The story of San Francisco waterfront attraction Pier 39 and how it resold its wine category this year shows that rightsholders can’t always stick to previously successful sales strategies.

Rather it is vital for properties to adapt to changing market conditions in order to protect revenue streams.

In late ’08, Pier 39 signed a one-year, category exclusive deal with DeLoach Vineyards. Despite the venue’s efforts to promote on-site sales throughout ’09, the goals the two parties set were not met, and DeLoach opted not to renew the deal for this year.

The sales targets were based on ’08 purchase activity at the Pier, a year of strong wine sales. With recession-challenged visitors often opting to trade down to less expensive soft drinks, wine consumption took a hit in ’09, said Beth Schnitzer, the property’s vice president of strategic alliances.

With knowledge that many wineries had tightened their belts due to the economy, Schnitzer pegged the chances of finding a single sponsor to replace DeLoach at “slim to none.” So Pier 39 decided on a different course of action.

Instead of seeking an exclusive partnership with one company, the attraction established a shared “preferred wine of Pier 39” package that it offered to multiple labels under a Wines of California umbrella.

“Given the state of the wine industry and reduced marketing budgets, we created a smaller package,” Schnitzer said. “Yesterday’s tactics most likely will not work in today’s economic climate; this agreement was designed to benefit multiple parties, not just one entity.”

Pier 39 has secured participation from 25 labels, which together are paying the equivalent of 75 percent of DeLoach’s fee. Schnitzer hopes to end up ahead of the game by upselling the wineries if the relationship is a success.

“If we meet their goals and objectives, we can expand the relationship and increase the price,” she said.

While the logistics of establishing relationships with 25 separate partners took a considerable amount of upfront resources, the program is now running smoothly, she added.

The program took advantage of the presence of Pier 39 tenant Wines of California Wine Bar to identify potential labels to pitch. A key selling point was the inclusion of pouring and sales rights at the bar and its retail shop, as well as at Swiss Louis Italian and Seafood Restaurant.

Pier 39 promotes the wineries through on-site signage, marketing collateral, email blasts and social media efforts.

The wineries also receive pouring rights at Fleet Week and other Pier 39 events, said Schnitzer, who plans to add two sparkling wines to the program.

Participating wines include 3 Girls Pinot Noir, Banyan Gewurztraminer, Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc and Bouchon Chardonnay.

Wine sales in the U.S. rose 2.1 percent in ’09, according to Mintel, a market research firm.