Welcome to Fredericksburg and the Texas Hill Country

Welcome to Fredericksburg and the Texas Hill CountryThe first presentation at the 2016 Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference (after the pre-con Workshops and official welcome) will be a Welcome to Fredericksburg and the Texas Hill Country. By moving the conference to a new wine region each year, those visiting from out of state learn about that local region and including the specific challenges they face and successes they have achieved. In 2016, we are especially looking forward to hearing from the local area as Texas is booming in wine tourism and yet relatively unknown outside the area.

We have a great panel (see below) including a winery owner, grape grower, and tourism agency director. Our moderator is January Wiese, Executive Director of Texas Hill Country Wineries, the association that represents the member wineries of the Texas Hill Country region. As a long-time WMTC attendee and Advisory Board member, January assures us the panel will be highly interesting and educational for the audience, revealing the both the successes and challenges of wine tourism in Texas!

Chris Brundrett, co-founder of William Chris Wines, has established a career in the Hill Country as one of the state’s fastest rising young winegrowers. While earning a horticulture degree from Texas A&M, Chris spent time in the Hill Country, acquiring experience in the winery and the vineyard. He then quickly proceeded to take on head winemaking responsibilities for several wine labels, managing vineyard properties in both the Hill Country and the High Plains. In 2010, he planted the Brundrett Family Estate vineyard with his father Bruce in San Angelo, which will produce winegrapes exclusively for William Chris.

Andy Timmons of Lost Draw Cellars is a 4th generation farmer who grows cotton, peanuts, and wine grapes. He established his first vineyard in 2006 and now owns and manages over 500 acres of grapes in the Texas High Plains AVA. One of the winegrowing pioneers of Terry County, Andy is committed to producing quality Texas grapes on a consistent basis. Working with some of the best wineries in the state, Lost Draw Vineyards has won several awards including gold medals at the San Francisco, Dallas Morning News, and the Pacific Rim International Wine Competition. In 2014, Andy was awarded the T.V. Munson Award from the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association, which recognizes exemplary contribution to Texas grape growing.

Ernie Loeffler is President and CEO of the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau, which markets Fredericksburg and Gillespie County as a premier travel destination on the regional, national and international stages. Fredericksburg has many things to offer visitors, including its fascinating German history, but promoting the local food and wine is a major mission of the organization.
Needless to say, we have an excellent agenda and experts lined up for #WMTC16….get registered today!

New Sister Conference: Beer Marketing & Tourism

BMTC website

Zephyr Conferences is proud to announce our newest conference, the Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference. The conference will take place March 28-30, 2017 in Asheville, North Carolina.

Yes, this is a conference very similar to our Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference. We are now in our sixth year of running the WMTC so the new beer version is a bit later to the scene. But that is as you would expect; beer tourism itself is just now becoming established.

As a member of the wine industry, you are undoubtedly familiar with the raging craft beer industry. Here are some details for you.

  • The craft beer revolution is booming. Craft beer sales by volume in the US were up 12.8% in 2015 on top of 18% growth in 2014.
  • Don’t think the craft beer revolution has peaked. Craft beer represents only 12.2% of the US beer market and it continues to take market share from the big brewers.
  • There are now over 4,400 licensed breweries in the US. More get added almost every single day.
  • With increasing numbers of breweries, competition for tap room visitors and retail shelf space is becoming tougher. It is because of this that beer marketing is now of strategic importance.
  • Beer tourism is just now becoming established, with two dozen vacation tour operators and day beer tour companies in most major US cities.

