, automation can help you understand the entire journey every single customer takes on their way to purchasing your wine.

 Then, simply use that insight at scale to improve your emails even more.

By the end of the year, your customers will feel like your winery is their best friend.

And you trust your friends’ recommendations, don’t you?

Make Email Automation Work for Your Winery

The key to making your email automation work for you are triggers.

Triggers are specific activities your website visitors or customers take. They link your email marketing client with your website and your online store.

For example, cart abandonment is a trigger.

If someone leaves the site with items still in their cart, the trigger will send out an email prompting them to return and complete their purchase.

The subject line might read something like:

“Hey, did you forget something? You don’t want to miss out on fabulous wine.”

If done correctly, the cart abandonment email can work very well.

However, this is the bare minimum and I would argue in most cases it is not the most effective.

There is usually a good reason why someone abandoned their cart.

And despite all the marketers telling you differently, it’s almost never because the person forgot what they were doing mid-way through the process.

So keep an open mind. I encourage you to use triggers as a way of starting a conversation with your members.

It’s the best way to understand what went wrong, and improve in the future.

Perhaps the customer went back because they weren’t sure the varietal is the right fit for them.

In that case, you could improve your middle-of-the-funnel education, and use your newsletters to send more information on distinct varietals you offer.

They might have also found a better offer looking the wine up online, which could tell you that your marketing is attracting the wrong type of customers, or that you need to improve the perceived value of your wine.

Create Rich Experiences with Data

For example, many wineries include recipes that are perfectly matched to their recent club shipments.

The first step is placing these recipes behind the member’s section of the site.

If you require members to log in to view and download the recipes, you’ll be able to learn more about them and customize your conversation based on their interactions.

Then, link to recipes from your wine club shipment emails, teasing how well they’ll match each wine in the shipment.

Take it a step further by sending a follow-up email, and asking your members how the recipe was.

You can also encourage them to leave a review with any tips they might have for other members.

Not only will this make them engage with your winery more, but it’ll help you build community and foster conversation.

One step further?

If the member left a review, send them another email thanking them for the review. Add in a discount code to purchase more wine they loved so much.

There is a good chance that, during dinner, someone said, “This wine is fantastic. We have to order more.”

However, tomorrow comes, the next wine is opened, and they never follow through.

These triggers can help your members revitalize their lost intent.

Finally, savvy wineries can take this intel one step further with triggers and dynamic content.

Towards the end of the vintage, send out an email to all the members that downloaded a particular recipe, and offer to give them the first opportunity at the last of the wine which paired so well with the dish.

It not only shows that you care, but it also adds prestige.

Scale it by using dynamic content for different audience segments.

Someone loved turkey with Merlot? Others loved Pinot Noir with their salmon dinner?

You can please them all, you just have to use dynamic content. 

It’s moves like these that build brands.

Use Automation to Customize Website Experiences

There’s a lot you can do with email marketing automation alone, but why not add some magic to your customers’ website experiences?

You can implement personalization on your winery website with:

  • Smart suggestions – Use the member information to offer suggestions based on membership level and the last wines the member purchased
  • Conversational chatbots  – Have your conversational chatbot engage the member by asking if they tried wines in the last shipment. Based on their response, the chatbot can offer wine recommendations, pairing options, or even prompt them to book a visit to your winery.

Chatbots can help you create an engaging journey for your customers.

When you link the chatbot with the automation system, it can start friendly conversations with your members.

If a wine club member received an email asking them about their experience with wine and a recipe, the chatbot can ask them how they liked it when they log into your website again:

“Hi Drew, welcome back. Did you have a chance to try that recipe you downloaded last week?”

From here the conversation can direct the member to:

  • The review section
  • Another recipe recommendation
  • A link to purchase more of that wine

Chatbots are an excellent addition to your winery marketing strategy. They serve as salespeople, or simply guides on your customers’ journey towards connecting with your winery.

They can quite literally steer your customers where you want them to be; be that increasing their engagement, or increasing your DTC sales.

Amplifying Your Winery’s Story with Automation

Storytelling is one of the best ways to engage your customers.

Your new customers may be motivated with discounts, but on average, wine club memberships last 31 months.

You’ll have to take it up a notch in order to retain your existing customers.

Sometimes a discount will do, but most of the time, your customers want a story they can relate to.

Email is the perfect platform for introducing your existing customers to your winery as a brand.

Yes, they get wine from you, but we all know wine is more than a liquid.

It’s a story in a bottle.

Storytelling increases the perceived value of your wines, and there’s no platform other than email that can guarantee you reach 100% of your customers.

