2-day Board Retreat – April 18-19, 2018

Beth Costa on May 22, 2018

These minutes are pending Board approval

DAY 1, April 18

WINE TOURISM (Marketing)

What “IS” Wine Tourism?(Numbers in Green relate to Wine Road Tourism filters below)

  • Marketing promotion and advertising
  • Emotional
  • Connection to land (Sonoma County)
  • Experimental
  • Farm and land (Sonoma County)
  • Consumer focused ** #1
  • Itinerary focused – options, packages, choice, experience a range
  • Physical visit – wineries, hospitality (Sonoma County)
  • Food and wine (Sonoma County)
  • Immersive and interactive
  • Place-stories; Northern Sonoma County – (Our members – Sonoma County and AVA’s); emotional connection to place **#3 #4c
  • Learning – expand knowledge
  • Do more
  • Visitor – influence people to come and visit (summary statement) **#4b
    • Wine = brand (draw for visitor) – their stories
  • Personal – identify with something – diversity
  • Return and retain
  • Referrals
  • Concierge service – advisement
  • Recommending
  • Partnerships – restaurants
  • Community? Part of, fosters with tourism, engaging
  • Engaging tourists (stories) **4a
  • Wine Road Tourism – direct result to members
  • Escape – small town dream; rural – urban escape
  • Expectation for service and quality
  • Economic driver **#2
  • Profitable – conversion to sales **#2

What “ISN’T” Wine Tourism?

  • Cookbook we stopped doing – time suck, not driving wine
  • Wine scores – objective evaluations
  • Logistics – shipping wine
  • Picking a restaurant for visitors
  • Sonoma County (as a whole)
  • Fundraising (Art of the Oak) – philanthropy
    • For the sake of giving
  • Not government relations or advocacy



The board completed a brief survey ranking the core services of Wine Road. The top ranking results were:

  1. Three annual events
  2. Website
  3. Social media
  4. Small events
  5. Map, Podcast, Wine Road App
  6. Events on the road
  7. Hosting press, community, member seminars, wine festivals
  8. Partnerships, trade and travel shows, newsletter



  • Events
  • Communication (push)
    • Member communication
    • Visitor communication
  • Marketing (response advertising)
  • Digital marketing
  • Collaboration

Communication – defined

  • Member
    • Best practices
    • What are we doing
    • How you can be involved
  • Push – one way

Collaboration – defined

  • Sonoma County working with partners
  • San Francisco
  • Reach more people – sharing resources

Marketing – defined

  • Promotion
  • Public Relations – press, media relations, unpaid exposure
  • Advertising – paid exposure
  • Media – digital and social
    • Consumer focused – website
  • Map

Events = Events

  • Big three
  • Small events – Rhone varietals
  • Events on the road




The board agreed to identify the following core areas of Wine Road Tourism and to use these areas as filters to determine whether or not a service or program should continue or be a part of Wine Road.

  • Consumer Focused
  • Economic driver – profitable conversion


  • Engage and influence visitation
  • “Wine Road” story telling (place, emotional connections, stories of members, personal experience)


What Services or Programs should Wine Road KEEP?

  • Member education tied to our CORE!
  • Annual meeting –
    • Collaboration with our partners – consider fee for display table
    • Affiliation with Wine Road
  • Event boost – relationship with other event groups; cross promote other events such as other AVA groups
  • Events – quality versus quantity
  • Small events – enhance or build upon large event such as breakfasts, winemaker dinners
  • Events – more people know about them; promote them
    • Consider a fourth major event?
  • Brand awareness – Wine Road and members; a deliverable from Wine Road Tourism
    • Consumer understanding of Wine Road brand
    • Incorporate Wine Road into event names – Wine Road Wine and Food Affair
    • Use blog to support building Wine Road brand
  • Digital marketing and media
    • Evaluate each, enhance
    • Weekly podcasts (keep Wine Road in mind with thread to come back)
  • Messaging around on-going visitation for members
    • Modify website
    • Around Wine Road Tourism
  • Podcast – cliff hangers; come back next week
    • Insider information
    • Build a following
  • Redwood Empire Food Bank donation
  • Collaboration with AVA groups, Sonoma County Tourism
  • Consumer newsletter – 50,000 subscribers
  • Sonoma House? – should Wine Road do it again or partner with Sonoma County Tourism
  • Video – consumer and member focused


What Services or Programs should Wine Road DISCARD?


