From Vine to Virtual: Dan Petroski’s Winemaking Adventure in the Digital Age
The Global Wine Market
According to the Acumen Research and Consulting report (Oct 2022), “Wine Market Analysis Report and Region Forecast, 2022-2030“, the global wine market was valued at USD 489.3 billion in 2021. According to estimates, the market will grow by USD 825.5 billion by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate of 6.1%. But still, a seemingly strong industry has its challenges.
From climate change to a slowing economy, political unrest to an aging wine consumer,shortages in supply chains, the wine industry encounters numerous challenges. Through these obstacles, one man is driving through and paving his way.
Awarded “Drinks Innovator of the Year” (2002) by Food and Wine Magazine, Dan Petroski pushes the boundaries of wine marketing. Byutilising social media platforms to exploit technological innovations, he has established himself as one of the hottest winemakers today.
About Massican Wines
Napa Valley’s only white wine winery, Massican Wines, was founded by Petroski in 2009. The Massican name honours his great-grandparent’s heritage in Italy, where they grew up in the foothills of the Monte Massico mountain range north of Naples.
Massican produces Mediterranean-inspired white wines in the valley of Cabernets, using Italian grape varieties from organic and sustainably farmed grapes such as Chardonnay, Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, Greco, Pinot Blanco, and more.
Today Massican produces six white wines from organic and sustainably farmed grapes, including a unique bottle for Whole Foods Market in America, and is currently collaborating with other winemaking friends to make their versions of a Massican wine in the quintessential Mediterranean wine style.
Each wine has a distinct taste, but as the SF Chronicle describes, “yet they all, somehow, taste like Massican. Like paintings in a series, cast from the same colour palette yet individual, the pieces cohere.”
Fostering a community of the next generation of wine consumers
In what is traditionally a slow industry to embrace change, the need to pivot is ever-increasing to maintain your audience and grab market share. Whilst many are worried about onboarding the future of wine drinkers, trying to adapt to the digital market was hard for some wineries, but a refreshing platform for people like Petroski, who, during Covid, participated in over 170 virtual wine tastings, one-on-one tastings, created an NFT project with Cuvee Collective, launched his own NFT artist series wine label in June 2023, launched a lifestyle magazine, created an App for white wine emojis and produced a cookbook titled, ‘A Mediterranean Dinner Party.’ More recently, utilising TikTok’s social media engagement, he produced a video to sell out his vintage Sauvignon Blanc – not bad for a one-man band.
“One thing I hope we’ve learned through the pandemic
is that there is a risk in focusing too much on any one channel,”
Rob McMillan, EVP & Founder, Wine Division, Silicon Valley Bank.
Petroski increased his digital footprint post-covid by stepping into the Web3 platform of the metaverse. In collaboration with UK food and drink creative agency Merry Galelli, Petroski created a virtual bar called “Bar Massican,” where he hopes to transport current and new customers to European bars of the past whilst sipping a glass of Massican wine and listening to the latest sounds from worldwide artists.
Scheduled to launch in 2024, Petroski believes that by creating a unique virtual experience, Massican will not only reinforce its brand but says it “has the potential to sell more wine in the metaverse in 2030 than IRL” (in real life). Although many people have yet to embrace this innovative technology, Petroski has laid the groundwork when the hypebecomes a reality.
“While some businesses await an increase in consumer interest, those who adopt a forward-thinking strategy and act promptly can secure a competitive advantage and solidify their presence in this burgeoning virtual environment.”
Massican Wines sell directly through its website, offering e-commerce payments through his wine sales partner, Commerce7, and Stripe as payment provider, including support for Apple Pay and Google Pay as payment methods. When Dan launches Bar Massican in the Metaverse in 2024, he will accept cryptocurrency purchases for everything from wine to Massican-branded cappuccino cups for your avatars.
More retailers are accepting cryptocurrency as an additional offering to customers to cater to today’s competitive retail landscape. Accepting cryptocurrency, in addition to traditional payment methods, signals innovation and adaptability that may help set a retailer apart from the crowded marketplace that Petroski works within.
“The promise of Web3, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies came out with a bang at the start of the pandemic and left with a whimper by the end of it. However, what was left behind and what I hope will be its legacy will be the digital wallet – your identity and currency to interact behind paywalls (no more passwords!) and purchase products via e-commerce. It should easily be the next generation’s “easy pass” to all things online.”
– Dan Petroski
Having started with a small production of 400 cases, Petroski increased this to 85,000 bottles per year. With sales at 25% direct-to-consumer (DTC) and 75% wholesale in only 14 markets in America, Petroski hopes to increase his market share and reach and expand grape varieties in his portfolio. His highlights in the last year were selling out of wine in 10 months and growing his business by 40%.
Petroski hopes to increase his growth by another 25 percent this year with new vineyard sources and by collaborating with other winemaking friends in allowing them to make their versions of a Massican Wine. He pays for the wine, crush fee, corks, label, and glass, allowing his brand to grow without technically doing the work. Although the margins are low, Petroski hopes that scaling his production will fuel continued experimentation and the ability to reach new markets.
Dan Petroski is an award-winning winemaker leveraging every digital marketing touchpoint to cater to a newer, younger, more engaged market that has never been without smartphone technology. His passion for exploring all creative avenues and utilising innovative technology will undoubtedly continue to break new ground in an industry slow to embrace change.
Bernadette’s diverse work experience has given her the opportunity to observe the different approaches to business and problem-solving, allowing her to develop a unique perspective on how to build relationships and solve problems. Her resourcefulness and willingness to think outside of the box have been invaluable assets in her ability to find creative solutions to complex problems.
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