Over time, I have endeavoured to join the mailing lists of many favourite local wine producers. The opportunity to have access to good wine at excellent prices and to build a relationship with the producer is of quite some personal appeal. Those who do it well, in my view, include Rockford, Wendouree, Bowen Estate and Yeringberg. There is a second group who provide interesting and personal newsletters and very fair, rather than perhaps compelling, pricing or access where supply is limited. In that category, I include producers such as Mount Mary and Wantirna Estate.
And then there is the seldomnly spoken of third group. The winery where a routine stroll down the aisles of a major retailer might reveal a lower shelf price than that available to their mailing list customers. Others may disagree, but I have found wineries I like, such as Yarra Yering and Balgownie can sometimes fall into this category. For some, this may only need to happen once or twice to disengage a little.
The logic of not favouring one’s own mailing list has always rather escaped me. While it is important to weigh the relative importance of distribution methods and the desire of a wholesaler/retailer not to be undercut, there is a certain magic (and profit, I expect) in the relationship that can exist directly between winery and buyer and I imagine a fair balance can be struck. Particularly so, given that the mailing list customer is perhaps so sufficiently engaged and inclined that they have sought to be such a customer in the first place.