And here are some interesting things to consider when comparing beer to wine:

  • Breweries are generally not tied to their raw materials and thus can be located anywhere. Every city can have breweries and anywhere can be “beer country”. This is more similar to the “urban winery” model, which is only a small part of the wine industry.
  • Breweries are divided into categories: brewpubs, microbreweries (small), regional craft breweries (a bit bigger), regional breweries (the biggest craft brewers), and large breweries (the big boys). Of these, the first two, which make up the vast majority of breweries, often sell all or nearly all their beer from their own premises. Hence, “beer tourism” and tap room sales are just as important to the beer industry as are wine tourism and tasting room sales to the wine industry.
  • An interesting difference is that brewery tap rooms are set up more like bars, focused on consumption on premises. Yes, many breweries allowing tasting and some sell beer to go (in “growlers”). This comers to wineries where tasting rooms are primarily set up to induce to go purchases rather than on-premise consumption.
  • “Beer clubs” are not yet very established at all (in part because of greater shipping difficulties), as compared to the prominent position of wine clubs in winery marketing and sales

We at Zephyr are already quite involved with beer tourism. We run beer tours with our Taste Vacations tour company and active beer tours with Zephyr Adventures. We ran workshops on beer tourism and beer marketing last November at the Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference in Virginia to test the concept.

We are excited to add this new conference to our Zephyr Conferences schedule. Come join us if you have an interest in cross-pollinating!

Stacie Jacob to Lead Wine Association and DMO Workshop and Summit

We are very pleased to have expert Stacie Jacob lead our scheduled three-hour Winery Association and Tourism Promotion Agency Workshop and Summit.

Stacie JacobStacie has outstanding experience on both the winery association and tourism agency (including Convention & Visitor Bureaus, Destination Management Organizations, etc) side.

  • Served as the first-ever Public Relations Director for the Washington Wine Commission
  • Spent seven years as the Executive Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, one of the nation’s leading wine regions
  • Worked as Chief Executive Officer of Visit San Luis Obispo County, the county that includes Paso Robles but also has tourism assets including the Pacific Coast and Hearst Castle
  • Currently runs her own consulting firm, Solterra Strategies, which offers public relations, brand strategy, and marketing services

Stacie is probably one of the few wine industry leaders who has served as a chief executive of both a DMO and a winery association and thus is eminently qualified to run this workshop. The workshop will include real-life best-practice examples in the following areas:

  • Big-picture strategies for associations and DMOs in wine regions to help you decide where you should be headed as an organization
  • Possibilities for establishing significant and sustainable funding including major events and new tax or public-private funding arrangements
  • Ideas for collaborating with key partners including local businesses, other agencies, and even organizations outside the area.
  • Discussion of the nuts and bolts of managing an organization including staffing, premises, working with members, promoting outside the area, and much more.

This workshop is actually a “workshop and summit”. Stacie will be in communication in advance with those people registered to gather ideas, case studies, and best practices. We will also spend the final hour in discussion where all participants will be able to ask questions of and share ideas with their peers.

If you are a leader of a winery association or tourism promotion agency in wine country, this workshop is for you! You need not be registered for the conference to attend.

Which International Wine Regions Will Step Up Next?

The Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference is not just for those of us in North America.

At last year’s conference we had Sally Cope, Executive Officer of Ultimate Winery Experiences in Australia, as our keynote speaker. We also had an excellent session called International Perspectives on Wine Tourism in which representatives from Slovenia, Portugal, Spain, Chile, and Ontario spoke about wine tourism in their region.

We again invite our colleagues from the wine and tourism industries outside North America to attend the Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference. Here is what you can expect:

  • An opportunity for six of you to speak at the International Perspectives on Wine Tourism session.
  • If you are a winery association or tourism promotion agency, a free opportunity to staff a table and pour your wines at our Expo.
  • Valuable content on tourism and marketing that is generic to all wine regions of the world.
  • The ability to interact with wine tourism leaders from throughout North America and beyond, providing invaluable contacts for your future endeavors.

To participate, simply register for the conference today. You will be asked about staffing an Expo table in the registration form and we’ll contact you about possibly speaking at the conference.

Mobile Marketing Expert Scott Stanchak to Keynote 2016 Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference

Mobile marketing expert Scott Stanchak will provide the keynote address at the 2016 Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference, scheduled for November 8-10 in Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country.

Scott StanchakAccording to Stanchak, mobile now accounts for 60% of all time spent digitally and 90% of mobile time is spent on apps. So if you are not prepared for and involved with mobile marketing, you are losing ground to your competitors and contact with your customers.

