Creating and Growing a Wine Tour Operator Business

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
  • Marketing

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.


  1. Yuhan says


    Greetings from France!

    I am quite interested in this session. However, I will not be able to join the session for another travel plan. Is that possible to get access all those meetings/presentations online somehow? Or purchasing digital records/conference recording?

    Thank you!


    • says


      Unfortunately, the pre-conference workshops are as much about discussion and sharing experiences as they are about formal presentations. So there will be no online materials and we are not videoing the session. Sorry!