The 5th SKIVRE meeting led the SKIVRE team to Vienna where host Dr. Wolfgang Eisenreich (Wissenschaftsinitiative Niederösterreich) organized a study visit to Klosterneuburg Monastery, which is run by the Augustinian Canon Order. The SKIVRE colleagues experienced a prime example of an attractive monastery store and a no less attractive vinotheque, which is a role model in branding.
In an eventful history over nine centuries, the monastery developed into a religious, pastoral, scientific, cultural, and economic centre of the region. The order of the Augustinian canons goes back to St. Augustine, who lived as bishop of Hippo Regius (in today’s Algeria) at the beginning of the 5th century. The convent of Klosterneuburg Monastery consists of about 50 brothers from Austria, Germany, Norway, Iceland, Poland, Romania, USA, and Vietnam. The convent includes a winery and a fruit farm, where own products are produced and sold in a vinotheque. 98% of the products (wine, sparkling wine, fruit juices) are produced in the monastery itself; only a small part of 2 percent of the product range comes from small regional producers. The monastery store and the winery are organized as separate units, but their proximity makes them very inviting for a joint visit.
Dr. Wolfgang Hamm, Managing Director of the winery, acquainted the SKIVRE colleagues Karin Drda-Kühn from media k GmbH, Wolfgang Eisenreich from WIN, Wolfgang Kniejski from INI-Novation Bulgaria, and Matthias Wagner from Bronnbach Monastery with the philosophy and strategy of the monastic winery and the vinotheque: The culinary pleasure assortment from wines, juices, jams, kinds of vinegar, oils and chocolates is either manufactured or given as basic products to partners, in order to be then – provided with the Klosterneuburg logo or as own products of the partners – sold in the shop locally or in the on-line shop. Customers are
- locals who are looking for a special gift,
- private individuals who visit the monastery as tourists or order online, but also
Quality concept from personnel to product
Dr. Hamm summed up the philosophy of the monastic products sold in the vinotheque:
- highest quality
- attractive packaging.
He and his team have a clear focus: “We want to be the store you go to when you want something special or need a high-quality gift.” This basic line runs through the entire vinotheque: the attractive presentation reflects the chosen approach – uncompromising and convincing, just as the SKIVRE team could already experience it in the Belgian Abbey Averbode and as it is prepared as learning content in the SKIVRE training module “How to sell monastic products authentically” (will be available from autumn 2020 here)
The quality concept also includes qualified personnel – “our entire vinotheque team is top-notch, and we are constantly looking for new, innovative products that could complement our range”.
“We have a vine specialty, and that is our St. Laurent wine. Many of our products are based on it,” says Dr. Hamm. All St. Laurent products are combined by an attractive, contemporary design of labels, packaging, and information, both in the sales presentation on-site and in the online store. Wine and fruit products are marketed through a limited liability company, 100% of the profits go to the monastery.
Impressive monastery shop at the Klosterneuburg monastery of the Augustinian Canon Order
Customers’ profiles –a new group emerging
With the customer profile, Dr. Hamm confirms the SKIVRE experiences: It is above all people for whom authentic products and traditional products are important, but who also share the values of the monastery and want to support the monastery through their purchases.
In addition, a new customer group is currently developing: young people who are not associated with the church and Christianity, but who are interested in the monastery as a “special place” and in high-quality regional products. “Perhaps we represent with our products almost something like a certain exoticism.”
Digital offers – from online shop to social media
The vinotheque’s web store is attractively positioned, but plays a minor role in sales, says Dr. Hamm. The main reason for this is the high shipping costs, which only pay off for customers and suppliers when sales volumes are large – “this is a real obstacle”.
This makes the Facebook account all the more lively, where news from the winery is posted just as much as about the vinery’s own events, wine tastings, wine awards, or simply atmospheric pictures that whet the appetite for a visit – just as recommended in the SKIVRE training module on communicative interaction with customers in social media (available from autumn 2020 here).
The information about the monastery is available in six languages.
The information about the vinery is available in German and English.
The monastery on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeingutStiftKlosterneuburg/
(Picture credits: ©Stift Klosterneuburg, SKIVRE)