Wine marketers launch virtual 'marketing co-op'

Wine Industry Network aims to connect industry suppliers with customers

[caption id="attachment_15206" align="alignleft" width="202" caption="George Christie | Elizabeth Slater"][/caption]

HEALDSBURG – Two wine marketing consultants are launching a business-to-business Internet site they believe will give wineries, winegrape growers, suppliers and service providers a more informative, targeted virtual venue for finding each other.

George Christie of Christie Wine Consultants in Healdsburg and Elizabeth Slater of In Short Marketing in Windsor plan to launch Wine Industry Network on Oct. 5 with a starting database of information on about 700 "traditional" suppliers to the industry, such as vendors for bottles, barrels, corks, grapes, etc. In addition to details on the estimated 1,000 such suppliers in North America, they want to include service providers such as attorneys, associations and educational institutions.

"We think of this as more of a marketplace versus a directory," said Mr. Christie, president of the venture. "A directory is where you get a phone number or a name. We want to drive leads to members."

They call this a "marketing cooperative" in which the suppliers are "members," paying for market reach – $35 a month for one region or $90 monthly for the continent – rather than per transaction to attract small suppliers with slim margins. Trade associations and training institutions would have no-cost memberships.

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