We are very pleased to bring the Wine Tourism Conference in its fourth year to Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County. An estimated 200 wine and tourism leaders are expected at the November 12-14, 2014 conference. Register now for WTC14
Vineyard managers are mopping up the last bits of the 2014 #PasoWine harvest, winemakers are starting to think about catching up on their sleep, and barrels and tanks are bubbling with activity as the fruits of the labor in San Luis Obispo County slowly but surely evolve into wine. The respite between harvest and the holidays allows us all to look forward to…the upcoming Wine Tourism Conference in Paso Robles November 12-14, 2014!
Thursday Optional Wine Pairing Dinner Added
With the help of #WTC14 friend, Mallory Spann of the Paso Robles Downtown Winery Association, we have organized an optional wine pairing dinner at Second Press Wine Bar & Eatery on Thursday, November 13 at 6:30 PM. The restaurant is a 2 minute walk from the Paso Robles Inn and features a four-course meal paired with wines from the area. Cost is $65 including tax & gratuity. Seating is limited to 30 people and is available to registered conference attendees and their significant others. Tickets to this optional dinner can be purchased via this Eventbrite link. We will add a second dinner if the first sells out.
The Thursday dinner menu at Second Press Wine Bar & Eatery (810 11th Street, Paso Robles, 93446):
Pan Seared Scallop with Blood Orange Relish on a crispy Wonton (passed appetizer)
2012 Derby Pinot Gris
Crispy Braised Pork Belly with Blackberry Vinaigrette and House made Kimchi
2010 Asuncion Ridge Pinot Noir
Grilled New Zealand Lamb Rack with Smoked Mozzarella Grits, Rainbow Swiss Chard and Huckleberry Red Wine Sauce
2008 Grizzly Republic Gypsy Noir
Petit Sirah Soaked Cherry Dark Chocolate Ganache Bar with Cherry Gastrique and Vanilla Ice Cream
2011 Clayhouse Petite Sirah
Wine Tourism Conference Lodging Update
As of October 23, there remains one (yes, one!) room left in the #WTC14 room block at the conference hotel, the Paso Robles Inn in downtown Paso Robles. This remaining room is going at the rate of $169 + tax. After our room block is sold out, the room rates go up. The Paso Robles Inn is this year’s conference hotel and will house all the conference content as well as the pre-conference Workshops.
There are a number of alternative lodging options in Paso Robles. #WTC14 Elite Sponsor, the Travel Paso Robles Alliance, lists a number of lodging options in the area on the Experiences section of their website.
Getting To and From Paso Robles
Paso Robles is located approximately mid-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles. For those of you flying to the area, renting a car is probably the easiest transportation option. The drive from LAX (and nearby airports, which can be cheaper) is approximately 3.5 hours while the drive from the north ranges from 2.5 hours (San Jose) to three hours (San Francisco) to four hours (Sacramento). You might consider posting on our group Facebook page as the conference gets closer if you wish to share a ride with fellow attendees. Another option is to fly to the much closer San Luis Obispo airport.
Extend Your Stay in the Area
The Martin Resorts collection of premier hotels, which includes the Paso Robles Inn, is offering conference delegates discounted rates at area properties. Simply ask for the WTC rates when you book your room. Come to the region early or stay after to enjoy this beautiful and unique California region. For details, please visit this special Martin Resorts page for WTC Attendees.
This year’s Wine Tourism Conference offers four pre-conference Workshop options on Wednesday, November 12. These 3 hour sessions represent in-depth, hands on learning in a smaller environment. We still have room left to participate in these Workshops. The Workshops are open to registered attendees of the Conferences as well as non-registered attendees. You can choose to attend one session in the morning and/or one in the afternoon. Cost is $125 to participate in one and $200 to participate in two. Workshops offered:
Wednesday, November 12
8:30-11:30 AMCreating Engaging Wine Country Events OR Creating and Growing a Wine Tour Operator Business
- lunch on your own –
1-4 PMMobile Marketing OR Excelling as a Wine or Wine Tourism Association
Please visit this link for descriptions of each pre-conference Workshop
1) If you are ALREADY registered for the conference OR would like to only attend one or two Workshops without registering for the conference, you can register via this link.
