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Return Call

I’ve been thinking about wine tourism of late. One reason is to prepare for the upcoming Wine Tourism Conference on November 16th and 17th in Napa, California. Another reason wine tourism is on my mind is to prepare a presentation I’m going to make at the International Wine Tourism Conference in Puglia, Italy January 30th to February 2nd. How does one go about increasing people to a winery or vineyard tasting room?

For years I’ve been annoyed with wineries and vineyards that simply do not return telephone calls and/or emails. In preparing for the Napa conference, Kathy and I are going to spend extra days in the area visiting wineries in Napa and Sonoma. We are also looking to visit businesses that make cheese, olive oil or wine vinegar. On this trip I wanted to visit more wineries in Sonoma than Napa since on previous trips to the region we have written about more Napa wineries. So we research, find a winery to visit and attempt to contact them.

We were able to contact all four of the wineries we’d like to visit in Napa. Not so with Sonoma. Telephone messages and emails have been left unanswered at three of the nine wineries we’ve tried to contact. This does not surprise us since we experience this happening all across the country and in Canada. Perhaps the first statement at the Wine Tourism Conference should be to return telephone calls and email messages.

Some of the Sonoma wineries did get it right. I left a message for Joel Clark at Rodney Strong Vineyards. I later learned that the message was garbled. Rather than deleting the message, Joel went above and beyond. He searched for me on Twitter and LinkedIn and sent a tweet and a LinkedIn email. We were able to get connected.

A suggestion for wineries and vineyards is to check your junk mail folder. I have to do this on a regular basis. Sure enough, I found a return message from a Napa winery in my junk mail. Click a button and it isn’t junk anymore. It is a good idea to check your junk mail folder for legitimate emails on a frequent basis. For me that should be two to three times a week.

The saying, “If you build it they will come” holds true for just a few wineries. Others should explore ways to increase wine tourism. At the starting point, check to see if telephone calls and emails are answered.


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