I live on the North Fork of Long Island, 70 miles east of New York City. Less than a half mile from my home is a vineyard. The first commercial vineyard in North Fork was planted in Cutchogue in 1973 and now there are 29 vineyards. If you’re not familiar with the North Fork of Long Island you should know it is not a very big place.
All told, there are more than 60 licensed wine producers on Long Island and more than 40 are open to the public for tastings.
And the public likes to taste: there were 500,000 visitors in 2000, 940,000 in 2003 and in 2013, 1.3 million visitors came to Long Island Wine Country.
That is some pretty stiff competition for visitors’ time and money. How do these vineyards set themselves apart? There is the wine, of course. Some vineyards have sparkling wines and some have dessert wines but for the most part, Long Island Wine Country is a limited geographic area and does not offer a tremendous variety of wine.
I think it is safe to say that out of 1.3 million visitors, most of them are not wine experts flocking to taste wine in Long Island Wine Country. Perhaps they are wine novices. So, if you have a lot of competition, you produce basically the same type of product and you have a fairly large potential customer base how do you get people to choose you?
To set your product and services apart from others in the area, tell your story. Stories speak to people.
As a local, I think “winos” are a pain in the neck. The traffic, the tour buses, the limos, not to mention the potential for death and destruction by those who spend the day tasting — or drinking — and think they are fine to drive back to the city make vineyard visits unappealing to a lot of area residents.
However, there is one vineyard that I am dying to visit, called One Woman Wines. Why? The story. I love the story.
According to an article on Snooth, a wine aficionado website, “there’s a lot of buzz surrounding One Woman Wines. For one thing, the wines are excellent.”
But they also have a story behind them that customers can relate to.
“One Woman Wines isn’t a winery hobby of some Wall Street executive or large conglomerate bank firm. One Woman Wines is the result of one woman’s passion, and her family, that makes it all possible.”
According to the article, Claudia Purita grew up on her family’s farm in Calabria, Italy, where she learned how to grow vegetables and wine grapes, and raised small animals. Although the groundwork was laid for her early on to become a winemaker, “it wasn’t until much later in life that she returned to this passion. A little over ten years ago, the first vines were planted for One Woman Wines, with 2007 being its first vintage.”
Of course, there are lots of other vineyards with all kinds of different stories. Dream chasers. Corporate big wigs who kicked Wall Street to the curb. Prodigal sons returning to take over the family vineyard after rejecting it for years to travel the world. All kinds of stories resonate with and entice others, but the one that speaks to me is the One Woman Wines story.
Everyone has one
O&P practices are like Long Island vineyards. They have lots of competition. They all sell the same kinds of products. Some of them may specialize in certain types of devices. Each and every one of them has a story.
Do you have a story? Of course you do. Do you tell it? Is it on your website? Do you share it? Maybe you think you don’t have one because your great-great-great grandmother did not sew corsets by hand or your great uncle didn’t invent a wooden toe that articulated. That does not matter. Even if you consider your story uneventful, you may be surprised how many potential customers it could resonate with.
You have a story. Figure out what it is, write it up — or, if you are uncomfortable writing it yourself, get someone to write it for you — and share it.