2) If you still need to register for the conference AND would also like to attend one or two Workshops, you can register via this link.
We look forward to seeing you in Paso Robles for the Wine Tourism Conference this November 12-14, 2014!
One of our four optional pre-conference intensive workshops is titled “Creating Engaging Activities and Events”. We have a fantastic panel of five event creators ready to provide information on the successes and challenges they have experienced in creating wine country events.
Stacie Jacob, CEO Visit San Luis Obispo County – Moderator
- Stacie is extremely familiar with wine country events on both a winery and regional level through her work leading Visit San Luis Obispo County and previously Paso Wine.
Rey Ledda, Executive Director of Integrated Marketing, Sunset Publishing
- Rey will discuss why Sunset is interested in events and highlight the magazine’s event strategy for Sunset including SAVOR the Central Coast, Celebration Weekend, and other partner events.
Holly Holiday, Owner of Create Promotions
- Holly has been active in creating engaging wine and food events that offer a unique twist. Learn more about Bacon and Barrels and its multi-city tour and a new event, Bubblyfest. Hear how Holly combines food and wine assets in unique destinations to create audience engagement
Luke Udsen, California Sales & Marketing and Director of Social Media at Castoro Cellars
- Castoro Cellars culminated 30 years in business by creating a truly unique winery music event, Beaverstock. Capitalizing on their brand mascot, the beaver, celebrating a 30-year milestone in business and bringing together their Sunday concert series, this annual event creates a compelling brand position and engages Castoro’s expansive customer base.
Kendall Carson, Wine Club Manager at Halter Ranch Vineyard
- Halter Ranch has a series of winemaker dinners, vineyard hikes, jeep tours and other unique events that rarely make it to their website calendar before filing up with wine club members. Building brand loyalty through their wine club by offering exclusive wine-club-only events have proven successful for this growing Paso Robles brand. Through a series of renovations on the property, Halter Ranch continues to create unique events that keep their customers coming back for more.
This session will discuss how events are a key part of the marketing mix. Events have a variety of purposes with a common goal to create an experience and a brand impression. This workshop is for everyone: Wineries create events with a key focus to sell wine, organizations create events for fundraising purposes, destination marketing organizations create events to generate traffic that helps fill heads in beds, and publications are part of events to look for further engagement for their advertisers and to connect with readers.
We all know marketing to Millennials is a hot topic. But marketing to Millennials misses the point in two ways.
First, it is not Millennials’ purchasing decisions but the way they view the culture of wine as different. Second, it is not simply Millennials but everyone who makes purchasing decisions via their smart phones, the web, and social media who see wine within this new culture and who need to be treated in a modern way.
Alan Kropf of Mutineer Magazine and Mutant Drink Marketing will talk about the new wine tourism consumer and how (and how not to) market to her. The title of his talk is Marketing Your Wine Tourism Business in the New Culture of Wine. Some examples of what Alan will discuss:
- The modern wine tourism consumer does not want to be marketed to. He wants to have a conversation with you.
- Negative reports of your business will happen. Don’t defend. Acknowledge.
- Marketing is now more than just reaching new consumers. It involves creating interesting content and educating your community.
- The new consumer is willing to pay more for a more personal experience. She wants to have special experiences and a connection with you, the provider.
Alan Kropf, founder and president of Mutineer Magazine and Mutant Drinks Marketing, is a leader among the next generation of beverage professionals.
Kropf is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, holds an Advanced Certificate with Merit through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, is a Certified Beer Server through the Cicerone Certification Program and holds a Bartending/Mixology Certificate through National Bartenders Bartending School.
Mutant Drink Marketing was founded in 2009 as a sister company to Mutineer Magazine, and operates as the marketing arm of the Mutineer Media Group. Mutant Drink Marketing is a full-service agency providing beverage marketing consulting services with a focus on millennials and new media, including events, creative work, strategic development, trade marketing, web services and social media.
We are super excited to have one of our four pre-conference workshops focused solely on associations: Excelling as a Wine or Wine Tourism Association.
Associations are not the majority of attendees but they are a significant component of the conference. In past years, we have had a two-hour open discussion among association attendees that served as a means of sharing ideas and creating new initiatives. Wine Tourism Day came out of that process.
