Everyone enjoys summer. Long days, vacations, easy living. However, most people in the wine business secretly love it when summer ends and we enter SOND. SOND is the acronym for September, October, November, December. It’s not as if there is no wine sold during the summer months, but let’s face it, summer belongs to the beer and cocktail drinkers. We in the wine world will graciously give the summer to our beer and spirits brothers and sisters, while we secretly hope that rosé continues to grow and become a summer drink of choice.
Back to SOND….Labor Day weekend officially ends summer. Most of the kids are back at school (I mourn the death of Jerry Lewis. I always knew summer was over when I would watch his telethon as he smoked 20 packs of cigarettes, while wearing a tuxedo he looked like he slept in....Did anyone else have this childhood experience, or am I just a freak?), people are beginning to nest for the fall and the weather has just a hint of coolness.
All of these events mean sales are going to kick back into gear for wine. Average monthly case shipments in SOND can be double what they were in the month of July. OMG I loathe July. God created July to torture people in the wine industry. I could go on vacation the entire month of July and I don’t think it would make any difference to the business. You can only yell at your sales team so many times, and then you have to accept the fact that July is July (do you think they want me to go away for the entire month of July? Yes they do). The first two weeks of August seem like an extension of July, and you wonder if anyone will ever order wine again. Then magically, the last two weeks of August show life! Distributors come out of hibernation, orders come in and Labor Day sounds the bell for SOND.
The last four months of the year (SOND), are simultaneously the most exciting and terrifying months of the year. Typically you have spent the first six months of the year building accounts, expanding channel distribution and planning programming to position your brands for a successful SOND. You survived July, although it rocked your belief in what you’re doing. Now it’s game time.
SOND has approximately 75 shipping days. 75 days determine if you are running into the next year with momentum, or do you have to lick your wounds, go back to the drawing board and see what you need to correct or fine tune for the next year.
Someday when I am retired, I am going to take an extended vacation for those 75 days in SOND and wish the next generation good luck. Never mind, I probably will always worry about sales right up to the time they wheel me out of the office…..wine is a glamorous business.