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Wine Tourism Statistics from Winery and Tourist Points of View

There were a few presentations that I attended that included a dose of statistics from studies. I’ll mention some of these and offer a comment or two.

Miguel Lecuona discussed the winery survey that his company, Wine Marketing Guide, developed. Winery personal completed the survey. Two hundred wineries responded. The survey was developed using Survey Monkey. Survey Monkey is a powerful tool used to create surveys on the Internet. There is both a free version, great for simple surveys and a paid version that offers more features.

Miguel mentioned some of the findings in his talk, “National Tasting Room Survey.”

82% of the wineries that responded had production of less than 10,000 cases, this is inline with the case production of wineries in the United States. Most wineries in the US are small.

78% of the responding wineries wanted more of their wines in their portfolio tasted, this is one of the reasons for wine tourism. Wineries offer the only place that wine enthusiasts can taste many of the wines in portfolios, unless a winery only produces a couple wines.

54% of the respondents indicated that the winery owner or winemaker is in the tasting room on a regular basis. We do not experience this high of a percentage even though we have appointments and the staff knows we are writers. Of course what is open to interpretation is the phrase “on a regular basis.” That could mean just a few minutes a week.

66% indicated that they have 9 to possibly more than 15 wines on the tasting menu. This is more true of the United States than Europe. That is an astonishing number of wines to pour in a tasting room. Kathy and I try to limit our taste to five wines each. Some wineries would prefer that we taste their entire portfolio.

62% indicated that they charge $5 – $10 for a tasting. In the United States, the amount charged for a tasting is based on state law and wine region. We have seen some wineries that give free tastings while others charge over $50 for a tasting. There seems to be a correlation (material for a future research study) between the amount charged for a tasting and whether a visitor will purchase wine. There appears to be more purchases when tastings are free. I would like to see if there is a true correlation in this though.

69% of the surveyed wineries indicated limo or bus tours of 10 or more people is a problem. One of the problems is that visitors in bus tours seldom make purchases. The other problem with limo and bus groups is behavior. It is illegal to serve people if they appear drunk in the United States, this then causes friction. Limo tour and bus tour operators need to work with wineries to curb unacceptable behavior. In some states we have heard wineries explain that they will call ahead to the next winery if they had trouble with a tour group. The next winery could refuse to let the limo or bus group enter. This particular concern represents the need for wine experience operators to communicate with wineries.

While the Wine Marketing Guide survey was on the winery side, Winerest developed a survey on the wine tourist side. Tatiana Livesey  delivered a talk titled, “Wine and Food Travel Is Most in Demand.” Some of the findings Winerest discovered through a survey of 500 people that they conducted included:

98% of those surveyed are wine and food lovers.

The survey indicated that of the respondents 24% had a basic knowledge of wine, 46% had an intermediate knowledge of wine while 30% had advanced in wine knowledge. This is important for wineries to understand that one size does’t fit all approach in a tasting room. It is rather alarming to have tasting room personal tell a winemaker how red wine is made as if they never knew this information before. This happens throughout the world and will continue to happen until winery personal throw out their monologue scripts and engage with wine enthusiasts through dialogue.

79% of the survey respondents indicated that they were interested in wine and food holidays. Almost half of these spend a weekend visiting wineries. Popular destinations include France, Italy and Spain. While on holiday, the respondents indicated that they spend between 75 and 100 euros per day including tasting fees, food and lodging. Of those on wine holiday, 88% purchase wine at the winery.

An important finding of the study was, once starting wine travel, 79% of the respondents indicated that they are repeat wine tourists.

Perhaps the most challenging survey data for wineries is that 76% of the respondents indicated that they want to book online. However, very few wineries provide a means to accomplish this. Perhaps wineries should review their websites and remedy this disconnect.

The wine industry should look at these survey results and begin a discussion of their practices. Are wineries throughout the world doing enough to provide outstanding experiences for wine travelers? The days of the attitude “It is a privilege for a visitor to stand in their winery” are over.


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