The Results Are In! The Annual Email Benchmark Report

The Results Are In! The Annual Email Benchmark Report Every year in December, WineGlass Marketing publishes e-mail benchmarks for the wine industry. We do this because having a benchmark to evaluate the performance of email has always been a problem in the wine ecosystem. Benchmarks are widely available for broad categories such as retail or food and groceries, but finding a benchmark for email from wine clubs is historically as accurate as predicting what will happen in 2020.

In addition, there will always be the asterisk 2020, which marks the many external forces beyond our control that have influenced our marketing and responsiveness. If we look at the calendar, we see that many events of force majeure have prevented our customers from responding normally:

  • Mid March we got our first order to close tasting rooms and restaurants. The government asked us to work from home and reduce our travel time, so that the delivery possibilities of e-commerce filled a gap. Our media consumption changed when we wanted to connect, and we got hooked on CNN and obsessed with Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. The economy was struggling and by the end of spring our unemployment rate was in double digits.
  • Tension rises with the temperature as various racial injustices hit the headlines, resulting in the death of George Floyd on the 25th. Mai has reached his peak. This terrible tragedy has provoked weeks of riots and demonstrations during the summer months. Some states have eased their grip on local sanctuary missions, albeit cautiously, which has led to a wave of rule changes. Forced to interpret the rules, the wineries tried to convince the customers to return.
  • And then the fires started. It was not one, but two waves in August and September that destroyed the western states, including California. The fires destroyed several vineyards, but caused major smoke damage to a larger group of 2020 vintages. The media rushed in and reporters everywhere urged consumers to stay away from Northern California, which was on fire, so the wineries were virtually forced to report the real impact on their emissions.
  • The fire of different opinions on the fight against the virus and inequalities in our country was fuelled this autumn by the highly controversial national elections. In September and October the advertisements and mailings in the media ran over, so no one paid attention to them.
  • In the 4th. Finally, in the third quarter, the next wave of the coronavirus continued unabated, with several states considering a return to strict house arrest rules. Some expect the biggest online shopping season during the holidays, but it will open on time.

Our customers have persevered throughout the year. They took their club packages and opened our email and God bless them, they ordered wine.

The Results Are In! The Annual Email Benchmark Report

Lots of wine, actually. At the beginning of the year, Wine Intelligence reported that an initial increase in the frequency of wine consumption due to the move to the home cellars had more than compensated for the loss of the tasting rooms. This makes our emails more critical than ever.

But has the trend continued? Hubspot says no. At the end of October this year, the marketing juggler published a report stating that after the first e-mail boom and the resulting mass consumption, the responses to e-mails and sales were lower.

The Results Are In! The Annual Email Benchmark Report

In the scandalous context of 2020, we expanded our ability to meet this year’s baseline targets and relied on the data. We collected statistics from last year on 222 wineries with over 9,000 campaigns and nearly 46 million emails, and what we found was interesting.


We have all increased the number of e-mail campaigns.

The average number of campaigns sent per winery in our 2018-2019 report was 1.88 per month, which corresponds to just under 23 emails per year or the frequency of one email every 2-3 weeks before sales, events or wine club communications.

The average number of campaigns sent per winery in 2020 is double the 3.63 per month, which means that this year we sent an average of one email per week to communicate with our customers. It seems that we have followed the example of other industries that have adopted email as a logical replacement for face-to-face customer service, sales and support. And why not? E-mail is relatively inexpensive and does not require employees to be in the office or consumers to be in a specific location to use it. It is indeed the perfect COVID marketing platform.

But did those letters work?

The Results Are In! The Annual Email Benchmark Report

Decreasing open tariffs

First of all, we try to determine the open rates to see if customers are receptive to our messages. The opening percentage is the number of people, expressed as a percentage, who have opened the email, and it depends on three important things:

  • The postal address or origin of the letter.
  • History.
  • A teaser text that appears in browsers to give brief information about an e-mail.

But environmental factors that require special attention can override any of these rules. The data show that after an initial peak in March, there has been a steady decline in the opening rates during the first orders for the COVID repository in 2020. Moreover – although this study was completed on 30 September – it can be expected that rates will fall in November and December as a result of the elections and the usual exhaustion of e-mails during the holidays.

The Results Are In! The Annual Email Benchmark Report

Increase of reduction

The jumps are divided into two classes. A soft bounce occurs when the receiving server recognizes the recipient of the e-mail, but the address is blocked at that moment, for example in the case of an absence note. A hard bounce means that the address is no longer available on the server.

With offices closed in the middle of the year and a double-digit unemployment rate, it is safe to assume that many email addresses have changed this year.

This hypothesis was confirmed by the data as we found a 20% increase in the failure rate between the months before and after VIDOC.

The Results Are In! The Annual Email Benchmark Report

Click-through speed increases rapidly … on the first.

The click through rate is the number of clicks on an email, expressed as a percentage, and depends mainly on the degree of involvement of the email. What is considered convincing is usually subjective, but includes, for example, the proposal itself, the text and the presentation. B. an image, text or button.

An interesting feature of the click rate, for example, is its independence from other measures. B. the open rate of frequency. The cost per click is an accurate indication of the customer’s interest in the message.

The closure of thousands of wineries and restaurants has forced customers to look for other channels to meet their basic wine needs. The most obvious of these channels is email, which channels sales to e-commerce. As a result, awareness and email consumption increased in March and click rates remained high throughout the summer. But the exhaustion and the distractions come in the course of autumn, and we fall under previous years. When we collect the data next year, we expect a typical increase in the fourth quarter of 2020, with good online sales results for everyone.

Would you like to know more about the report?

The Results Are In! The Annual Email Benchmark Report Visit our website for a full report of this dive in frequency, topics and conversions. You can also use this QR code.

The Results Are In! The Annual Email Benchmark Report Editorial Expert
Susan DeMatey

Susan DeMatei is President of WineGlass Marketing, a full-service direct marketing company for the wine industry in Napa, California. Reference and authorized reproduction of an article by John A. Quelch and Catherine E. Joche How to Sell in Downtoon, published in Harvard University Review in April 2009. For more information, please visit


The Results Are In! The Annual Email Benchmark Report

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