WR Board Meeting – August 9, 2018

Beth Costa on Oct 1, 2018

Wine Road Board of Directors

August 9, 2018 – 8:30-12:40

Geyserville Inn




8:30 – Call to order

New Board member introductions

  1. Oded Shakked, Longboard Vineyards
  2. Stephanie Wycoff, Seghesio Family Vineyards
  3. Lillian Nichelson, Francis Ford Coppola


Additional attendees included: Honore Comfort (moderator), Carla Jeffries, Julia Lander, Joe Foppoli, Mike Salinas, John Viszlay, Chris Lynch, Thomas Schwarting, Stacy Rafanelli, Carri Holdredge, Beth Costa       Absent: Devin Ruddick, Jenny Lamarre


8:45 – Review Retreat Goals & Progress To Date


8:55 – Who are we? Wine Tourism & Wine Road Positioning

  • Review Wine Tourism definition from retreat (reviewed notes)


Wine Tourism defined as Consumer Focused. Four segments include:

1) Visit: Key words/phrases: WR Life is Unprocessed; Rural Dream

Highlight sense of community among wineries. Customers to experience all, both large and small, new and old.


WR to create tailored, curated itineraries, customer focused beyond the norm. Include every member included in at least one itinerary (i.e., dog friendly; kid friendly; organic gardening, etc.) to drive profitability to all members. Create 8-10 itineraries with 12-15 wineries each. Wineries need to update info highlighting what they’re doing that’s special, out of the norm.


2) Stories: Key words: Discoveries, personal stories, hidden gems. Stories to include video. Need demographics of consumers requesting itineraries; will help us know if we’re using the right media format.


3) Connect: Different audiences hear/read data differently. WR to collect basic customer data during concierge service (age, geographic location, etc)


4) Profitability: WR will be accountable to members by evaluating effectiveness of programs to drive sales/conversion.


  • Discussion including new Board members

Beth to go back to the 3 AVAs and re-invite them to attend WR’s annual (not to replace their meeting). WR to breakdown membership numbers by AVA. WR may use meeting as a recruitment tool by inviting non-members. Position the meeting as Tourism and how we can all work together. Have a dynamic guest speaker such as Mindy Joyce, Ester from SF Chronicle, and/or Rob McMillian of Silicon Valley Bank. SVB may give a sneak peak of their Jan. survey, and discuss data collection and surveys that WR members will be receiving in the future (added value for members).

  • Core messages & positioning:
    • WR to define itself to 1) members 2) visitors and 3) communities.
  • Communications strategy:
    • WR to craft key message for each of these three segments, and determine the appropriate outlet for each.




9:50 – Website Refresh – Progress Update

  • New focus – wine tourism. Possibly integrated calendars (events by the day vs. overall experiences)
  • Review work in progress & discussion

Website task force to determine names of sections, what data will be collected, data colors, how to approach seasonality, etc. Dec 1st is target date for completion.

Website Task Force: Chris, Stephanie, Julia, Oded


10:15 BREAK


10:30 – Taste the Future ~ Barrel Tasting

  • 2019 Event Objectives – from retreat
    • Increase ticket sales
    • Re-engage members; WR to offer members multiple BT seminars.
    • Bring new buyers: Gain access to customer lists of non-participating wineries (wineries that host Fri night event, but aren’t hosting full event).
  • Event Refresh Strategy
    • Friday night events
      • Goals & objectives: Start small, and test the Fri event.   Determine what to test, how to measure, and then communicate to other members after the event. BT Task Force to address issues below.
      • Format: Possibly 4 locations, 2 hours, heavy apps, 6 wines, $95 ticket price.
      • Winery participants: tbd (bigger wineries)
    • Advertising plan
      • Creative & positioning: “Taste the Future” – rustic elegance, fresh creative look (Ad “No. So. County” to the verbiage)
      • Target markets
      • Media plan & budget: Add more bloggers to plan. Starting 2 months earlier, spending more, and diversifying ads.
    • Promotional Video
      • Strategy: Planning testimonial videos of consumers & winemakers
      • Format
    • Winery VIP ticket concept
      • New attendees

MOTION Denied:

VIP Tasting: Voted NO to allowing wineries to purchase 10 tickets at ½ price. WR to continue offering 4 free tickets per winery.


  • Partnerships
    • Target large employers in bay area. Created a Task Force to identify more corporate or bulk buyers (i.e., Alaska Airlines, SVB, etc.).
      • Corp Sales Task Force: Lillian, John, and Carla. Rollout program Oct. 1
    • Goal – # of people or qualified buyers. Increase BT revenues via corporate sales. May or may not be qualified buyers, but will increase needed revenue.




11:30 Wine Road Brand Champions

  • Who are Wine Road Brand Champions?  These are our best customers; they spread the word and influence other consumers.
  • What is the intended goal?
    • Authentic, Word of Mouth
    • 3rd party endorsement
  • What can we do to encourage them?
    • What is important to them?
    • Can we sponsor/donate etc. – WR to sponsor one Brand Champion each month; sponsor their passion, invite them to lunch, tap into their social network. WR to create small gift basket/goodie bag to be presented upon arrival.

MOTION Approved– Allocated $600 per year for Brand Ambassadors


12:00 – Membership Development

  • Winery changes, addendums
    • Pour wines from Sonoma County, not just 3 AVAs

MOTION Approved. Create Addendum to by-laws: Non-appellation wines can be poured and advertised in the program and/or map

  • Promoting regional events along Wine Road
    • Proposed pricing structure. WR will implement an advertising package ranging from $200 to $1,000 to promote regional events (i.e., Paulee Dinner; or Olivet Lane). Conveys a value to WR’s advertising efforts.
  • Lodging Members – next steps
    • meeting with members, AirBnB, winery guest houses
    • Schedule lodging member meeting to determine if Lodging members want to allow vacation rentals to join.



12:30 – Conclusion & Next Steps

Board to check back in Dec to see how goals are progressing (April/Aug/Dec)



Task Force Meetings:

                  Corporate Sales:             8/22/18, 10am @ Christopher Creek


Messaging:                          8/22/18, 11am @ Christopher Creek

Attending both: Joe, John, Mike, Julia, Chris, Beth; Develop WR mission statement


Membership:  Date TBD, Mike & Beth for Lodging


Website:                                8/16/18 @ WR or Pembrook Studio, time tba

Attending: Chris, Beth


Barrel Tasting:                 9/7/18, 8:30-10am at WR office

Attending Devin, Joe, Carri, James, Carla, Stephanie, Lillian, and Debbi.


12:40 – Meeting ended, lunch at Geyserville Grille


Future Meeting Dates:

Full Board, September 13, 9:00am @Longboard; Honore Comfort to attend

Full Board, October 11, 9:00am – need location to seat 15 people

Executive Board, November 8, 9:00am Wine Road Office

Full Board, December 13, 11:00 – lunch meeting, location TBD

Posted by Beth Costa