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Wineries Unlimited 2012 Day 1 Overview

Wineries Unlimited 2012The emphasis on the first day of the Wineries Unlimited Trade Show & Conference was marketing. Over 100 attendees heard a series of presentations and participated in activities. Elizabeth Slater was the moderator for the day’s program.

Elizabeth Slater: Hammer Out Your Message

Elizabeth mentioned that marketing is not the favorite job of people in the wine industry. However it is important to connect with your audience. Messaging is getting the right information through the right channels to the right people at the right time. Wineries need to talk about what makes them unique. Quality wine and a good experience do not differentiate a winery from another winery. People expect to taste quality wine and have a good experience when they visit a winery. So what makes a winery unique? Find something that makes you different. Everyone makes good wine from the best grapes. This is not unique.

Wineries Unlimited 2012There are four C’s of messaging. Messages should be clear, concise, consistent and connective. What are the three most important things about your winery/product? What are the three things your audience wants to know? Are some of these things contained in your message. Elizabeth spoke of the importance for all the staff to understand the message.

John Springer: Setting the Foundation for an Extraordinary Team

John Springer suggested that the attendees at this conference are great resources. John asked the group to partner and follow him. While we exited the room, we discussed with our partner what we liked to do and something we did recently for the first time. The group was taken up an escalator to a large area where John asked a series of questions. For example, “Those who are first generation winery owners stand on the right side of the room and multi-generation winery owners stand on the left side of the room.” John suggested that the multi-generation owners may be a source of knowledge for conference attendees. John also asked the attendees to divide into three groups: first born, last born and those in the middle. He spoke of the personality traits of the first and last born. They have a tendency of getting what they want. John also spoke of the middle born group. They are the mediators. He then stated that tasting room staff need to have people from all groups. John’s session continued with the attendees moving from one side of the area to another based on the questions he asked.

Later during the day John spoke again. He suggested that wineries pay attention to their hiring process. If you hire the wrong people it’s not going to work. The experience that a winery provides for visitors depends on its tasting room staff.

Jennifer McCloud: Nail Down Profit$ in the Tasting Room

Jennifer showed pictures of Chrysalis Vineyards during the presentation. Jennifer spoke about the winery’s revenue. The majority of wine sold is sold in the tasting room (72%), while 7% of sales are through distribution. Jennifer mentioned that a small farm winery can make some money but it’s not easy. The most profitable source of revenue is from visitors that come into the tasting room. When you look at the revenue side of wine, a winery makes the most revenue by selling their wine from the tasting room. A winery that makes 10,000 or less cases cannot afford to sell their wine outside the tasting room.

Jennifer spoke of tasting room environment. She prefers to create an environment that is personal and pleasurable. Stepping up to a crowded tasting bar is not pleasurable. Do different things to create an experience. Pour wine out of a bucket for example, that experience is something visitors can’t normally get at other wineries.

Wineries Unlimited 2012Susan Dosier: The Nuts and Bolts of Selling Wine at Your Event

Susan told the attendees that if they are going to do an event, they need to do a good event. If staff dread an upcoming event they shouldn’t do the event. Wineries should look at event opportunities. Susan asked for attendees to write a list of events. She then asked if someone wanted help with an event. One of the attendees asked for help with summer solstice event. Susan gave some suggestions. Then the attendees also gave ideas. There were many ideas given about what could be done at a summer solstice event. Susan suggested that people look at themselves and their likes when planning an event.

Susan’s next suggestion was for wineries to look at who they are going to invite to the event. She suggested that wineries invite people to their events outside of their usual demographics. Consider inviting the press to the event and give them a job such as judging a recipe contest, speaking or be a panelist member. Susan said that wineries need to know their local tourism employees. Know them and share information with them. Invite the tourism group to the winery for a tasting.

Also wineries should experience the event the way attendees will experience the event. For example, are bathrooms clean? Think through things that could go wrong and prepare for them.

Wineries Unlimited 2012Doug Cohn: Riedel Wine Tasting with Vinum Glasses

Four glasses were set up for the Riedel tasting. A fifth “joker glass” was empty. Glasses included a Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Doug Cohn presented during the Riedel tasting. Doug spoke of how Riedel helps wineries showcase their wines. Doug instructed the group to analyze the wines. Then for each wine, Doug instructed the group to pour some of the wine into the joker glass and look, smell and taste from the joker glass. Compare the wine when tasted from the varietal specific Riedel glass with the same wine in the joker glass.
Rather than telling the attendees what they were seeing, smelling and tasting he asked the assembly to decide for themselves. Doug mentioned that a varietal specific wine glass is a tool that enhances the wine. In all cases, the wine showed well in the varietal specific glass. Many of the attendees were surprised at the difference a varietal specific glass could make.

At the end of the day, there was a gathering for the attendees. They mingled and socialized as they sampled wines that many of them brought with cheese and crackers. The first day of the conference offered a tremendous amount of information that attendees can reflect on and implement what wworks for them.

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