The wine velocity sweet spot

Right now, today, we have the technology to put self-driving cars into the world that are safe and reliable.


The technology is there to have fully self-driving cars all over every city in the world. The problem is they max out at two miles per hour.

Would you hop in a self-driving car that goes slower than you can walk? Conversely, would you hop into a self-driving car that bursts ahead at 100mph right out of the gate? The answer is no to both (maybe a trial run on the slow one, but boredom would set in quickly). The speed in which self-driving cars become viable as an idea consumers will jump on is in the 30-50mph range.

Not too slow, not too fast. Just right.

When a great product, idea, or invention hits the market the velocity sweet spot has to be discussed.

So when it comes to wine, every brand and every UPC needs to find its own velocity sweet spot in its own marketplace. That point in which sales flow occurs between inventory, delivery, sales, and profitability for all involved.

Example one: It does little good for a retailer to bring in one hundred cases of wine to sell for three dollars a bottle when it’s easier and more profitable (factoring in labor and delivery costs) to sell thirty-three cases of wine at nine dollars a bottle. Yet time and time again a race to the bottom on price is retail’s chosen path (hint: you don’t want to win that race).

Example two: a wholesaler needs to be careful about representing affordable wines that can’t guarantee year-round availability. It does no good to place it by the glass at five restaurants knowing it will be out of stock half the year. It should instead be sold to only three restaurants that get guaranteed availability all year in exchange for a guarantee to permanence on the wine list.

Example three: Limited, high end, special wines are best sold in one drop with one opportunity for retailers and restaurants to purchase. And smart retailers should convey that to their customers (“We are getting our six bottles for the year of Chateau Special. First come, first served on phone orders.”) The ideal wine velocity of such wines is lightning fast. This is the bullet train of the wine world. The successful 100mph self-driving car.

Think about the ideal wine sales velocity. What speed is the right speed for each wine?

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