Stanchak leads mobile marketing strategy for one of the nation’s leading newspapers and is the founder of Winery Passport, the wine industry’s most popular mobile app for winery tourism. Previously, Stanchak directed mobile marketing and product strategy for Avis Budget Group. He’s been a leader in digital strategy for over 10 years, including developing and executing mobile and Web strategies for multimillion-dollar brands such as NBA, AT&T and News Corp. Stanchak is also a well-regarded speaker, having presented in front of audiences at Apps World, CES, Mobile Marketer Conference and VentureBeat’s Mobile Summit.

Scott, via his company Bakburner Digital, has developed more than a dozen mobile websites and responsive websites including Winery Passport. Winery Passport is helping wineries improve direct-to-consumer revenue through increased brand exposure and customer relationships, was named the top travel wine app by Food & Wine Magazine in 2015, and has been featured in Forbes, Wine-Searcher.com and SiriusXM Radio.

We hooked up with Scott to get his views on speaking at the upcoming conference:

I am excited to present the keynote address at the wine industry’s premier event for wine marketing and tourism. There’s no better conference for those in the wine industry to learn the best tactics to get their brands in front of consumers.

Mobile is such an important piece, if not the most important piece, of the digital landscape today. Consumers spend more time on their smartphones than they do on desktops. Yet there’s so much about mobile, and how to market effectively on the platform, that remains a black box for many in the industry. My goal is to provide the audience clarity, actionable takeaways and inspiration about mobile app and web marketing.

Winery Passport’s objective is to help wineries reach this massive mobile audience by building brand awareness and customer relationships. This results in incremental direct-to-consumer revenue — from a mobile app. As Winery Passport has grown into the wine industry’s most popular mobile app for winery tourism, we’ve used data and feedback to create a platform that maximizes opportunities for wineries.

Texas is the perfect setting for this year’s Wine Marketing and Tourism Conference. There’s been tremendous growth and interest in the wine industry there and I am eager to taste some of the state’s finest wines.

I look forward to spending time with all the attendees and the opportunity to learn more about what others are doing in the wine and travel space.

If you have not yet done so, please consider registering for the WMTC today. Prices increase May 1!

Content & Speakers Announced – 2016 WMTC

We are happy to present the agenda for the 2016 Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference, in addition to some of the speakers.

The 2016 conference, as always, will present a combination of speakers from our host region and some of the top brains of the wine marketing and tourism industries from around the country and world.

We are very excited to have Sid Miller, the 12th Commissioner of Agriculture in Texas, providing a welcome to the conference. In addition, we have a panel of three wine and tourism leaders from the Texas Hill Country introducing us to the region and wine writer Jeff Siegel moderating two panels of Texas experts talking about government support for wine tourism and drinking local.

In addition, we are bringing in some of the top wine experts from California including PR maven Paul Wagner of Balzac Communications, filmmaker Dina Mande of Juice Media, Camron King of Lodi Wine who led Lodi’s charge to be the Wine Region of the Year in 2015, and Sandra Hess of DTC Wine Workshops. We are even offering up the expertise of two of our own marketing professionals, Beth Peluse and Robyn Scott, who will present specific topics on wine marketing.

The schedule is complete but we are still confirming speakers, including four representatives from international regions on the International Perspectives of Wine Tourism panel. Our keynote speaker is confirmed and we will announce this next week.

Please remember to register for the 2016 Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference soon! Prices increase May 1.

Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference Call for Content

The Call for Content for the 2016 Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference is now open:

Content Proposal Form

Please keep in mind several things concerning content proposals:

  • If you wish to apply to present during International Perspectives on Wine Tourism, please use the separate form
  • The last day to submit a proposal is Friday, February 26 (except for the International Perspectives submissions)
  • All content sessions should be related to wine marketing and/or wine tourism
  • The best sessions provide real-world examples and offer concrete, useful takeaways
  • We already have pre-conference workshops set up covering social media marketing, tasting room management, best practices for tour operators, and winery and tourism associations.
  • We will take all proposals, edit as needed based on our experience and prior history of presentations, and present to the WTC alumni for their vote
  • Those sessions that get rated as most interesting will be the ones accepted into the conference agenda
  • We will provide a free registration to all speakers but presenters must pay their own travel and hotel costs

The 2016 Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference will attract approximately 180 high-level attendees from around North America and the world.

The Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference – A New Name

The Wine Tourism Conference, in advance of its sixth annual event in 2016, is changing its name to the Wine Marketing & Tourism Conference.

WMTC16smallChanging one’s event name could be seen as a pretty big deal. In reality, the change just reflects what the conference is already about: wine marketing and wine tourism.

In fact, in many ways the two are so entwined it is hard to separate them. Wine tourism, of course, is simply the visitation of wine regions by travelers. From an industry conference perspective, our goal has always been to provide valuable advice on how to grow and improve one’s own wine tourism offering. And growing wine tourism is all about effective marketing.

And so wine marketing has been a key component of the conference since the beginning. This past November, for example, we had content on digital marketing, no-cost guerrilla marketing, promoting your wine tourism business beyond your region, email marketing, and more.

We do think wine tourism is a special component of the wine industry. Selling out the cellar door is a hugely important revenue stream for many, many wineries and focusing on tourism is a critical way to grow that revenue stream. So we will continue to offer lots of content focused on wine tourism but will also continue to provide what we think is top-notch marketing content specific to the wine industry.

Wine Tourism Conference: Moving From Virginia to Texas

We have wrapped up the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference in Loudoun County, Virginia and your survey results are in! The conference:

  • Garnered the highest overall rating from attendees in the past three years and was on par with our first two conferences in Napa and Sonoma
  • Received the highest overall Content rating ever
  • Had the highest overall Organization rating ever

However, our goal is to constantly improve and we have made a number of changes to make the Texas Hill Country conference the best ever, including:

  • The lunch at local Virgina winery Stone Tower was a big hit and we have doubled up by planning TWO lunches at local wineries as part of the 2016 conference.
  • The content system we used in 2015 was very well effective and we are going to do the same in 2016. This will start with a Call for Content in January and then a vote among our alumni of possible topics.
  • We continually get calls to make sure content is specific and not general. We have already revised the Speaker Packets we send to all presenters to make sure everyone is on the same page in delivering actionable business information pertaining to the wine tourism industry and including real-life examples.
  • The international presence having an Australian keynote speaker and five speakers representing their countries on a Perspectives of Wine Tourism panel was a hit and we hope to replicate this in 2016.
  • We had distinct calls for extra events with more lead-time given. The good news is we now have a pre-conference excursion, post-conference excursion, pre-conference dinner, and post-conference dinner already set up and available for you to reserve. Keep in mind that while these cost extra, the conference includes two lunches and a dinner, which is pretty nice given the price!

Speaking of the cost of the conference, please remember we are pricing on a sliding scale in 2016 depending on when you register:

  • $295: Through December 31, 2015
  • $325: Through April 30, 2016
  • $350: Through September 30, 2016
  • $395: After September 30, 2016

So if you register this month, your cost is only $295 and that includes the three meals plus great content and networking!

Wine Tourism Conference 2015 Wrap Up and Presentations

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! We had such a wonderful time in Virginia and now that we have all of the available presentations, we wanted to share them with you.

Find all of the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference presentations HERE

We have received a lot of great compliments and constructive feedback from our 2015 alumni. As we look forward to next year in Fredericksburg, Texas Hill Country, we are getting a good bit of our agenda planned out and set up early so folks can get on board as early as possible.

Check out the 2016 Agenda HERE  

For 2016, we are again going to offer pre-conference workshops for those looking for an intense day of learning. We will have new experts to throw down knowledge but most of the topics will remain the same as we got great feedback on the intention of the sessions.

See what we have so far HERE

Keep in mind that early registration for the 2016 Wine Tourism Conference is a GOOD idea…

  • $295: Through December 31, 2015
  • $325: Through April 30, 2016
  • $350: Through September 30, 2016
  • $395: After September 30, 2016

Ready to rock? Go right ahead and register HERE

Make sure to stay tuned with us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on sponsors, speakers and MORE!