The Long Game: Strategies for Building DTC Business Outside of Oregon
Think direct-to-consumer sales are limited exclusively to your tasting room and wine club? Think again! Join a panel of industry veterans for a discussion about thinking outside the box to grow your direct to consumer business. The panel will explore strategies for expanding your DTC business outside the state through online sales, distributor relationships, insights from wine club metrics, and other often overlooked approaches for capturing new business.
Julia Bandy began her career in hospitality as many before her, entrenched in the allure of the restaurant business. At an early age she attended the New England Culinary Institute in Burlington, VT, igniting her love of wine. This sent her around the country cooking, working as a sommelier and wine buyer, and managing fine dining restaurants. Today, Julia’s role at Soter Vineyards is to shape the direction and development of its hospitality programs through all direct sales channels. She works with a small but impactful team to ensure Soter’s values of enlightened hospitality and sustainable business practices are reflected in every single guest experience.
Additionally, Julia serves as an advisory board member for the non-profit organization Assemblage, which advocates for the advancement, education, and empowerment of women and diverse communities in the wine industry. She consults on wine programming with Portland event space The Nightwood Society, and is presently a Diploma candidate with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.
Chris Cullina is an 18-year veteran of the Oregon wine industry. In 2018, Chris launched Transtulit, a strategic consulting business that works with a wide range of Willamette Valley wineries on long term strategic planning, portfolio development, brand marketing, and improvements in the U.S. wholesale and direct-to-consumer channels. Prior to Transtulit, Chris headed up sales and marketing for Argyle Winery for 16 years, overseeing all of Argyle’s brand development, its commercial direction in the U.S. wholesale market, and its direct-to-consumer business channels in Dundee, Oregon.
Chris has Washington, D.C., roots, graduating from Catholic University in 1990. He spent 12 years in the food and wine industry in Washington, D.C., as proprietor of a restaurant and retail wine business before heading to the Pacific Northwest.
Liz Mercer always knew her native Napa Valley would be her forever home. She spent eight years in the midwest (Detroit), before coming home to roost. With a unique background including a degree in finance and business management and 18 years’ experience in direct to consumer experience marketing, Liz balances the multiple needs of the business with guest needs. Her career includes time with Diageo and Pernod Ricard, followed by nearly six years with Gallo and a stint with a small family-owned luxury brand. Liz is now the general manager of Bluxome Street Winery, an urban winery located in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco. She can relate to the challenges faced by large, publicly traded wineries, corporate family owned wineries, and smaller family owned brands. That breadth of experience has allowed Liz to see how different strategies work for different brands and implement the right solution. She is also an active contributor and coach for the WISE Academy, which seeks to grow the skills of DTC professionals and managers at all levels across the country.
Mike Osborn has been a pioneer in online wine retailing since founding eVineyard in Portland in 1998. Mike now leads merchandising for San Francisco-based Wine.com and manages its key industry relationships. Wine.com revenues have surpassed $140 million, growing annually 15 to 20 percent per year for several years. Wine.com has created the better way to buy wine, enabling customers to eliminate the guesswork and start buying wine with confidence. The company’s multi-node fulfillment and licensing serves 90% of the U.S. population and 96% of the wine market, providing its customers access to the world’s largest wine selection—an offering impossible to replicate in brick and mortar stores.
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