Now, we have expanded this session to three hours and instead of just making it an open discussion, have brought in four experts to provide insights into their successes as an association. Our panelists include:
- Miles Prodan from the British Columbia Wine Institute
- Camron King from Lodi Wine
- Jackie Saunders from Visit Loudoun County
- Wendy van Diver from Touring & Tasting Marketing and Media, who will serve as workshop moderator
Topics will include funding, growing membership, partnering with other associations and area businesses, gaining public exposure, working with the press, national wine tourism initiatives, and more. Please be prepared to leave with plenty of ideas to further your own association’s goals but also to contribute your successes and challenges to the general discussion!
A Note from Martin Resorts and the 2014 WTC host hotel, the Paso Robles Inn
Explore San Luis Obispo County with Martin Resorts
As the host hotel for the 2014 Wine Tourism Conference, the Paso Robles Inn is delighted to welcome conference delegates to Paso Robles and California’s Central Coast. The Paso Robles Inn- a newly renovated historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Paso Robles is the perfect blend of relaxation, dining, hot springs, and beautiful historic event spaces. Located in Wine Enthusiast’s 2013 Wine Region of the Year, the Paso Robles Inn invites you to take time to explore Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo County.
Attending the Wine Tourism Conference provides the perfect opportunity to extend your stay and make your trip to Paso Robles a Central Coast vacation! Top destinations within the county include: Pismo Beach, Avila Beach and Paso Robles. Take a walk on the boardwalk or rent a four-wheel ATV and ride the dunes in Pismo Beach. Learn to surf or take a tour of an historic lighthouse in Avila Beach. Wine taste or visit a lavender farm in Paso Robles.
Martin Resorts, a collection of premier hotels on the Central Coast including the Paso Robles Inn, makes it easy to explore other areas of San Luis Obispo County by offering a special 15% discount at any Martin Resorts property for those delegates interested in extending their stay pre or post conference. Please visit: http://www.martinresorts.com/wineconference to make reservations.
With all the endless options of activities to do in the area, making your vacation itinerary can be overwhelming. From the best places to grab a bite to eat to the hiking trails that boast the prettiest views, Martin Resorts has created a guide that helps visitors navigate their way to the best the San Luis Obispo County has to offer. To download your own copy of the 101 Reasons to Exit Highway 101 guide please visit: http://media.martinresorts.com/d/martinresorts/media/Pdf/101_Document_2ndEdition_web_3.pdf.
If you are interested in extending your stay here are some of our favorite reasons to visit in the area that will make your getaway unforgettable.
- Reason #76: Hearst Castle
- Hearst Castle is one of the largest historic house museums in the U.S. Hearst Castle is a must-see on the Central Coast with its unique architecture and magnificent décor. HearstCastle.org
- Reason #10: Pismo Beach
- This beautiful, classic California beach is only a 40 minute drive from Paso Robles. Pismo Beach offers long white beaches for taking a pleasant stroll or for just enjoying the spectacular views of the sunset. ClassicCalifornia.com
- Reason #79: Central Coast Food Tours
- Enjoy insider access to some of the best cuisine the Central Coast has to offer with Central Coast Food Tours. Between food and beverage tastings, their enthusiastic guides share interesting facts and trivia about the city’s cultural, architectural and historical heritage. CentralCoastFoodTours.com
- Reason #100: Central Coast Outdoors
- Enjoy biking in wine country with Central Coast Outdoors. Choose from a half day or full day private bike tour in Paso Robles or Edna Valley complete with wine tasting and a gourmet picnic lunch. CentralCoastOutdoors.com
There is so much to do and explore within an hour of Paso Robles – we hope you take the time to extend your Wine Tourism Conference experience throughout the Central Coast!
Sonoma State University has been a Wine Tourism Conference advocate for many years. This University’s involvement in the world of wine is deeply rooted and their academic wine programs, offered through the Wine Business Institute, represent the academic and forward thinking relationship between the university and the wine industry. The WTC recently chatted with Ray Johnson, Director of Sonoma State’s Wine Business Institute , about their flagship Wine MBA program and the 12-month, online certificate program in wine business management and what these programs mean for the global world of wine tourism.
