As soon as you realize that your existing sales channels cannot purchase your wine on your release schedule, you should move to liquidate that particular SKU, vintage, or product line. Of course, you should work with your current distributors to thoughtfully craft promotions and incentives to increase your sales velocity. However, there is only so much you can do before promotions begin damaging your brand and pricing power for the next vintage. Furthermore, these promotions are rarely targeted sufficiently well to avoid discounts appearing on wine-searcher.
We learned this lesson the hard way in the early years of our time in the wine business. Staying current in the market at the right price is incredibly important for your winery’s long-term success. Production and sales rarely match perfectly, so even the most tightly managed wineries have some excess inventory, and distributor promotions can increase your sales a few percentage points before they begin to harm your brand. So, if you find that your excess inventory for any particular wine is going to exceed 5-10% of your sales in the previous 12 months, you should explore entirely new channels that offer discretion in re-balancing your inventory to get back on your release schedule without diminishing your brand equity and pricing power.