In part 1 of this series, we discussed survey results as to what activities and events respondents had the most interest. There are also other opportunities to make connections with local restaurants, cheese mongers, bakeries, chocolatiers, etc. For example, might one (or more) of these businesses create a small tasting plate that could be included in your “premier tasting option?” Or, could it be purchased separately for visitors to enjoy along with a glass of wine they purchase and consume at your tasting room? It is likely that some of your visitors would appreciate the opportunity to try a regional cheese with your wine.
Or, you could substitute the palate-cleansing crackers you provide to each taster with a few slices of bread from a local bakery. This is another great way to cross promote with other local businesses. While in Paris this last May, I participated in two separate tasting events at O-Chateau Wine Tasting & Wine Bar (o-chateau.com). Along with a breakdown of what my tasting fee would include (five still French wines and one Champagne, a two-hour session with an English speaking sommelier, and a private tasting room for no more than 12 participants), the description also alerted me that not only would bread be included, but that I would be tasting baguettes from the bakery that supplies items for the president of France. Though some participants might not consider this as being a benefit or anything special, others might find it appealing.
With 70.2% of our participants responding that they would be interested in visiting a winery that offered “holiday events,” consider occasions that might be a good fit with your wine. Commonly celebrated holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, New Years, and religious holidays might come to mind quite easily, but don’t forget local holidays or events that may appeal to your tasting room visitors. For example, the neighborhood of Bloomfield (in Pittsburgh, PA) holds an annual Italian heritage festival called “Little Italy Days” (http://littleitalydays.com). A winery tasting room could partner with a local Italian bakery to pair wines with Italian pastries.
While a “painting party/class” and “book clubs” were of less interest to our participants, it is possible that such events and activities might still be of great interest to your visitors. As with any new marketing idea or change you make, it is essential to make sure that “it” is a good fit for your business, then trial “it,” and finally evaluate “it.”
Just a few things to think about as you plan your future winery tasting room activities and events. You may want to even consider planning an event to celebrate Wine Tourism Day on November 7th (http://www.winetourismday.org). In its third year, the day is planned to encourage wine tourism businesses, including hotels and restaurants, to offer events as a way “to celebrate the importance (and fun) of wine tourism.” Another opportunity to raise your glass and celebrate!
Additional Research & Thesis Advisory Team Members:
• Jeffrey Hyde, Professor, Agricultural Economics, The Pennsylvania State University
• Denise Gardener, Extension Enologist, Department of Food Science, The Pennsylvania State University
• Brad Rickard, Assistant Professor, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
• Ramu Govindasamy, Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Rutgers University
• Karl Storchmann, Clinical Professor, Economics Department, New York University; Managing Editor, Journal of Wine Economics
• Rob Crassweller, Professor, Professor of Tree Fruit, The Pennsylvania State
The project “Developing Wine Marketing Strategies for the Mid-Atlantic Region” (GRANT 11091317) is being funded by a USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program grant, whose goal is “to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system.” For more information about the program, visit http://www.ams.usda.gov.