Wine Road Board Meeting
June 24, 2020 | 9:00am – 10:40am
Cast Wines, Geyserville, California
☒ Beth Costa (Wine Road)
☒ Jack Seifrick (Cast Wines)
☒ Stephanie Wycoff (Seghesio Family Vineyards)
☒ Danny Christensen (Geyserville Inn)
☒ Oded Shakked (Longboard Vineyards)
☒ Aaron Krug (Best Western, Dry Creek Inn)
☒ Julia Lander (Moshin Vineyards)
☒ Lillian Fechter (The Family Coppola)
Approval of Minutes
This meeting occurred following closures due to COVID-19. As meetings had been postponed and cancelled during that time, prior meeting notes were not read or approved.
Board Updates: 9:07am
New Board Member, Aaron Krug, was introduced.
Lillian Fechter will be taking Carri Holdredge’s position of Secretary and has joined the Executive Board.
Review of current staff & accounts
Beth provided update that herself, Debbie, & Emily have not been paid since March. Emily was going to focus on key partners.
Status of accounts: $150k in Savings, $45k in checking. We paid advertising in April, May & June
At the beginning of the meeting, we discussed Mysty – a consultant for Social Media. John proposed via email that we let her go. Beth advocated that she was kept and that we need Social Media presence.
At the end of the meeting, everyone decided that we would keep her on, based on upcoming projects and need for presence during this time. Reduce salary from 4k to 2k per month.
Marketing Recap during Closure
Beth recapped some of the Marketing campaigns during closure. Included:
- $5 Shipping Campaign
- Video – 10k+ hits
- Digital – Press Democrat, Sonoma Magazine
- Changed/restructured search to vertical, shipping, etc
- Digital Ad : Virtual Experiences
- Seminar with Sandra Hess
- $10k spend in digital advertising
- Sign campaign – shipped out signs
Beth opened the floor for discussion on assessments. Board recognized upcoming fires and potential second shutdown due to COVID, need for retention of members during these difficult times and Wine Road’s necessity for membership dues, especially with future revenue from events unknown
Discussion points included:
- Proposal for dues to stay the same, with no change, due to value of organization
- Lower because of loss of value due to potential cancellation of events
- Lower, due to unknown future of business and concern members will cancel
- Provide members payment plan or waive partial dues
- Provide discount of 50%
- Provide members option of full payment or installation payments. Provide lodging option of skipping first payment while retaining membership, due to closure.
- Wineries are currently $900 and $1,000, which is challenging operationally for Beth and inconsistent
- Lodging is both $450 and $500, which is operationally challenging and inconsistent
Following discussion, Jack made motion, Stefanie second. Danny opposed. Moving forward with:
- All wineries at $900. Provide wineries option of payment plan of two payments of $450 each
- All lodging at $500. Provide lodging option of payment plan of two payments of $250 each. Lodging can waive first payment, if needed.
- Considerations can be made for specific wineries and lodging circumstances, as needed.
- First payment due in August, second payment due in December or January.
Wine & Food Affair
- John proposed via email: one $20 ticket, then the customer buys a ticket at each winery
- Stefanie proposed: cancel W&F Affair. Pivot to Virtual Experiences
- Some discussion of logistics of W&F Affair, unknown of COVID, fires and unclear future of upcoming months. Launched conversation of Virtual Experiences (see topic below)
- Motion to cancel: Stefanie motioned, Danny seconded. No one opposed.
- Defer WWL decision to August or September meeting.
- Jack suggested a Virtual Experience – we send barrel samples and host a virtual event
- Lillian suggested a hybrid – Virtual Experience and physical event. This would benefit, if we should need to cancel the physical event, we could still have fallback of also hosting a Virtual Event
- Stefanie and Lillian discussed need for advance notification if we are going to do a Virtual Experience for COLAs, approvals, logistics of shipping “samples” etc.
- Oded expressed Winemaking perspective about sending “barrel samples” and authenticity of barrel wine samples, potential winemaking challenges
- No decisions made – defer to upcoming meetings.
Within conversation of upcoming events, discussion evolved to pivot to ongoing Virtual experiences, especially with unknown of fires and COVID.
- pairing multiple wineries, multiple winemakers, Local Chefs, local businesses.
- Discussed “ticket price” with revenue to Wine Road, with wine sales driving to wineries
- Another option was wineries provide portion of sales back to Wine Road
Beth would put together packages, setup place to film, can be recorded for future views.
Goal : August launch campaign, targeting September for first experience
For wineries that pay $900 dues upfront, they would have option of first Virtual Experiences as benefit
John (via email) advocated that the board reaches out to our groups. It was discussed that we would reach out, following assessments going out.
Action Item: Beth will resend our individual lists. We will need to create talking points/script in upcoming weeks. To include information about assessments, virtual tastings, benefits of membership, we refunded $500k
- Upcoming Executive Meeting topics:
- Beth is open to salary reduction
- Debbie and Emily’s status
- Danny and Jack suggested that Wine Road apply for PPP Loan.
- Jack suggested that we find additional benefits for members, such as discounted UPS Shipping Rates. Beth confirmed UPS provides a better rate for Wine Road Members, Wine Institute etc.