Exec. Brd. Mtg. Jan. 2019

Beth Costa on Feb 1, 2019

Wine Road Executive Board

January 16, 2019 – 9:00-12:00pm

Wine Road Office (upstairs)


9:00    Call to order:

Attendees: new member Danny Christensen, with Carla Jeffries, Devin Ruddick, John Viszlay, Carri Holdredge, and Beth Costa

-Nov 2018 minutes approved 

9:01    Welcome to Danny Christensen

Danny is the new lodging member, co-owner of Geyserville Inn, and also a practicing CPA.

9:02    Exec. Director goals update

Prior to discussing agenda items below, Exec Board met with Beth to review Exec Director Goals – 2018 document. Discussion also provided Danny with a comprehensive overview of WR’s tourism marketing efforts. Carla took notes for Beth’s review.

9:10    Treasurer’s Report

            Checking account: $ 47,328.98

Savings account: $180,125.92 (both from 12/31/18 statement)       

Review final budget (see attached) – reviewed corrections

  • Final 2019 budget approved.

9:15    Website– Development is on track, planning to launch with 4 itineraries although 50+ itineraries will come online shortly after launching. Promoting all three appellations.

9:20    Events

Winter Wineland– ticket sales up! 4300 tickets sold and expect to sell another 1,ooo tickets at the door. The extra advertising dollars are working.

Barrel Tasting– 1,ooo tickets sold, plus 35 Fri night tickets sold (3 non-barrel tasting wineries hosting “Toast the Future” each weekend). 90 wineries participating lower than in prior years. Beth not planning to sell BT tickets early again next year; most consumers wait to make their purchase, and marketing gets tricky promoting 3 events simultaneously. WR spent $20K in BT advertising in 2018 (spending more to bring back the event and position it as a premier event).

Wine & Food Affair – Hired Clark Wolf as a consultant to elevate WFA 2019. He will deliver $20K of marketing for a $10K fee. Possible ideas include restaurants preparing WFA menus; winemaker breakfasts; up to 4 cooking classes (i.e., Relish); themed event (i.e., “locally grown”); and a small winemaker dinner.

WR reimburses wineries up to $150K for food costs. Clark will work directly with local chefs and wineries to help elevate all dishes; create more descriptive titles for the dish, and help wineries bring down food costs by providing menu ideas and a list of caterers/restaurants. Clark will offer three WR member seminars to review new program; Clark to approve all recipes, removing Beth from the equation. WR to revisit food reimbursement strategy (i.e., large and small wineries receiving the same dollar amount) – not all of the money gets used. Will also look at tourism angle – may tie-in harvest season, and/or Harvest Fair events that build to the grand finale of WFA.

(Carri to send Beth example invite from Lexus LAFW – offered multiple ticketed events over multiple days.) 

10:00 Marketing & Public Relations

Alexa – report. Evaluates your website for $150/month. WR is currently rated an A-, and that’s the old website!

-Alison Bailin –visiting Jan. 25-28

-Rancho Mirage

-Recent press visits (see attached)

-Social Updates – Coppola Meeting

At Dec Board meeting, it was asked which metrics WR should be reviewing for social media advertising. Besides Beth, very few if any board members are experts in this field, hence the question. It was suggested that WR could reach out to either a social media saavy winery and/or an agency to compare notes and see if we are tracking the best data. Beth met with Nick Aguis from Coppola to discuss their best reporting metrics and he was not able to bring anything new to the table.

WR to share its social media knowledge to help winery members understand how best to manage and market their business (e.g., consumers using mobil vs. desktop for communications). That type of data comes via analytics already provided by Beth.

-Sonoma House: WR to participate again this year. Ann Peterson of DCV is spearheading the effort this year since Beth took on the task last year

-GeoFencing: Currently working with PD on a two month test at $2k/month. Targeting San Diego, LA, Phoenix and Seattle airports that fly direct to Sonoma County . So far, test has not been very successful.

-WR to consider retargeting visitors who attend WW at heavy traffic wineries (i.e., KJ, Wilson) and invite them to BT (“if you liked this event, you’ll love BT!)

10:15  Old Business

            Corporate Sales – no updates

Associate Memberships – WR working with Mo McElroy to sell 10 memberships of $3000 each. She has rewritten the letter and is off to a great start. She agreed to work for a low hourly rate of $25 but with a 10% commission structure. If the Assoc Membership program becomes successful, it may be easier for WR to implement a corporate sales program.

Survey Analysis:

  • WR has 3 surveys to share with members: WFA results; Visitor Feedback; Membership Feedback. These surveys were condensed by Honore Comfort. Long-term WR needs to determine frequency of surveys, length of surveys, best delivery format, and budget to prepare the data (i.e., Honore’s fee).
  • Possibly create a monthly “non-task force” of Brian, Honore, Beth and Devin to review WR surveys. Look at key performance indicators and drill down top 3-5 points that can affect members’ business.
  • Short term: Devin to create a short video introduction (instead of, or in addition to a written cover letter) to introduce WFA survey. At the same time, WR will include a short 5 question survey about WW. Membership survey to be sent in early March. Need to determine when to send Visitor survey.
  • Lodging meeting needed to determine if By-laws should be changed to include winery guesthouses; a lodging membership would also be required.
  • WR to remarket the Tasting Pass.

10:25  New Business


Future Meeting Dates:

-Full Board, February 13, 9:00 –at Seghesio Winery, Ann Peterson of Winegrowers of DC as guest. Additionally, Clark Wolf will attend WFA Task Force meeting directly following Board Meeting. Everyone is invited to attend (10:30-11:30am) to meet Clark and develop plans to elevate WFA 2019.

-Executive Board, March 13, 9:00am Wine Road Office

-Full Board RETREAT – April 10 & 11– location TBD

Please note, meeting dates have been changed to the 2nd WEDNESDAY of the month.


Posted by Beth Costa