Everyone knows the number of visitors has dropped in the Napa Valley and all wine country regions. As seasoned travelers to the wine country, we know that there are a number of strategies that wineries can do to win back visitors and keep them coming back for more. We have talked to loads of tourist on our winery treks and from those conversations and our own experiences, here are just a few ideas that we think will encourage visitors. These are not necessarily in order of priority.
Tasting fees applied to the purchase of wine. It just makes good P.R. sense and we honestly do not understand why so few do this. It is a “win-win” for all.
Team up with hotels, websites, restaurants, the Destination Council, and provide two-for-one tasting coupons. We know a lot of wineries have these but few visitors know about them.
Offer a price range of wines with at least one wine in the price range of $15 for the budget-minded traveler.
Have something on sale each week. When we visit the wine country of Paso Robles, we always stop in at Castoro winery no matter what. Why, because they always seem to have a sale that is a fantastic value. It keeps us coming back.
For the smaller wineries, it is always nice to meet and become friends with one of the owners or winemakers. It is so nice to be recognized when you walk into the tasting room.
If things are slow and there are two people working the tasting room, how about “let me show you around.” Even a five-minute tour provides that personal touch.
Picnic areas are important to people. Get that picnic permit. We always go back to Robert Sinskey, Rutherford Hill, or Diamond Oaks for a pleasurable view and peaceful picnic lunch with a glass of wine. The new Picnic Law allows one to sell a glass of wine.
Make the experience memorable. When we open a bottle of wine, it always tastes better when there is a story behind the wine. Educate your guests.
There is a big potential of Spanish speaking wine travelers. What about a few tours in Spanish offered once every so often.
Don’t be so hoity toity about the wine. Most wine travelers like it fun and merry and not so serious. We are really bugged when the host caters to a wine snob and neglects the rest of us. Be nice to all!
Rethink the wine club. They all seem to be the same. Provide more flexibility and more perks.
Offer more wine and food pairings. Wine always tastes better with food. Make it an educational experience. Don’t charge an arm and leg for the event just break-even.
Keep your Website up-to-date. Keep a good email list. Keep your emails short and sweet and offer something interesting for a visit.
Facebook Fan page and Twitter may not be that important as yet. However, remember ten years ago or so, when wineries were wondering if they should have a Website or not.