MBA in Wine Business
Sonoma State’s MBA in Wine Business was the first masters degree program in wine business in the United States. Founded in 2008 in order to “meet the demands of the growing business of wine”, according to Johnson, the MBA in Wine Business at SSU remains the only university in North America that offers this kind of degree program. Ray offers:
More and more people are working in the wine industry and in all different aspects of the business. The wine industry is a highly competitive environment – the MBA in Wine Business services a niche in the wine business world and allows students to sharpen their skills.
The core program content of this wine specific MBA doesn’t differ from SSU’s other MBA programs. It builds upon it’s other educational platform and focuses on themes and issues pertinent to wine: wine industry compliance and law, sustainability in the wine hospitality industry, global wine business, global marketing strategies, international supply chain management, and marketing and sales strategies for wine.
Wine Tourism and the MBA in Wine Business
An additional focus of the MBA in Wine Business is hospitality and wine tourism management. Ray highlights that “wine tourism is an economic driver for regions and can have tremendous benefits.” While there are, literally, hundreds of wineries within 25 miles of the Wine Business Institute, Ray is quick to note that the “wine industry of California, as a whole, is in collaboration with each other and not in competition. All of us involved in wine desire to promote wine country as a whole.”
In regards to the upcoming Wine Tourism Conference in Paso Robles:
We (at Sonoma State University) are very supportive of Allan and the team that organizes the Wine Tourism Conference. The conference is a way for people to take time out of their daily activities to reflect and study and share best practices for growing the (wine tourism) pie.
Wine Business Management Certificate
The Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State also contributes, educationally, to the ever-important role of wine tourism with their online, yearlong certificate in Wine Business Management. This program began in 2011 and to date, people from a dozen countries have participated in the certificate program. Johnson further adds that:
Our online program allows people interested in getting into the wine industry to access important wine industry business principles from wherever they live. We are very excited about the results of this (relatively new) program and look forward to it’s continued success as an accessible yet robust program.
As Ray points out, “The business of wine is not always as glamorous as the tasting of wine and the Wine Business Institute offers many degree and certificate programs for the seasoned wine industry professional and those who have the “wine bug” and desire to test out their interest into getting into the business.”
One of the wine tourism topics of conversation Ray looks forward to diving into at this year’s Wine Tourism Conference in Paso Robles is how to create better wine experiences for wine region tourists. “It has to be so much more than just tasting the wine….how do we create an experience for the customer that is truly memorable?” The organizers of the conference have also identified this as a critical topic of conversation for 2014 and are offering a pre-conference Workshop titled, “Creating Engaging Activities & Events”, which aims to spark new ideas regarding how to turn “just tasting” into an equitable and memorable experience for wine tourists.
The Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University also has other news to celebrate: the Wine Spectator magazine has gifted them the generous funds for the new “Wine Spectator Learning Center” which will house the new home for all wine degree and certificate program offerings at Sonoma State University starting in late 2016.
Thank you, Sonoma State University, for your participation in and support of the Wine Tourism Conference. We look forward to seeing you in beautiful Paso Robles, CA this November 12-14!
We are excited to offer a pre-Wine Tourism Conference workshop titled “Creating and Growing a Wine Tour Operator Business”. The workshop will take place at the Paso Robles Inn on Wednesday, November 12th from 8:30 – 11:30 AM.
The Workshops at the WTC are designed to provide more time for in-depth presentations and discussions of specific topics. This topic, naturally, will be of interest to anyone already running a wine tour company or thinking of entering the business.
We have six great presenters in this workshop, each of whom brings a different viewpoint to the discussion:
- Coy Barnes, The Wine Wrangler: The Wine Wrangler is a very successful traditional local wine tour operator, providing transportation, access to wineries, and guides for tours of the great Paso Robles area.
- Larry Martin, Food and Wine Trails: Larry’s destination tour company takes more than 3,000 wine lovers a year to over 25 different countries. He’s designed wine education trips for over 100 wineries and has been recognized for three years as the “World’s Best Wine Travel Specialist” by the editors of Conde Nast Traveler.
- Laura Gurreau, Central Coast Food Tours: While Laura’s company does run tours focused on wine, her primary focus is on food tours of the local area, including walking day tours of San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. Laura will be able to bring this varied perspective to the presentation.
