State of the Wine Road

Beth Costa on Aug 6, 2020

Dear Members,

Wine Road, like many of you, is facing difficult business circumstances. Understandably, Wine Road has received questions about our state of operations and whether we considered a reduction in our annual assessments. The short answer is yes, although the board of directors realized that without the full dues, Wine Road would unlikely survive another loss … and we’re not willing to give up.

Unfortunately, Wine Road does not qualify for a PPP loan because we are a 501(c)6. We are hoping to be included in future loans if the program is expanded to assist our business classification.

Without our annual events of Wine & Food Affair, Winter Wineland, and Barrel Tasting, Wine Road is experiencing unprecedented losses.

· Last year we refunded $350k for the 2019 Wine & Food Affair which was canceled due to the PG&E power shutdowns. The remaining $40k will be refunded this month to those who elected to roll their ticket money over to 2020, an event which is now canceled.

· When Shelter-in-Place hit in March, we refunded $170k for the second weekend of Barrel Tasting. That is a $520k shortfall in revenue on top of event expenses already incurred.

· As for operating costs, we have made significant sacrifices. The Wine Road team has been furloughed since March, and I continue to volunteer my time to “keep the lights on” and make sure we’re doing everything we can to promote our members and drive traffic to this region.

· We have relinquished our warehouse space to further reduce our monthly expenses; a member winery graciously stepped up to store our event glasses and we’re working on a location to store our maps. Everything else is stored in our small office space – we’re calling it “Industrial Chic.”

While we are not in a position to rebate annual assessments, our board felt compelled to offer a split payment option to lighten the load while we all work through this challenging time. Assessment funds will enable Wine Road to continue to afford advertising, print and digital marketing, etc., activities which we believe deliver ongoing value to our members, especially when the majority of members are struggling to afford these types of activities on their own.

Our work has never been more vital. People all around the country are drinking wine – lots of it – and we want them to purchase and enjoy your wine. They are cautious but eager to travel, and we want them to enjoy your lodgings. We appreciate your support through membership and payment of annual assessment. There is strength in numbers, and together we will persevere in promoting Northern Sonoma County as the year-round wine country destination.

We thank you for your continued outpouring of support, including many thoughtful and caring emails to see how our small team is holding up, as well as responding with prompt payment of your 2020 annual assessments.

With Gratitude,

Beth Costa

This attachment provides a snapshot of some of our marketing efforts over the past 4 months.

Posted by Beth Costa