This report contains research on the Tarara Winery, located in Leesburg, Virginia. Aspects dealt with include the history of the winery, its overall strategies including an overview of the products offered, the market it principally serves and its differentiation strategy.
History. Nix-Gomez (July 5, 2012) recounted – in a report of a visit to the winery – that the Tarara Winery was founded in 1989 by Whitie and Margaret Hubert, on an estate of near 500 acres surrounding Shadow Lake and bordered by the Potomac River near to Leesburg. According to the resident winemaker Jordan Harris, interviewed by Conway (n.d.) for the Ashburn Patch, the winery has for those 21 years of existence concentrated on developing their vineyard and the varietals (single grape wines) that they find most successful. However, Harris claims that their philosophy is changing and that the winery is moving over to creating blended wines sourced from grapes grown in the local vineyards.
Strategy. The Tarara Winery strategy is heavily-orientated towards brand loyalty. They also emphasize that their products are all Virginia-based and locally sourced. As Harris stated in the Conway interview: “For all of our reds we use 100 percent Virginia oak. The food in our store is all from South Street Under in Leesburg. Our breads all come from there as well. All of our cheeses are locally-sourced”. They now use screw-top bottles for all their wines. Although this may surprise those who associate the use of corks as synonymous with quality, according to Jordan Harris that is no longer the case. In an interview with Dezel (Feb 2010), Harris explained that the use of screw-tops ensures greater consistency of quality with age in comparison with corks, and that using screw-tops is not new, just that their use is not yet widespread.
Product Overview. As mentioned earlier, the Tarara Winery produces only wines sourced from Virginia-grown grapes. According to the winery’s own website, their portfolio of wines is based on what they call “terroir-driven wines”. An article entitled “Terroir: What Does it mean?” on the wine lovers page website describes terroir as “the taste of the soil”. The winery selects for their portfolio wines that are grown in local soil types (their own and other vineyards) that add beneficial characteristics to the character of those wines. The portfolio includes red, white and rosé wines, most moderately-priced and all of relatively recent vintage. The “Our Wines” section of the Tarara Vinery website lists their current range under Varietals and Blends, with further sub-lists under the headings: Vineyard Designates, Commonwealth Collection and Vine Club Wines. In terms of retail price per bottle, the main range of wines cost from $15 to $23, and the Vineyard Designate range currently features only two (both white wines) priced at $35. The wines in the Commonwealth Collection (at present just three reds offered) are priced at $50 per bottle. Lastly, they offer wines in their Vine Club Collection (see more on the Vine Club later in this report). These wines are sold – as the name suggests – in a series of collections of 12 bottles at $450 per case. Those collections encompass wines from 2008 to 2011.
Market Served. According to their website, Tarara Winery has an extensive mail order customer base, both retail and trade (restaurants and hotels, etc). Also, the website includes a “Where To Buy” section, which allows visitors to the site to locate their nearest restaurants and/or retailers. In addition to the mail order operation, the Tarara Winery markets itself in other ways. For visitors to the winery they offer tastings (basic, and premier grade at appropriate costs), and can arrange group tasting events for groups of up to 100 persons, at a charge of $35 per person, which includes one bottle of wine per head. They also have a gift shop where various gifts and gift certificates can be purchased. Thus, in essence, their target market is spread across visitors to the winery and their mail order customers, which include members of the public, trade and wholesale customers.
Differentiation Strategy. What sets the Tarara Winery apart from others in the field are two elements of their strategy. The first is their Vine Club, which is essentially a loyalty group. Members can opt for different grades of membership (at different fees) receiving three bottles of wine per quarter. Additionally, Vine Club members benefit from preferential prices for Tarara wines, quarterly newsletters, free tastings, and other benefits including complimentary tickets to the Tarara’s Summer Concerts. These concerts are the second element of the vinery’s strategy where they score over other wineries. Between the beginning of June and the end of September each year, the Tarara Winery holds concerts on the site on every Saturday evening from 6pm to 9:30pm – “rain or shine”. Tickets cost just $15 (children under 7 free). Details of the bands performing are available on the winery’s website, under “Concert”. Food is available to purchase at the concerts. Alternatively, picnic menus can be pre-ordered.
The research undertaken has shown that the Tarara Winery is exceptional in that it not only functions as a producer and supplier of good quality Virginia wines, but it provides an attractive and interesting venue for personal shoppers/visitors who can enjoy tastings, picnics on numerous tables provided around Shadow Lake and walks around this attractive almost 500-acre site by the Potomac River. Not only that, but Saturday visitors in the summer have the opportunity to enjoy a concert evening in these attractive surroundings, plus wine aficionados can join their Vine Club and enjoy the included benefits including 12 bottles of wine each year. This winery has found the recipe for success, supplying good quality, locally-produced wines, plus those added features that bring in more customers and a loyal following.
Conway, Mike. (n.d.). Tarara Winery – Putting Virginia First. Ashburn Patch. Retrieved from http://ashburn.patch.com/articles/tarara-winery-putting-virginia-first
Dezel. (February 2010). Q&A with Jordan Harris of Tarara Winery. My Vine Spot. Retrieved from http://vinespot.blogspot.com.es/2010/02/q-with-jordan-harris-of-tarara-winery.html
Nix-Gomez, Aaron. (5 July 2012). Visiting Tarara Winery in Loudon County, Virginia. Hogsheadwine.com. Retrieved from http://hogsheadwine.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/visiting-tarara-winery-in-loudon-county-virginia/
Our Wines. (© 2012). Tarara Winery. Retrieved from http://www.tarara.com/scripts/wineList.cfm?w=1151&group=1
Terroir: What Does it mean? (n.d.). wine lovers page. Retrieved from http://www.wineloverspage.com/questionary2/terroir_what_does_it_mean.php