- Virginia and John Flaherty, Central Coast Outdoors: Virginia and John run kayaking, biking, and hiking tours of the Central Coast region of California. They do have Wine Country tours as well but bring to the table a very unique perspective that will be interesting for those in the wine tour business.
- Sarah Wolcott, Zephyr Adventures: Zephyr Adventures is not only organizer of the Wine Tourism Conference but has been running active tours around the globe for the past 17 years, including active wine, beer, and food tours. Zephyr is increasing its emphasis on this area with the launch of the upscale Taste Vacations brand. Sarah will serve as moderator of the workshop.
The Workshop will include these veteran tour industry members providing their experiences but will also consist of group discussion, so participants should be prepared to contribute with their own perspectives and questions. Topics will include:
- Deciding on a niche
- Determining your target customer
- Creating a business entity
- Getting insurance
- Creating a website
- Creating tours
- Hiring guides
- Keeping and using a customer database
We think this is a unique opportunity and hope you can join us! The Workshop costs $125 and you do not need to be registered for the conference to participate. Just visit the Register page of this website to sign up.
The Wine Tourism Conference is a chance for anyone involved in the business of wine to meet with and learn from industry peers as well as from professionals whose knowledge is pertinent to tourism. The Agenda and Program Content for the 2014 Wine Tourism Conference in Paso Robles is robust and full of detailed workshops and sessions that will spark new ideas, cement ideas that have been percolating, and positively impact your wine business.
The Optional Pre-Conference Workshops at the 2014 WTC are additions to the regular Agenda. These Workshops, happening on Wednesday, November 12, offer four, separate sessions: two in the morning and two in the afternoon – participants can choose one workshop to go to in the morning and one to attend in the afternoon. Cost is $125 to attend one workshop and $200 to attend both a morning and an afternoon session. Consider adding on to your Wine Tourism Conference learning by participating in these smaller, educational and hands-on Workshops.
Wednesday, November 12
8:30-11:30 AM Optional Pre-Con Workshops
Creating Engaging Activities and Events
Events create revenue in and of themselves but, more importantly, often create long-lasting relationships with your customers. Have you been struggling to create something beyond the ubiquitous winemaker dinner? This workshop will dive deep into what other cutting-edge events are being done by wineries, restaurants, hotels, and wine regions around the country or world. In addition to hearing from our experts, please come prepared to share your creative ideas so everyone who attends can go home with a raft of new events to consider.
Creating and Growing a Wine Tour Operator Business
If you are interested to start a tour company or wishing to grow the one you already started this is the workshop for you! You will learn from several established tour operators about selecting a niche, identifying your target market, marketing, insurance, employees, and more. In addition to presentations by established, successful operators this session will include significant group discussion as we share ideas, talk strategies, and make friendships.
1:00-4:00 PM Optional Pre-Con Workshops
According to Pew Internet Research, as of May 2013, 90% of US adults have a mobile phone, 63% of adult mobile phone owners use their phones to go online, and 34% go online mostly using their phones, not some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer. This means – as of May 2013 – 31% of adults in the US are primarily surfing and shopping the web using their cell phone. If you are not engaging in the mobile world, you are falling behind. This workshop will cover mobile web sites, apps, tablets, geo marketing, and some of the newer social media platforms targeted towards mobile.
Excelling as a Wine or Wine Tourism Association
In this session, seasoned non-profit association professionals will share their secrets to success. You should come away knowing better how to promote your region, including funding, growing membership, partnering with area businesses, gaining public exposure, working with the press, and more. This session replaces the Industry Track sessions of prior years and is the best place to meet and greet your fellow association professionals.
* Please note: lunch is not provided on Wednesday *
Cost is $125 for one workshop or $200 for both a morning and an afternoon workshop. You can register for the pre-conference workshops at the time you register for the conference or by using this separate Wine Tourism Conference Event Registration Form.
We look forward to seeing you in Paso Robles, CA, for the 2014 Wine Tourism Conference this November!
The 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference (#WBC14 on Twitter) took place two weeks ago in Santa Barbara County with great reviews about the Santa Barbara area and wines. Blogging guests experienced wine country to the fullest, learning about the area, people, and wines behind vibrant Santa Barbara wine country. 350+ bloggers and industry representatives attending the conference. One social media recap from WBC14 attendee, Hilarie Larson and via Twitter sums up the takeaways:
My head is still full of ideas thx to #WBC14. Now to find more time in the day.
