Wine Road General Membership Meeting
July 10, 2014
Paradise Ridge Winery
Check-in 5:00, meeting 5:30, Dinner 6:30ish…until 8:00
Ask wineries to bring a bottle of wine to share
Renae Perry – WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME
We are thrilled to see so many members here tonight.
Wine Road has so much to share with you about our recent accomplishments and what we’ve got in the works!
We’ll keep it short and sweet so we can get to the wine and food.
To help we’ve enlisted the Board of Directors to share what we think is our Top 10 List…
- The Map – Sue Burnet
We continue to distribute 400,000 maps per year via our members, visitor centers, online requests, direct delivery to SF hotels (with Sandy Stoddard who has been making this SF run for us for the past 7 years) we hire Certified Distribution to leave our maps at various locations throughout northern CA. Everyone loves our MAP. We update the map twice a year as needed, so be sure to send in any changes or corrections you want – they will be included in the next print run. But alas..we not only distribute 400,000 PRINTED maps – our website hosts a downloadable PDF for each AVA along with an awesome customizable map, where customers can click on the wineries they want to visit and then print out their own custom map! So far
- Events – by the numbers – Robert Conard
Last November our Wine & Food Affair had record-breaking ticket sales, which we hope to increase again this year.
Winter Wineland held its own, with the same tickets sold as the prior year, as did Barrel Tasting.
All three events also had more winery participation then any prior year!
We’re looking forward to seeing how guests respond to our new Tasting Along the Wine Road calendar. Its beautiful. We think guests will happily display it year round, reminding them of the great event and our members.
- We’re social – join The Conversation – Robin Calkins
We are on several social media platforms, but we don’t just post willy nilly.
We’ve come to understand what works best on each, and execute accordingly.
Facebook: 2-3 posts a day (every day) one being a featured member. We try to respond to at least 2 comments every day.
Pinterest – really stunning photos – not from our iPhones, all link to something meaningful.
Twitter – 4-5 tweets a day, plus retweeting and following numerous hashtags so we can engage in fun conversations.
Along the Wine Road blog has 1-2 new posts every week, linking to other blog posts, back to Pinterest or facebook.
13,400 likes on Wine Road facebook page – 4 other pages combine for another 2000 likes! Twitter followers – about 6000
Along with 34 Pinterest boards with 400+ followers!
- Wine Road on the Road – Aaron Krug
This year we’ve been to Phoenix and Tucson with 11 wineries and Seattle with 20 winery members. The Best Western Dry Creek Inn also attended all of those events to share information about all of the beautiful lodging options along the Wine Road. Hotels/motels, Bed & Breakfast, Country Inn and even camping options.
Our tastings started with press and trade then transitioned to consumers. As stories are written we will share via the Tuesday News Day. “Wine Road On the Road” has helped us get our story out, inform customers to the quality of our wines and the number of wineries that are here for them visit. “On the Road” has been a great avenue for our members to connect with their wine club members on their “home turf”, work the market and make new connections! Each event has partnered with a non-profit from the area for a cash donation from our ticket sales and silent auction. Last year we also hosted press dinners with winemakers in Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Monica and West Hollywood. So far these events have garnered press in ________________ publications, reaching ____________ people. (working to compile these figures)
- Donations – Ross James
Wine Road continues to donate $1 from every event ticket and our Ticket to the Wine Road to Redwood Empire Food Bank. We have also made donations from ticket sales and auction items during our “On The Road” tastings. This has already generated over $40,000 in cash donations.
We also donate “in-kind’ to dozens of organizations near and far – this typically is close to $15,000 each year. In addition Wine Road offers 3 $1000 scholarship to high school seniors that have a parent or guardian that is employed by a Wine Road member – this scholarships program was started 11 years ago. This year we connected ticket sales from Wine Tourism Day to the new SRJC Hospitality Scholarships program. This year we were able to give $200 to help two, students ($100 each) complete the certificate program.
- Mission of Wine Road – Education Carla Jeffries
To address the “education” portion of our Mission Statement Wine Road has continued to offer seminars to members at no or very low cost. Responsible Hospitality, Wine Club Management, Hiring Practices, Social Media and more….we’d love to see more of you take advantage of these sessions. Please let us know if there is a topic of particular interest to you.
We also house a fantastic “lending library” with the latest marketing, sales and business books, which you may borrow at any time – no charge!
For consumers education mission has translated to seminars on food pairing, Riedel tastings, the Wine 101 videos and Wine 101 links on our website along with our one-on-one concierge service.
NEW – It was suggested we host a seminar on event organization/best practices prior to Barrel Tasting. We’re stepping it up and creating a VIDEO with member input. When we’re done we should have 20 great tips from 20 successful winery owners/managers who happily shared what they’ve learned over the years. Watch for the ‘red carpet premier’.
- Advertising Darek Trowbridge
In the past 12 months we’ve placed nearly $135,000 in BRAND advertising – this does not include the $80,000 which was placed for EVENT ads. That’s $215,000 in advertising.
This month we’re in Steppin’ Out Magazine and our map is an insert – that’s 25,000 maps!
We have run ads in Wine Spectator, Sunset, Horizon Airlines, SF Chron, Press Democrat, San Diego Tribune, Northwest Sip Magazine, LA Times, Tribune…local and bay area radio, we even did our first TV ad which ran in May and June on CBS in SF. We place ads on wine blogs, online news, in-room publications, the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce lightbox billboards and the Sonoma County Airport. Sonoma County struts its diversity – we strut our diverse advertising!
