Uncorking the secret to happy customers
In a beautiful tasting room overlooking a 60-acre estate, visitors sip the wines produced by the very fields of grapes they cast their gaze upon. And as they indulge their senses in the panorama that unfolds, they also learn about the grapes, the soil, the harvests, and especially the glorious effort that goes in to every varietal produced by Alexana Winery.
“In a perfect world, if you’re laying out a business model for selling wine, the best possible margins come from the direct-to-consumer model,” says Alexana’s Director of Sales Mark Bosko. “So, our tasting room, which is where we use Boxerbrand menu covers, has presented us with the best opportunity to sell directly to our consumers. Our guests are physically looking at the same vines they’re tasting, and depending on how much they want to learn, they can even watch the product being made through a fish-bowl window looking into our production facility.”
This hospitality, notes Bosko, is what separates Alexana Winery in the highly competitive field.
“One of our major opportunities is that we can control the user experience from the moment they walk in. We find that our guests just don’t buy into the wine, but they buy into the whole experience, from the way they’re greeted at the door, to our beautiful setting, and the way in which they’re treated by our staff who guide our guests through our wines,” Bosko says.
In this week’s Q&A with Recipe for Success @ Boxerbrand, Bosko shares more insights about the winery began by cardiologist from India who followed his heart to winemaking.
Q: Alexana Winery began with great soil and a vision.
Dr. Madaiah Revana, our founder, is a cardiologist originally from Bangalore, India. His family has been farming for generations, and when he came to the United States, he quickly became fascinated with Bordeaux’s first growths, and that led him to the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines of Napa Valley and then to Burgundy and the Pino Noirs of Oregon.
Dr. Revana loves experimentation, and he guided the plantings, which were done by soil types. It’s very complicated, and creates a lot of work, but the end result is we get to produce a wine based on a soil type.
Q: Soil is so important it’s incorporated into the wine tasting experience.
We find soil is one of the most impactful variables in what you taste and smell in a wine. Because we make wines in a high-end, boutique style, we’re trying to make a wine that expresses our place in Oregon. Fortunately, we’re on a property that has a lot of soil types— 18. It’s very unusual to have this many. Most wineries have closer to five.
We actually show our customers samples of our soil types and explain how it affects the product they’re tasting. One of my favorite things to do is to taste the same wines, side by side, from different years. The same varietal can have a different color and taste depending on the year and Mother Nature. It’s fascinating.
Q: How do you inspire excitement in your customers?
What separates us from other great wineries is that hospitality. We offer tours, and we go as far with it as our customers want. If they’re really interested, we have an educated team lead them through the process to the point that customers can watch as we make our product. There’s so much seasonality to wine making, unlike making liquor or beer. We harvest in the fall and we pick and make what we get. But we believe so strongly in our product that we have full transparency, and our customers love it.
Q: How do you remain consistent with your product?
We embrace vintage variation. When you’re dealing with Mother Nature and an agricultural business, you work with what you get.
Pino Noir is our region’s namesake varietal. Our style isn’t to manipulate things like you would manipulate a soft drink or liquor. There are characteristics that follow through each year, but each year is different in itself.
What we consistently offer our clients is a high-end wine and total satisfaction with their experience. Our price points are higher than a supermarket, with a range of $30 to $125 a bottle, and we ensure that our customers understand everything that went into making that product.
Q: Are there any wine trends affecting business?
Every year at this time, Silicon Valley Bank in Napa does a state-of-the-industry report. I’m happy to say our region, Oregon, and our Pino Noir, has been trending up for the last 10 years.
With all the different generations of wine consumers, from Baby Boomers to Millennials are starting now to get into wine … we’re making a product that people are interested in, and it’s growing.
Q: How did you personally get into wine making?
I went to college in Rhode Island to study textiles and fashion merchandising, and fell in love with wine while I was living in New England. I’ve always been a hands-on learner and decided to come to Oregon for a couple of months during harvest time to study the process. I loved it so much I changed careers. I’ve been working in this capacity for five years. The way we make wines, which is 100-percent sustainable, and our transparency, has been a fantastic experience. And working with our customers, who are always happy, is just great. — Alexana Winery uses Boxerbrand menu covers in its tasting room. Thank you!