When done correctly, automation and triggers can reinforce your winery’s story, and even amplify it to facilitate customer engagement.

Your first step should be defining your story, and weaving the appropriate aspects into your automated touch points.

Again, you can personalize your winery’s story to fit the preferences of different customers.

In the tasting room, we do this intuitively.

You wouldn’t tell the same story to a couple visiting the winery on their honeymoon that you would tell to a group of guys on a golf weekend.

If you’re talking to the honeymooners, you might talk about the winery owners’ lifelong dream to open the winery. You would emphasize the passion and the love with which they’ve built the winery from the ground up.

If you’re talking to the golfers, you might highlight the prestige and lineage of the wine and the winemaker.

With the right story, both groups are equally likely to become members.

Just as you intuitively decide which aspects of a story to tell when talking to another person, so too should your winery’s automated communications.

Not getting the response you had hoped? Focus on another aspect of the story.

Getting a good response? Delve deeper into that story.

This is done by breaking your story down into chapters and sub-stories, and then delivering it at just the right time.

Deliver Chapters of Your Tale with Automation

You wouldn’t tell someone you just met every nitty-gritty detail about your life in the first conversation. You would give them some highlights. 

And then, as your relationship grows, you’d share more detailed memories.

Marketing intelligence and automation function similarly; they’ll help your winery foster a friendly relationship with your wine club members.

There is both science and art to triggering automation to fit not only the customer journey, but the relationship journey.

An engagement sequence after a person first joins your wine club is a perfect example.

When someone signs up to be a member, they buy into the winery experience and understand the winery’s broad story.

For most wineries, this is where the story ends. Their next touchpoint is the upcoming shipment email.

This is a huge mistake.

Why? Buyer’s remorse.

Imagine what happens when someone joins a wine club. They probably signed up on a vacation or wine tasting weekend. They were caught up in the magic of the tasting room.

But the following Monday, the magic wears off and reality sets in.

The trip was too expensive. They are already subscribed to too many clubs.

And was the wine really that special to warrant their decision?

You can intercept their buyer’s remorse by reinforcing their decision. Send them the next chapter of your story the week after they join.

Automating Your Welcome Emails and Reinforcing Your Wine Club Members’ Decisions

The welcome email should contain the next chapter of your winery’s story.

Wineries often choose some of the following stories:

  • Stories about farms and founding families
  • Stories about the founding of the winery
  • Stories about the region
  • Stories about the varietals

You could recount a tale of when the winery was founded, or offer your new members a biographic introduction to one of the long-time winery workers.

You could send the same story to everyone, or you could send the right stories to the right people.

Pay attention to the data obtained when the person signed up.

If you offer a checkbox where members can mark their interests on the sign-up form, you can personalize the email.

Add a Little Offline Magic to Your Welcome Emails

Take it one step further by sending a hand-written card from the tasting room director, or staff who signed the member up.

Personally welcome the member to your club.

Ideally, the card should come first, and the email should follow a day or two later.

Go Beyond the Quarterly Email: Continue the Conversation to Increase Wine Club Member Retention

People expect to be sold wine in your quarterly emails. That’s why they signed up.

However, you are selling more than wine.

You are selling your brand and forming a lifelong relationship.

Don’t settle for only sending regular shipment notifications.

Instead, use carefully crafted emails to expand on your winery’s story and engage your customers:

  • In the winter, give an update on the recent harvest, along with an interesting story about that particular vintage.
  • In the summer, give an update on the growing season, and recount an adventure the owner or head winemaker had.
  • When recommending wine pairings and recipes, recount your own experience pairing them. How did you feel? What did the pairing taste like?
  • Experiment with media such as images and videos. Interview your employees, and have them recount their experiences in a vineyard-to-table story.
  • Promote tastings and visits with anecdotes. You can even invite the customers who signed up during a tasting or a winery visit to share their experience with you. 

Just as each winery’s story is unique, so are its members.

The goal here is to nurture the relationship, which will indirectly increase sales.  

Use the information you have compiled about the member to send them a custom story.

Leverage past email interactions, winery visits, and social media engagements to deliver the right story at the right time.

Checklist: How to Get Started with Marketing Automation for Wineries

You don’t have to fully automate your marketing in one go.

In fact, I strongly caution against it.

It can be tempting to sign up for a generic email automation system with dozens of templates.

A successful automation strategy needs to amplify your wine brand’s unique story.

There is no one size fits all solution.

Generic automation solutions could easily undermine the hand-made, authentic image you have worked so hard to build.

Ideally, I would recommend working with a winery marketing agency such as Nimbletoad.

We can create a system tailored to your story and your winery. 