Pertinent to the Wine Tourism Conference, the WBC14 pre-conference excursion took wine blogging guests all through the Paso Robles area for a day and a half. The Paso Wine pre-conference organizer, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Communications Director, Chris Taranto, estimated attendees had the opportunity to taste 150 wines from 50 different wineries during the excursion. More important to the wine country guests, however, was the warm welcome they received from the regional wine industry – the pre-conference excursion was highly rated and speaks to the organization, authenticity and great vibe in Paso Robles wine country. Please read about the pre-conference tour on this blog post on the Wine Bloggers Conference website.
Each year at the Wine Tourism Conference, a neighboring region hosts a pre-conference excursion, providing meals, winery visits, talks, and tastings. Paso Robles, which will host this year’s Wine Tourism Conference, took on that task.
We are looking forward to experiencing the same great hospitality and experience at the 2014 Wine Tourism Conference!
The Paso Robles wine region in California is in the middle of a renaissance. Or, rather, the Paso Robles wine tradition is now on the radar of many wine enthusiasts and travelers who are looking outside their normal haunts for authentic wines and locales. The 2014 Wine Tourism Conference will be held in Paso Robles this November 12-14, 2014, and we are enthusiastic to convene in this exciting wine region.
The history of the Paso Robles wine region, like many great wine areas in the world, has religious roots. The Franciscan Friars who served at various missions in the area in the late 18th Century are originally responsible for planting grapes for sacramental wine production (although they did make brandy for export, too, and perhaps just a little for personal consumption). These vineyards were abandoned after Mexico secularized the missions in the 1830’s and it wasn’t until the 1850’s that wine production in the area was revitalized and after California’s statehood. Many Europeans arrived in the 1850’s and with vinifera plantings from their home countries, including imported Zinfandel.
Zinfandel is the region’s heritage wine grape variety. The Paso Robles AVA is well known for its Zinfandel prowess although Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties make up 55% of the total planted acreage in the AVA. There are over 40 different varieties produced in the AVA and proprietary, non-traditional blends of Bordeaux, Rhone, Zinfandel and Spanish varieties are also particularly well regarded. Curiously, the genetic origin of “California Zinfandel” has been a bit of a mystery until recently – the Wine Institute reports that the grape used in California Zinfandel probably originated in Croatia. Cheers to this Balkan country for giving us Zin! And thank you Paso Wine for all the great information on your AVA.
The Paso Robles AVA was officially designated in 1983 with just a handful of charter wineries and 5,000 vineyard acres. Fast-forward to today: it is California’s fastest growing American Viticultural Area, with over 200 licensed and bonded wineries and over 32,000 acres in winegrape production. Because of the maritime influence over the AVA, there is a distinct variation in daytime and nighttime temperatures. This affords fruit maturation during the day and balanced acidity levels at night. Paso Robles itself is just 40 minutes from the ocean and the westernmost boundary of the AVA is just 6 miles from the sea.
The AVA roughly forms a rectangle 35 miles from east to west and 25 miles from north to south. It’s proximity to the ocean and the sheer variability contained with the AVA give the Paso Robles wine region the ability to produce a dynamic set of wines and all with their own unique expression. The AVA encompasses 614,000 total acres. Within these confines are: 30 distinct soil series (primarily bedrock derived marine and volcanic from the Miocene Age Monterey Formation), many microclimates, and topography that includes river bottoms, rolling hills, flat lands, and mountains. 11 sub-AVAs have been proposed for distinction within the Paso Robles AVA; the region awaits final word regarding these proposed sub-AVAs. Experiencing the wines from this region is exciting – so many different styles and varieties!
Nestled halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles along California’s Central Coast, the “City of Oaks” is charming with a population of just 32,000. But don’t let the small-town feel fool you: the wines and wineries are sophisticated, the dining options are hip and delicious, and the region’s more laid-back approach to their wine industry is awesome. We are pumped to host the Wine Tourism Conference in this sizzling, original wine region!
Registration for the Wine Tourism Conference is open and we look forward to seeing you in Paso Robles this November.