Here is an important article from Steve Heimoff for small production wineries to consider: http://www.steveheimoff.com/index.php/2011/05/26/dtc-sales-help-wineries-rebound-study-suggests/
My comments were:
Great conversation folks. It seems to me that a balanced channels approach makes the most sense, including distribution, retail and DTC. Having a strong DTC marketing program is not optional for small producers that must move product and build their brand, and as such I agree with Steve’s comments about DTC margins. Only a few cultish and well established wineries here in Oregon can survive selling FOB and wholesale only. That said, growing DTC revenue is a slow burn and requires advance planning and creativity, which many small wineries have yet to do.