Wine Tourism Conference Speakers Added

In just one panel alone, we are bringing together some of the biggest names in the wine industry. For the panel “A Rising Tide Raises All Boats”, we have the following panelists:

  • Michael Mondavi,  Mondavi Family Wines
  • Andre Morgenthal, Wines of South Africa
  • Allen Shoup, Long Shadows Vintners
  • Moderator Clay Gregory, Legendary Napa Valley

The Mondavi name needs no introduction but if you would like Michael’s background, click on the Speakers tab of this website. Andre is the Communications Manager at Wines of South Africa, an organization that is very tuned into the world of wine tourism. Allen Shoup not only runs Long Shadows Vintners, he helped build the Washington wine industry as CEO of Chateau Ste. Michelle for 17 years. This panel will be moderated by Clay Gregory of Legendary Napa Valley, the organization helping to keep Napa as the number one wine tourism destination in North America.

We are pleased to have all of this distinguished speakers at the Wine Tourism Conference and sort of blown away that they are all on the same panel.

In addition, we are proud to announce that Barbara Insel of Stonebridge Research and Steven S. Cuellar, Ph.D., Department of Economics at Sonoma State University will give a presentation on the Economics of Wine Tourism. One of our goals as conference organizers is to bring you hard information, from experts, that you can use when you return to your jobs after the conference. Barbara and Steven will help provide that sort of advice.

Enthusiasm High for the Wine Tourism Conference

The North American Wine Bloggers Conference concluded its fourth annual conference today in Charlottesville, Virginia. The conference brought together 330 wine bloggers and others involved in the online communication of wine to talk about social media, try a lot of wines, and experience the local wine country.

The Wine Tourism Conference was an item of discussion at the conference and many of the sponsors in attendance expressed a desire to participate in the WTC. The Wine Bloggers Conference brings in local sponsors like Virginia Wines and Virginia Tourism; state organizations such as the Indiana Wine Grape Council, the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, and the Maryland Wineries Association; and agencies from far away such as Wines of Chile, Wines of South Africa, and Planet Bordeaux. Individual wineries also attend, including Tabarrini, Tin Barn Vineyards, and King Estate.

Many of these sponsors mentioned they would be interested to attend and perhaps sponsor the Wine Tourism Conference. Our suggestion is to sign up now and commit to attend at minimum. Just let us know you are potentially interested in sponsoring and we’ll contact you to explain the options.

The Wine Tourism Conference will focus on increasing wine tourism – to individual wineries, to wine regions, and as an important aspect of the tourism industry. We all know wine tourism leads to greater wine sales, more hotel rooms booked, and more meals eaten. It is a tide that when rising helps everyone. Attending can help you learn how to increase and improve your own wine tourism and sponsorship can help you identify yourself as one of the premier wineries, wine regions, or wine-related service providers in the world of wine tourism.

Wine Tourism Survey Results

As we the Wine Tourism Conference organizers set up content for the November 16-17 conference, one fact we have noticed is there are very few hard statistics on wine tourism. That situation has improved somewhat with the publishing of results of a wine tourism survey done by the Great Wine Capitals organization.

The survey was conducted across  the eight international markets of the network and included answers from 454 wineries. If you are at all interested in wine tourism (as you must be or you would not be on this website), it is worth reading the survey. Here are a few items that stuck out with us:

The report sites Tourism Offices as the most prolific form of promoting wine tourism services but also says wineries consider this promotion not very effective. More effective is the use of tour operators and travel agencies – which from our experience is generally more entrenched in other areas of the world than in the US – but even this form is only considered effective by 28% of respondents.

Clearly, the promotion of wine tourism is not working well for wineries.

Despite this, wineries state that on average 19.5% of their income comes directly from wine tourism. In addition, 78% of income comes from wine sales (one might expect this to be even higher) but direct sales at the winery is the best outlet for these wine sales at 32%. This is somewhat misleading as combining sales at wine shops (17%), supermarkets (16%), specialized shops (8%), convenience stores (3%), and other stores (1%) produces an overall impact of 44% of wine sales at retail. Still, clearly wine tourism is very important to overall revenues and to sales of wine.

68% of winery respondents said they considered their wine tourism activities “financially viable”, which is interesting in that 32% apparently spend more money on wine tourism (fancy new tasting rooms, employees, etc) than they receive back. The report states every winery respondent in Napa considers tourism financially viable while many in Mendoza and Florence do not – there is clearly disparity across regions in what is working and what is not.

The report does not give much of a nod to internet marketing, stating only in the New World (Napa, Mendoza, and Cape Town) is “social networking, mailing, and newsletters” used by wineries. This is sort of amazing in that e-newsletters, websites, and social media marketing are quite common in the US.

Overall, 91% of winery respondents think wine tourism is useful in helping wineries survive during times of economic crisis. And the maxim in business is always to continue to invest in marketing (in this case in wine tourism) during a downturn so one can succeed even more when an economy improves.

Twitter and Wine Tourism

We are proud to have Marcy Gordon from the blog Come for the Wine join us as our official Tweeter. Our Twitter account is @WineTourismConf and we hope you follow us!

In addition to blogging, Marcy is experienced in social media and runs her own Twitter account (@MarcyGordon) with over 2000 Twitter followers. We asked her to answer a few questions about herself and using Twitter in wine tourism:

What is your background and when did you first start getting into writing about wine and the wine industry?

