The jobs wine is hired for

Looking at how wine shops can use JTBD

Laurence Veale
3 min readMar 14, 2014


Using a jobs-to-be-done approach means focusing on the job, rather than on the person doing it.

To one side go personas, or assumptions on people who spend $100 on a bottle of wine. In their place a focus on why people “hire” a bottle of wine , what particular job are they trying to get done?

Ultimately, I wanted to figure out if the JTBD framework could work for wine retailers.

What job is wine hired for?

The answer of course, is that there are many jobs wine is hired for, but let’s look at two examples.

  1. Wine is hired to make a dinner better (consumed within 3-4 hours of purchase).
  2. Wine is hired to impress (as a gift for an important person).

But just before we get into the jobs to be done, let’s look at how wine is currently sold in most retailers, from small specialist wine shops to the larger supermarkets.

How most wines are organised in wine shops.

Wine is presented from left to right, country by country, region by region, and top to bottom by price.

But if we look through the lens of the jobs to be done, we can identify how a retailer might differentiate their retail space to make choosing a bottle of wine a little less intimidating. Yes, choosing a wine is famously intimidating, but I won’t go into that here.

Job 1: to go with a nice dinner I’m cooking

The first job we’ve identified is to match up with the food I’m cooking.

If that’s the job you’d hire wine for, then how do can a retailer help you get that job done?

Organising the retail space around a specific job: to make dinner a little better

Job 2: Wine to impress or express thoughtfulness

Then, there’s the wine as a gift. Whether it’s to bring along with you to a dinner, maybe with the added pressure that it’s your wife’s boss and she’s going for partner!

The complication here is that the wine must be reassuringly and recognisably expensive (one of the key reasons for massive increase in demand for top growth Bordeaux in China).

But it could reflect thoughtfulness, not just price -

“Well, I could have bought you an expensive Dom Perignon, but this is from a much smaller artisan Champagne single vineyard producer and it’s far better.”

The real job here could actually be to look neither cheap nor foolish so how could we make sure our wine gets hired for this more nuanced job?

Organising the retail space for a second job: to look neither cheap nor foolish.

Benefits of a JTBD approach

With this approach, we’re organising our products to position them as hireable for the jobs to be done, which are possibly many and nuanced.

But what we could also be doing is creating a unique and memorable, less intimidating wine buying experience.




Laurence Veale