On Monday I ran a bewildering story about a winery, Stolpman Vineyards, that didn't seem to want its wines promoted at Frank's Wine in Wilmington, Delaware.
It turns out that there was a good reason, one that Peter Stolpman didn't disclose when complaining in a comment that I didn't contact him for the original post.
Stolpman is actually visiting a competing Wilmington wine shop about 1/4 mile away this coming Sunday to promote his wines -- which, though on sale, appear to be more expensive than at Frank's.
Check out this portion of an email newsletter from Moore Brothers Wine Company:
I don't care who Stolpman chooses to sell its wine through, in Delaware or anywhere. If Stolpman can sell wine for a higher price at Moore Brothers, more power to them. Wine drinkers might like to buy them cheaper, but Stolpman doesn't have to assist in that.
I asked Peter Stolpman to explain by email and this is what he told me:
I spoke to a different winery owner by email yesterday who says this happens all the time. Wineries insist on keeping certain prices, and a retailer sells below those prices, and the winery complains. So maybe it's business as usual. I don't know if most consumers are aware that this business-as-usual goes on, though: producers don't want you saving money on their product."I am indeed doing a tasting at Moore Brothers in Delaware this Sunday. Mr. Moore was recently out with me touring the vineyard, barrel tasting, and shooting video for their website to promote the event and my wines.As you read, my rep intended to do an in-store tasting with Frank the weekend prior to my scheduled tasting, furthering my brand across both stores' customer base. Then Frank blasted promo prices that undercut every retailer in the country, I assume including Moore Brothers' planned promotion for my visit. This obviously created an uncomfortable situation for my rep, after all, I'm on my way to do a tasting, Moore Bros has already taken a research trip to see and document my operation, and now there's a retailer down the street advertising prices lower than everyone else in the country. My rep was not happy to be caught in the middle of this, nor was I. Extremely bad timing.So yes, the situation was exacerbated by my pending visit."
I want to add this.
Peter Stolpman wrote this as a comment on my Monday post:
"Frank definitely had a nice marketing bone thrown his way with receipt of the email from an upset distributor rep. It's certainly an effective sales pitch: 'priced so low, I got the producer pissed at me'."The implication is that Frank was somehow exaggerating. But it turned out to be an honest sales pitch, and Frank used it to promote Stolpman's wines without apparently knowing that Stolpman was going to be personally visiting his competitor, but not him, the following week.
Frank was, according to Stolpman's email to me, "advertising prices lower than everyone else in the country." Is that a bad thing? You tell me.