Case Study: Van Ruiten Family Winery

Applying Proven Sales and Marketing Techniques to Improve Wine Sales

Van Ruiten Family Winery is a family owned winery in the Lodi appellation. A grower for 50 years selling to large wineries like Mondavi and Gallo, the Van Ruiten Family expanded in 1999, constructing their tasting room and diversifying into bulk wine sales, custom crush facilities and services to other wineries, in addition to wine sales under their own labels.

The winery was experiencing intense competition in California, compounded by a lack of attention from its biggest distributor on its line of Van Ruiten Family Winery brand. While the winery intended to expand distribution of Van Ruiten wines on the East Coast in 2008, it was concerned that its existing plans would not achieve the desired sales results.

Van Ruiten needed a comprehensive plan to improve its overall business and increase case sales of Van Ruiten Family wines to wholesale and retail accounts. The winery needed new avenues for growth, and it needed to insure that its product and sales plans would achieve its objectives.


As part of its overall initiative to increase wine sales, Van Ruiten Family Winery engaged WineCircle Consulting to develop a comprehensive sales plan, which included the following elements: california-wine-sales-van-ruiten

On-site business review meetings to review in detail:
- Product positioning/value proposition
- Competitive products and positioning
- Pricing and margin models
- Current and future distribution plans
- Current sales and marketing strategy and tactics

Recommended sales and marketing strategy for the distribution and sale of Van Ruiten Family wines
- Product value proposition
- Varietal production strategy
- Channel margin and pricing
- Sales presentation
- Complete Channel plan including which channels and why, and recommended timelines


With five months of consulting and channel sales support and by implementing WineCircle’s proven techniques into their sales and marketing strategy, Van Ruiten Family Winery was able to increase their wine sales by more than 25% in 2008, using a combination of additional labels and additional depth in key varietals. They were able to increase sales through their tasting room, increase their distribution through grocery chains in California, more than doubling the number of doors carrying their wine. Van Ruiten also added new distribution across the United States, which will be a platform for continued growth.