  • San Francisco travel
  • Government relationships
  • CPR and like training
  • Member education – let a partner do it
  • Mystery tours
  • Festivals
  • Blog
  • Speaker at meetings – tie to Wine Road Tourism filters for yes or no
  • Auction for members
  • Pure Luxury Transportation
  • On the Road – no plans to continue
  • Member coddling needs to end
  • High School scholarships




  • Wine Road Tourism (filters) – applying them
  • Core focus areas – identified and defined
  • Priorities – keep and discard
  • Next up – innovation, creativity, responsive, focus and goals




DAY 2, April 19: GOALS



Sonoma House Shift to Sonoma County Tourism
Participation – Set by rising tide, lifts all ships


Goal – every collaborative activity = Ex: Canine Companion Partnership

o  Input vs. output

o  Charity and good will

o  Income producing

o  Brand building

Action: Review calendars of all AVA groups for cross promote activities


Goal – strengthen relationships with AVA groups

o  Cross promotion evidence

2018 – 2019














2018 – 2019

Redwood Empire Food Bank – Explore how to have a return on investment through cross promotion of Wine Road events 2018 – 2019


Explore how to partner and collaborate with restaurants Five year goal
Explore partner program with mutual benefits for participation Five year goal



Annual Meeting – How to increase member attendance and participation

o  Partner with 3 other AVA’s and Wine Road – one event

o  Social element

o  Consider vendor participation – display tables

2018 – 2019


Member education tied only to Wine Road events

o  Video the training to share with members

2018 – 2019 & Five year




Website – Redesign

o  Photos – more and new

o  No member pages

o  Home page flexibility to change

o  Events – main focus on home page

o  Ongoing visitation

o  More videos

o  Easy to find – info graphics

o  Map – our location

2018 – 2019 – after messaging and brand


Core Wine Road message – Review, revise and launch

o  Brand and name

o  SEO search

o  Our location – Sonoma County, Northern Sonoma County

o  We want to be the BEST!

2018 – 2019




Major Events – Quality initiatives

o  Consumer experience

§  Increase quality of consumer attending

§  Explore exclusivity

§  2-tier ticketing system

o  Member readiness – continue to have learning opportunities

o  Sharing stories – during and post event

§  Add to improvements

o  More promotion of the event outcomes

§  Post messaging

§  Show members the outcomes – why we do it?

o  Highlight best practices

o  Emphasize human resource training

o  Build awareness among winery owners

o  Enhance grass roots knowledge among members

§  Create ambassadors and evangelists

§  Create the personal relationship with members


Action: Create a success matrix for major events

Action: Examine marketing focus to increase quality attendees

2018 – 2019 & Five year

Constant Quality Improvement


Pre-event event

o   Consider higher end experience prior to and post event

§  An elevated experience

o   Platinum level ticket – extra event or activity

§  Create scarcity at higher end

2018 – 2019


Consider making an event high end – like Winter Wineland

(leave Barrel Tasting alone)

o   Evaluate if the mother ship (Barrel Tasting) event is solid

2018 – 2019


Harvest experience event – high end

o   Consider partnership

Five year


Fourth event – have two wine and food events, fall and spring Five year



o   Brand first, then messaging

2018 – 2019


Consumer Newsletter

o   Continue, tweak as needed

2018 – 2019



o   Move to weekly

o   Increase promotion

2018 – 2019



o   Do more, incorporate into newsletter

2018 – 2019


Digital marketing

o   Evaluate types, destination

o   Modify as needed

o   Outcomes driven

2018 – 2019




Member dues

o   Consider a tiered dues structure (perhaps based on case production)

§  What do other AVA’s do for dues

§  Share research with Board

o   Be sure purpose and message on the why is solid

2019 – 2020 & Five year


Board member and committee member recruitment

o   Active identification and recruitment

o   Grid spreadsheet (Scott to share)

o   Create project oriented taskforces

Wine Industry Scholarships

o   Move to discard list

2019 Board Retreat

o   Beth check-in on priorities, keep items, losing discard items; activities of Beth – are they in, out and at job description for position

o   Learnings and moving Wine Road needle

2018 – 2019


Goal Dashboard (Scott) – on board agenda with filters and core areas identified

o   Consider mini-retreat during the year to check-in on our plans

2018 – 2019



Posted by Beth Costa