My background is in consumer marketing and I worked positioning start-ups including Travelocity and OpenTable. My love of travel and writing led me to work in publishing and I was co-editor of the Authentic Italy guidebook series for the Touring Club of Italy. I started a wine blog three years ago to learn more about wine and share my travel experiences in different wine regions. In my view, wine is the very essence of a place, it’s truly travel in a bottle. Plus living smack dab in the middle of Sonoma wine country gives me a great opportunity to experience all the area has to offer and lots to write about.

What attracted you to Twitter and how much do you use it now?

I was not an immediate fan of twitter, but now I’m practically an addict! Twitter fits my communication style so well. I like to chat and comment about events and places and especially food and wine, plus it’s a great vehicle to promote my blog and other projects.

Do you think Twitter is important to wineries and other businesses engaged in wine tourism?

Absolutely! Twitter is an essential tool of communication now. Twitter gives business a very dynamic and nimble way to engage with a community that is interested in their message and eager to interact.

Where are you hoping to go with your blog and your career and what do you hope to get out of the Wine Tourism Conference?

In the last year I’ve begun to focus my wine blog on more travel related stories, and I am making it a more dedicated resource for all aspects of wine tourism. I recently did an eight part series on wine tourism in Portugal as part of the Wine Pleasures Conference and Tour and it was very successful. At this conference I hope to make contacts with people looking for help developing and promoting wine tourism in their region and also learn what other PR reps, marketers, CVB’s and tour providers see as the growing trends in wine tourism.

Caroline Beteta, Ray Isle, Leslie Sbrocco, and Sara Schneider to Present

Caroline Beteta was confirmed today as a keynote speaker of the  Wine Tourism Conference 2011, opening the conference with a welcoming address about The Big Picture of Wine Tourism. Wine industry journalists Ray Isle, Leslie Sbrocco, and Sara Schneider were all confirmed to speak on a panel about What Makes a Great Wine Region.

Caroline Beteta serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the industry-led California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC) and simultaneously serves as the Deputy Secretary for Tourism in the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.  In her duel capacity, she is responsible for implementing CTTC’s $50 million global marketing plan and serving as lead spokesperson for California’s $87.7 billion tourism industry. Under her leadership, California tourism programs have brought in an average of nearly $4 billion annually to the state’s economy, and increased the state share of the domestic market by 3%, reversing a decade-long decline.

Caroline was recently appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke to the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP), and has received numerous awards for her creative work and leadership in the travel industry, including 2009 State Tourism Director of the Year.

Ray Isle, Leslie Sbrocco, and Sara Schneider are all speaking on a panel titled What Makes a Wine Region Great. Ray is the Executive Wine Editor of Food & Wine and the co-host of American Public Television’s Vine Talk. He is a regular guest on national media, appearing on programs such as Today, The Early Show, Good Morning America, CNN’s Your Bottom Dollar & Saturday Newsroom, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and American Public Media’s “The Splendid Table.”

Leslie is an award-winning, columnist, speaker, wine consultant, television host, and author of the Georges Duboeuf  Best Wine Book of the Year award-winning Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing and Sharing Wine. She appears regularly on the Today Show offering her wine expertise and is the host of the PBS series Check Please!, for which she has won both the coveted James Beard award and two Emmy awards.

Sara is Sunset magazine’s first wine editor, responsible for tasting panels, food-and-wine pairing in the test kitchen, wine-related food and travel coverage, Sunset’s Western Wine Awards program, the magazine’s wine club, and the book California Wine Country, a Sunset Field Guide. Sara has been nominated twice for James Beard Journalism Awards and holds the Academy of Wine Communication’s Certificate for Excellence in Wine Writing.

We are very pleased to have these four wine and tourism industry experts appearing at the Wine Tourism Conference!

Host Marriott Napa Valley Completes $7 Million Renovation

As reported in today’s edition of the Napa Valley Register, the Napa Valley Marriott has completed a $7 million renovation of its facilities. The Napa Valley Marriott is the host hotel of the Wine Tourism Conference 2011.

The renovation included upgrades to 275 guest rooms and a revamping of the main lobby. The spa, fitness center, and meeting rooms were also upgraded. An entirely new restaurant, VINeleven, was added to the hotel featuring indoor and outdoor seating.

We are very excited to have the first Wine Tourism Conference at this wonderful – and now upgraded – hotel in the heart of Napa!

First North American Wine Tourism Conference to Premier November 16 and 17 in Napa Valley

Zephyr Adventures and MartinCalder Productions, in partnership with the Napa Valley Destination Council, are pleased to announce the first global wine tourism conference to ever be presented in North America. An anticipated 300 national and international delegates representing wine and travel businesses, meeting planners, educators and other stakeholders in the wine tourism industry will convene in the Napa Valley on November 16 and 17, 2011 to address industry trends and the issues that impact wine tourism for both new and old world wine regions.

In collaboration with Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute and the Wine Institute in California, organizers will provide an informative and innovative two-day program of general sessions and panel discussions guided by leading educators and strategists in the wine and tourism marketing industry.

  • Conference Dates: November 16 (8:00am – 8:30pm) and November 17 (9:00 am – 4:30 pm)
  • Welcome dinner hosted by Legendary Napa Valley
  • Cost of Conference: $350.00
  • Pre- and Post-Conference Tours: November 15 and November 18
  • Conference Location: Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa

We hope to see you in Napa Valley in November!