In the beginning, we create a blueprint by learning your story, take inventory of your current marketing efforts, and then we develop an action plan.

You can implement the action plan yourself, or hire us to implement it for you.

Step 1. Gather Your Winery’s Stories

Every marketing and automation solution you choose should fit your winery’s brand, not the other way around.

In the beginning, it’s especially important to gather your winery’s stories. Brainstorm and write them down. You can have your staff help you; especially if they’ve been with you for a long time.

I know, it’s very tempting to jump right into automating emails with generic messages like: “Hey, you forgot something in your cart!”

In fact, if you just did this, you’d be ahead of most wineries.

However, the time taken at the story-gathering phase will pay off tenfold in the future, and prevent your winery from becoming a garden-variety brand.

Instead, it will have your stories all over it; every sip of wine reminding members why they chose your winery over others.

Step 2. Develop Customer Personas

This is where personalization comes in.

You should develop personas based on your unique customer mix. Later on, you’ll use these personas to segment the list and customize the messaging.

You can create as many personas as you’d like, but I recommend starting with no more than three.

Gather basic information about your customers:

  • Demographic information (Location, age, gender, etc.)
  • Preferred varietals
  • Life-cycle stage (Are they a lead that hasn’t bought from you yet? Are they a returning customer? Are they a new wine club member?)
  • Engagement patterns (Which pages on your website do they browse the most? How often do they buy from you, and what do they buy? Which emails do they open? Which emails do they skip?)
  • Opt-in points (How did they join your wine club, or start ordering your wine? Where did they find you? What did convince them to become your customer?)

Step 3. Organize Your Winery’s Stories

Determine what to say, when to say it, and whom to say it to.

Going back to our honeymooners vs golfers example, decide which sub-story you’ll tell to each customer persona.

Golfers might be interested in the history of a vintage. Honeymooners might be interested in your winery love story.

Your mission is to determine which messages to deliver to each persona at each stage of their journey.

When starting out, I recommend concentrating on the main stages:

  • Prospective customer
  • New customer
  • Active customer
  • Inactive customer

Step 4. Create Emails for Each Stage of the Customer Journey [Email Templates for Wineries]

It’s important that you craft emails that go along with each of these main journey stages.

Each email should contain links and actions that won’t just improve your sales, but help you obtain insight and improve future communications.

Welcome Email Template

Your welcome email should contain:

  • The customer’s name (be as personable as possible)
  • A thank you from the winery’s founder that acknowledges the way the member signed up
  • A mention of your story
  • A teaser of what the membership includes
  • An invite to learn more or connect with your winery

Remember to send a handwritten card with your welcome email for maximum impact.

You should create and automate customized emails for:

  • New retail customers
  • New wine club members
  • New mailing list subscribers

It’s best to have a specific email for each customer persona so it speaks directly to them, instead of opting for a generic solution.

Make sure your welcome email is a great one, as the average open rate for a welcome email is 82%. Make it count!

New Wine Release Email Template

New wine release is an excellent opportunity to drum up some excitement.

Your wine release email should contain:

  • A personable greeting
  • A part of your story that explains how the new wine fits it
  • A link to purchase the wine
  • Optional: ideas for pairings

While you can send wine release notifications audience-wide, even to members who haven’t historically bought similar wine, it’s best to create one general email for everyone on your list (should they change their minds), and a hyper-targeted one speaking to ideal customers.

Private Flash Sale Email Template

If you plan on running a flash sale, make sure your email includes:

  • A personable greeting, acknowledging why they should be interested in the sale (e.g. they’ve bought similar wine in the past)
  • An excited tone of voice
  • The story behind the sale or the wine
  • A countdown timer to show the customers that it’s a time-limited offer

You can pair flash sales with seasonal events.

Perhaps someone’s been looking for the perfect gift for their mother or their spouse for Christmas, and your wine is just what the doctor ordered.

Discounted Wine Shipping Email Template

If you’ve noticed some members have been poking around their favorite wine pages on your website, it may be time to alert them to discounted shipping.

Structurally, your discounted wine shipping email should be similar to the flash sale email.

You can also remind members of wines similar to ones they’ve enjoyed in the past.

End-of-Vintage Sales

If your vintage has been flying off the shelves, create automation sequences connected to your sales software and your website that will remind members to get their bottle before it’s too late.

Include the story of that particular vintage and your winery in the end-of-vintage email.

You can even consider adding video that shows the entire journey of that vintage, as interactive emails get 300% higher click-through rates.

