98: Selling Wine in Non-Traditional Channels

In 1972 Paul Kalemkiarian’s father purchased a liquor store and began featuring two of his top wine picks each month. Customers, appreciative of the direction in wine selection, would ask to have wine shipped to them and the Wine of the Month Club was born. The intent of the club remains the same, to help customers select a good wine for the value, not to sell any wine. After sampling over 100,000 wines, Paul knows you need to taste a wine to know if it is good.

Having a sustainable business means being able to go to market through different routes so consumers can buy at varying price points. Paul reflects on shipping challenges from reporting to taxes; misconceptions about the quality of wine coming from the bulk market; and the slow road to pivot from on premise sales to online post COVID.

As Paul says, “Wine is an ethereal fruit, expressive of where it is grown unlike any other fruit,” and the industry can help consumers experience wine in a new way.


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