Vindinista, west London
In a nutshell: Tap into your romantic side and unleash your creative writing skills by wrapping up bottles of wine and tagging them with descriptions as if they were looking for their match on a blind date.
Tell us more …
“I’d like to claim it was an original idea but I took inspiration from two different sources. One was Sam and Charlie who used to own Vino Vero [in Leigh-on-Sea]. They ran a lucky dip and wrapped up bottles so customers would buy a wine not knowing what it was. I really liked that idea and was thinking how it would work for us. Then I saw a bookshop doing “blind date with a book”. They were wrapping up books in brown paper and writing a little description on the front, so I thought I’d marry the two together.”
How did you decide which bottles to include in the promotion?
“We did this in January, and we never have heaps of wine left over from Christmas. We might have two bottles of this and three bottles of that. So we took the wines we would have put in the sale but we also included some wines that we wanted people to try.
“At the time we weren’t doing drinking in, and without that often people will play it safe and stick to regions they know or wines they are familiar with, so we thought this was a good way of getting them to try something new.
“We wrapped them up and wrote fun descriptions as if you were going on a date. We offered two options, at £12 and £15, a price band that falls within the average spend per bottle for our shop. I think if you go higher, people feel they are taking more of a risk.”
Did you have any customers who were disappointed with their “date”?
“No. There was one person who came in and said ‘as long as it’s not Chianti’, so I steered him away from a particular bottle. People were very open-minded and some customers got an absolute bargain – like a £25 wine for £15. Obviously we got some really positive responses to that because it was more than they would normally spend. Also it’s a reality check that if you do spend that much money, you will get a fabulous wine.”
There were quite saucy descriptions of wine sashaying on the tongue and slipping into a decanter. Did you have to prep by reading 50 Shades?
“I found I could naturally write that way! It caught people’s imaginations and also customers bought them as presents. It was a lot of fun, but I hand wrote every single label, so one thing I learnt was next time I will probably type them out.”
So there will be a second date?
“I am planning another one, but you wouldn’t want to do it too many times as people will get bored with it and there are certain times of the year where I wouldn’t want to take a hit on the margin. January was a good time for us because it got people through the door. I used the time we were closed after Christmas to prepare and we put it out in our newsletter and on Instagram. The response was greater than we anticipated. We sold 20 at £12 and 23 at £15.”
Paola wins a WBC gift box containing some premium drinks and a box of chocolates.
Tell us about a bright idea that’s worked for you and you too could win a prize. Email firstname.lastname@example.org