Donkey & Goat
Donkey and Goat was started in 2004 and is owned and operated by Tracey and Jared Brandt out of Berkeley, California. They make “natural wines” which is core to their brand and their message. While many wineries might claim to produce natural wines, Donkey and Goat take great care to produce the purest possible version of their product.
The story of the Tracey and Jared’s winery started in 2001 when they moved to France to work at a winery. Jared quit his job at a software company and they hit the road, spending a year working for Eric Texier in the Rhone Valley.
“We fell in love with the process of the making wine.” - Jared Brandt, Owner
When they returned to the States, the couple knew that they wanted to work in the wine business and after exploring a few options decided to start their own winery.
Their wines are made from sustainably, organically, and bio-dynamically farmed vineyards in the Sierra Nevada, Mendocino, and Napa areas. In the cellar, nothing is removed and nothing is added save minimal effective sulfur, of which is used sparingly and within the predominant guideline for natural wines in Europe.
Their wines are bottled without stabilization, fining or filtration. To illustrate their dedication to natural wine, they include the ingredient list on their labels—grapes and minimal sulfur.
Initially, Donkey and Goat sold mostly through wholesale, distributing their wines through restaurants and retailers. However, when they moved locations and opened a tasting room, they made the decision to enter into the DTC channel.
As their DTC, wine club, and tasting room channels grew, they found that they needed a winery specific solution.
Jared went in search of a system to maintain a central record for each of their club customers that provided more flexibility for their tasting room staff in its ability to handle transactions, take tips, and make notes on customers visiting the tasting room. After assessing a couple of vendors, he chose VineSpring.
Donkey and Goat started using VineSpring in 2012 to manage their eCommerce sales, wine club, and tasting room. The tasting room employees leverage the Square integration and it has changed the experience for employees, providing them with the ability to check customers in, take notes, and take tips.
VineSpring’s Square integration has been key to sales in the tasting room.
“Staff in the tasting room can focus more on upselling because the checkout is so seamless.”
The team also actively uses VineSpring’s CRM features. The staff at Donkey and Goat work to take notes on every customer in order to provide them better service in the tasting room and as club members. Their ability to track key information about who their customers are, what they care about, and manage rewards support the concierge experience that they are committed to providing their customers.
“The concierge experience is key in our tasting room and e-commerce experience.”
With multiple tiers and club structures, VineSpring’s flexible club management system has provided Donkey and Goat with the tools to offer and experiment with different types of club and subscription offerings.
Jared and Tracey also actively leverage VineSpring’s MailChimp integration, sending email campaigns about 30 times per year. Donkey and Goat has four releases each year. Five emails are sent in association with each release, in addition to a monthly email to members to stay in touch and share product and winery news.
“The ability to upsell with our e-commerce customers has been very powerful.”
They also use the ShipCompliant integration to power their active DTC program, distributing to 30+ states. VineSpring’s system supports the difficult shipping reality that wineries face, accommodating shipping and weather seasonality within the system.
The team at Donkey and Goat has leveraged VineSpring’s holistic system to manage all areas of their DTC program and collaborated with the VineSpring team to make sure that the system works for their business.