- “Special Tickets’ Jeff Noel
We continue to see growth in Ticket To The Wine Road with 110 wineries and 10 lodgings participating and $35,000+ in sales each year. If you are not familiar with the “Ticket to the Wine Road” it is basically a tasting pass – customers order online, specifying the day or days they plan to use the pass. They are $30 for a 1-day pass and $60 for a 3-day pass. As I said we now have 110 wineries and 10 lodgings that offer comp tasting or some special offer for ticket holders. We also saw an increase in our “Season Pass” for the annual events, up to 130 this year, or 2nd year offering the program. The Season Pass provides one ticket to all three of our annual events in one calendar years, 1 1-day Ticket to the Wine Road” and a very cool Wine Road VIP lanyard! It is gratifying to see over 100 people commit to buying an annual pass to all of our events. We must be doing something right J
- Technology – Kevin West
Wine Road has just completed a giant move – our website has just transferred from a custom built CMS platform to a much more workable WordPress platform. We’re still working out some issues, but very excted with the change which will make it much easier to manage and make updates on the fly. The website is now desgined to be responsive, so it will look great on any type of devise you use. For those people who don’t want to google us on their phone and they opt do download apps –we’ve got them covered too! Our app connects and updates automatically from our website changes. We also look to YOU for ideas on new features you think will make our app more useful. In the past month we’ve also redesigned our monthly newsletter to consumers, “My Wine Road” and created a new design for our blog “Along the Wine Road”. In addition to keep you more informed we’ve changed our old Monday Memo to a weekly “Tuesday News Day” sent via Vertical Response, so its easier to read on different devisees. We will also be sending a once a month “Wine Road Member Update” to showcase our biggest accomplishments for the month. We want to share all of our good news!
10 Membership Growth Kathleen Inman
In the past 12 month Wine Road has grown; adding 12 new wineries and 3 new lodgings.
Our current numbers are 194 wineries and 54 lodgings. The application form is online for interested parties and the Wine Road membership committee meets three times a year to review and approve applications.
What’s on the agenda for the next 12 months…
Jeff Noel – Wine Road has applied for a grant to help offset costs for our “On the Road” series, so time will tell if we are able to continue those programs. However we are happy to say we have made a commitment to sponsor our members attending various Wine Festivals. We just wrapped up Monterey, we’re looking forward to Winesong in September and San Diego in November…and we’ll see which others work out down the road. The idea is to bring enough wineries along to have us set up together to draw press to our area to tell our Wine Road story and really brand Northern Sonoma County.
Carri Holdredge – Get your social media hat on and join us in our quest to solve The da Vintners Code! We just mailed all of you a fun little icon to “hide” somewhere in your winery or lodging. A counter sign lets customers know to look for it – find it, photograph it and then post it with the hashtag #WRdaVintners – we’ll follow along , share, send prizes and get Wine Road and the participating members some exposure. We’ll engage wieth our visitors and hopefully win the eye of the contest folks at Travel & Leisure Magazine for having such a fun program.
Stacy Rafanelli – Help us tell some compelling Wine Road stories. How great are the people working for you, what sort of interesting backgrounds do they have? Who here started in the wine business after their first Barrel Tasting experience? What is your passion…after winemaking and being an innkeeper – what makes you light up? When we give you topics, please respond – even if you call us and say I’ve got a story to tell…we’ll come out and interview you, so you don’t have to write anything. We want to let visitors know how interesting life is along the Wine Road. We need your help to make that happen.
Beth Costa – Thanks for taking the time to join us tonight. I hope you see how important is it to the Board of Directors and the Wine Road staff for you to be aware of all the programs in place to promote our members, Sonoma County and the wine industry. Enjoy dinner – we’re thrilled to have had the help of Marisa Manna Ferrell of So Eventful and the folks at Encore who provided beautiful table linens. Paradise Ridge is such an amazing venue and we were excited to have Rosso Pizza on hand to provide our dinner tonight. Cheers!
Three-sided table tents for each dinner table –
Benefits of Membership
- Wine Road…map, app, website!
- Opportunity to participate in annual Wine Road events
- Networking at industry open houses
- Being featured in our monthly newsletter (45,000 subscribers)
- New UPS preferred pricing for Wine Road members
- Tasting opportunities – Twitter, Make-A-Wish, Oscar Experience, Healdsburg Half Marathon, Giants Games, 49ers Games, North Bay Angel Investors….
- Submitting information for our editorial calendar
- Training guides & best practices which you can share with your staff
- Our in-house concierge directing customers directly to your door.
- Co-op advertising opportunities
- Surveys on topics such as wine clubs, salaries, event ideas
- Sharing holiday hours with lodgings, visitor centers, other wineries, posted online
- Participation in various wine festivals with Wine Road offsetting table costs
- Ticket to the Wine Road…bringing customers to your door
- Chance to share ideas via various
- Exposure via press Wine Road hosts …A RISING TIDE LIFTS ALL BOATS.
- CA Wine Month
- Explore Your Backyard / Wine Tourism Day
Did you know….?
- Russian River Wine Road was formed in 1976 with 9 wineries…
Cambiaso, Foppiano, Geyser Peak, Nervo, Pastori, Pedroncelli, Simi, Souverein, Trentadue
- Lodgings became Associate Members in
- Name changed to Wine Road Northern Sonoma County in August
- Wine Road has a Board of Directors consisting of 10 winery and 3 lodging representatives.
- Current membership 194 wineries, 54