Tuesday, May 31, 2016

BRAMBLES: Get Out & Taste!

Beaujolais Nouveau promotion in Japan

Seasonally warmer weather brings not only shorter sleeves, but also a broad selection of regional hospitality events.  Invitingly, this casual season encourages each of us out to explore the beauty of our landscape and the generosity of numerous social events that can seem on the surface to be revenue drivers for their respective winery venues. Visitors can be exposed to a head swirling number of choices at such events.  Which trending food truck to visit? Is it reasonable to stand in the longest line to sample a popular libation, or is time best served by quantity(visit as many as possible)?  Shall I leave my circle of friends and search out brands that are of no interest to them?

Wine sampling events have almost always been part of the business of wine.  Today, these popular festivals create the opportunity to expose your product(s)(brand) to many qualified new consumers in a controlled environment; to reduce the tasters broad, diluted market restrictions of choice; and sometimes even the restriction of a buying decision.  Consumers can enjoy them all!  But, ultimately a rewarding choice needs to be made by a consumer among a short list of visited brands. By virtue of their event pass consumers can feel, of course, that they paid for all of them!  But, if it is barrel tasting weekend or an AVA (American Viticultural Area) weekend pass, consumers are often guided, even encouraged, to try new brands that they have not previously enjoyed. Encouraged consumers at these wine events seem to be quite happy being in the select company of many others who appear to be really into the same thing: celebrating local wine.

Creative brands can actually maximize the events positive brand impact; being so distinct from their neighbor winery or offering an environment that is simply more fun.  Nearby, there are producers who get the reputation as being a 'party central' venue, or providing a most memorable wine experience. Other brands cultivate new business, collect valuable marketing information to begin a 'dating' period, promote their wine club sign-ups, and some even sell more wine than on a typical weekend. What we know is that a great consumer hospitality experience will typically encourage return visits to the brand, thus increasing the opportunity to bond lasting relationships between brand and consumer.

On a recent weekend, a small brand participating in an area event would have brought on more than twice the usual staffing, poured thru cases of their wine in sampling, and shared the brand with ten times as many visitors.  But, at the end of the day in most cases, the revenue generated by this grand exhibition would only be slightly above average.  And yet, expenses were far beyond what would normally be offered to daily operations.  Hopefully, there is reward as future customer contact information was retained, a few new wine clubs were signed up for long term sales gains, and those happy consumers who left you to visit another nearby venue will remember how special your wines and your hospitality really were.  This seasonal culling can only happen here in Wine Country if wine savvy consumers jump into the pool, to get out and taste the choice of diversity! 

Wine event venues in all varieties

Wine Links:
June 11: Sonoma County BEERFEST - http://www.beerfestthegoodone.com/
June 17 - 19: Gay Wine Weekend - http://www.outinthevineyard.com/
July 14 - 16: California Wine Festival Santa Barbara -  http://www.californiawinefestival.com/

Aug. 05 - 07: Outside Lands(WineLands) - http://www.sfoutsidelands.com/wine-lands
Aug 25 - 28: Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival - http://www.lafw.com/
Summer events: Dry Creek - http://www.drycreekvalley.org/events/
Summer events: Sonoma County - http://www.winecountry.com/events/category/sonoma-county/

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