Customer Birthday or Wine Club Membership Anniversary Email Template

Celebrate your customer’s birthday by showing how much you care about them.:

  • Offer wine they’ve enjoyed in the past
  • Remind them of the recipes they’ve downloaded
  • Offer them a discount, or an exclusive experience

You can even help them with their dinner plans through a quick quiz. Ask them how they plan on celebrating and then direct them to the perfect recipes for every occasion; from family dinners to special evenings with their spouses.

The next time they log in, have your chatbot ask them how they liked the recipe.

Cart Abandonment

If a customer abandons their cart, start a conversation with them.

Create an email sequence that inquires about their experience, and why they chose to leave.

You can add links to pages that can help them find the right varietal, or prompt them to talk to your chatbot and find the right wine for their taste.

Again, customers rarely abandon their carts out of the blue. Your goal should be to understand what went wrong.

If you understand their previous engagement patterns (wine orders, website interactions), you’ll be able to create a sequence that will direct them to the right wine at the right time.

Winery Newsletter Email Template

Many wineries make the mistake of thinking about winery newsletters as email blasts sent to all wine club members without personalization.

Instead, use dynamic content to customize information for different segments.

For example, if you have Merlot and Chardonnay lovers, display the Merlot-related information to Merlot lovers first.

For Chardonnay lovers, tell them all about your process of creating wine just like the one they loved.

Other information not tailored to their interests can be mentioned later.

Customer Re-engagement

If you want to reengage your customers, you have to understand why they stopped engaging.

Common culprits are:

  • Lack of interest – Direct them to engaging winery storytelling, or encourage them to sample new wines that go perfectly with the recipes in your recipe book
  • Lack of customization – Wine club members love customizing their shipments
  • Prices – Offer them a discount on wine or shipping

Turn to data to understand what went wrong. Especially if a lot of customers are experiencing the same symptoms.

It’s the best way to create automation sequences that work for your winery.

Final Tip on Automation Sequences

Finally, one of my favorite tips for connecting these email sequences to your website is having your chatbot engage members as soon as they click through on the email link, reminding them of the offer, and perhaps suggesting a great recipe that goes with the wine.

Step 5. Connect Your Winery’s Customer Database to an Email Marketing Automation System

When you’ve outlined your story, created your customer personas, and written the most important emails, it’s time to find a system to fuel your automation.

Some of the most commonly used email marketing platforms for wineries are:


MailChimp is an email marketing platform that offers everything you need to get started with automation:

  • Automation
  • Segmentation
  • Behavioral analytics
  • Marketing customer relationship management

MailChimp offers a free plan with limited features. Multi-step automation workflows are included in the $14.99/month plan.


ActiveCampaign is another email marketing automation tool that can help you amplify your winery’s story.

Their features include:

  • Automation
  • Sales & CRM
  • Segmentation
  • Dynamic content
  • Predictive sending (machine learning)
  • Messaging through SMS and Facebook

ActiveCampaign plans start from $9/month, with automation included.


ConvertKit is one of the simplest email marketing automation tools.

They don’t offer advanced machine learning features like ActiveCampaign. Their features revolve around simple automation and segmentation.

ConvertKit plans start at $29/month for up to 1000 subscribers.

Step 6. Refine and Enhance Email Messages

It is easy to get caught up in the simplicity of marketing automation. “Set it and forget it” has its allure. 

However, messages change. Your customers change.

Marketing automation needs to run in tandem with your custom marketing.  If not, you run the risk of marketing disconnect. 

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.

They have just joined your wine club after tasting amazing wine at your winery.

When they arrive home from their vacation, they could…

A) Receive no word from you. Then, a week later, a stray cart abandonment email arrives.

Your systems haven’t synced up properly, and the new member received a generic cart abandonment email for all the members who haven’t purchased anything in the last period.

It’s a common mistake to segment new members with current members, throwing them in the club headfirst.

However, building a relationship with new members requires carefully crafted first-quarter email sequences. 

Half thought-out marketing automation can undermine the hard work you’ve done if you don’t implement it correctly. 

Successful automation programs amplify your personalized customer engagement.

The second scenario, one with a good automation strategy, sounds something like this…

B) After coming back home from the vacation, your customers receive a wonderful, personalized note from your tasting room, welcoming them to the club.

The next day, they receive a follow-up email with login instructions and a little story relevant to their visit.

How will that make them feel?

I’m betting they’ll feel pretty good about their decision to join their wine club.

Maybe they’ve joined many on their vacation, but yours is the one that makes them feel special from the very start.

The goal of email marketing automation is to continuously make your customers feel like a million bucks for being a part of your club.

So book a 15-minute discovery call. We can discuss how to take your email marketing tot he next level.

We’ll go over suggestions and recommendations for your winery, and make sure that your customers fall in love with being a part of your club.