Well, wineries, it’s that time of year again and the countdown is on. So what are you doing for Mother’s Day? ANOTHER wine and cheese event in the ol’ tasting room? How innovative. And for direct sales? Nothing yet, eh? Planning on slapping the words “Mother’s Day” on a regular bottle special and sending something out to your mailing list about a week before the big day? Hm. How’d that work out last year?

Mama Fratelli for Mother's Day

Mama Fratelli loves Mother's Day.

All of this snark is coming from a place of love, wineries. It’s time to get creative if you want to start making money off of these mini-holidays. Take some time to look at what you have planned and incorporate your own genius – or just use some of the ideas below.


If you’ve got a tasting room, I’m praying that you’re doing SOMETHING for the holiday. Instead of the wine and cheese event that everybody whips out when they don’t know what else to do, think a bit outside the box. What is going to make a family get in the car and head out to your tasting room? And how can you execute it on a budget? Some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Pamper ’em. Try hiring a masseuse for a few hours – have them set up a table and offer 15 minute mommy massages as a part of your event. You can also go nuts and offer manicures, but be sure to do so far enough away from the tasting room so that library Cab of yours doesn’t smell like Opi & nail polish remover.
  • Set up playtime for kids. Make it easy for families to attend by incorporating a supervised project for children as a part of the event. Mom and Dad can enjoy the tasting while Junior and Little Missy can create pictures, cork necklaces or the illustrious paper-plate bean-shakers that they can give to mom as a present when the tasting is over. Feel free to be creative and incorporate your branding into the project.
  • Take a hike. If your event is grown-ups only, and if you have the land, make it an adventurous escape. Set up a tasting in a romantic spot in the vineyard and give a guided tour to and from the tasting location. Make it special using your winery’s best features – do you have an amazing spot to view the sunset? On-site crush facilities? A little clearing in the woods or picnic tables in the vineyard? Use it. Feel free to make it a family event with extra supervision and an outside activity for the kids during the tasting.
  • Have a mom at the winery? Let the matriarch lead the tasting. Feel free to put family first – this can be your own celebration that you are inviting your valued customers to attend. If marketed right, there’s an element of “celebrity” that will appeal to some of your mailing list – just don’t let your heads get too big.
  • Look to the future. By the time you have your Mother’s Day event, know what you are doing for Father’s Day – or at least have an idea. If you can provide a wonderful and unique experience for Mom, odds are that Dad would be interested in coming back if you have something to offer him for his special day.  Depending on his or her situation, almost every guest at your event is a potential repeat for Father’s Day, so you best put it in their heads early.


Throwing your white wines in a three-pack and calling it a Mother’s Day special a week before the big day is not the way to take advantage of this holiday for your direct sales. Odds are that the consumers of your direct sale items for Mother’s Day may not be the same people that would attend your event (if you have one), so take advantage of this by creating a DIY Mother’s Day kit for home. All you need to do is to pick some themes and price ranges. Whatever you do, do it now. Get it up on your website immediately.

  • Understand your direct sales consumer. I’m going to assume that any Mother’s Day special/gift item will be up on your website (because it should be if you want to make money). Yes, you’ll be blasting this out to your mailing list and wine club, but understand that if you want to get new customers out of this, it will be people searching online for Mother’s Day wine gifts. Be sure that you use appropriate key words (for SEO) when you are creating the product pages and publish it asap. Also, the people doing online searches for mother’s day gifts may skew younger – hello millennials. Yes, there are plenty of us with kids, but there are TONS of us with mothers – we all need to buy them gifts and will most likely look to the web at some point, if not first. Keep this in mind when you are putting together your kits.
  • Know your competition. No, I’m not talking about neighboring wineries, people. The big competition on Mother’s Day is flowers. Think about this when you are choosing your pricing and marketing strategies. People won’t even blink at spending $100 and up on a beautiful bouquet of flowers for mom – it’s the ultimate go-to long-distance Mother’s Day gift. This is your competition. You can put together a fabulous package for this price (and lower) no matter what the price points of your wines are. Make sure people know this. Make sure that long distance sons and daughters realize that they have a choice between flowers and wine for Mom this year – and make sure they know why your wine package is the right choice.
  • Talk to the moms. If you’ve got moms on board in your staff, reach out to them to see what their ideal DIY Mother’s Day Kit would include.
  • Go outside your own merchandise. Yes, you could put together the same tired gift basket of wine, glasses and corkscrews, but that doesn’t give a whole lot of reasons to buy your particular package, does it? You’ve got a resale license, so USE IT! Grab a wholesale lot of manicure kits, spa slippers, DVDs, gift cards, decor items, etc. and incorporate these into your theme. If your budget is tight, shop first and create your theme around the items that fit your budget.
  • Don’t be afraid to go novelty. Remember these orders will be gifts, which means that people want to say something with them. Making people laugh is a big part of gift-giving, particularly in my family. Don’t be afraid to embrace a novelty approach. If I were a winery, the first Mother’s Day Gift item I would put together would be the Mama Fratelli Gift Basket. (If you don’t know who Mama Fratelli is, go watch Goonies immediately.) I would include a black beret and some fake pearls, as well as perhaps a CD single from the band, The Fratellis. If I had Italian varietals in my wines, I would include those in the basket (remember Zin = Primitivo), or if not, I would find the best wines that fit with her thematically. Find something unique, have fun, be creative.
  • Get the word out. If you do have some creative product packages for your direct sales, find a few ways to tell the world. Contact the local paper, radio shows, the local news – if it’s touching/unique/funny/creative enough, you may get some much needed coverage.

There are many more ways to get the most out of your event and direct sales this Mother’s Day, so grab your team, get thinking, and get put ingenious plans into motion soon to get the best return.

For those wineries that DO put the work in, I invite you to email me at leah@millennier.com with your new, improved, unique and creative plans/press releases/invites/product links, etc. and I will post as many of your Mother’s Day marketing ideas as I can (most likely the week before Mother’s Day, depending on the response). Be sure to include the links to purchase/attend so I can post them.  If your winery is putting in the work on this, I would love to support you.

Now get to work and go be a genius!