Below is the agenda for the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference. All sessions take place on the Lansdowne Resort property unless otherwise indicated.
Tuesday, November 17
1:00 – 6:00 PM Optional Pre-Con Winery Tour: Experience one of the East Coast’s premier wine regions while traveling through breathtaking countryside to some of Loudoun County’s 40 wineries that offer intimate and boutique experiences for visitors. Meet winemakers crafting award-winning wines and enjoy vintage Virginia views of vineyards set amidst rolling hills and scenic vistas. The excursion supplement is $50 per person and includes transportation plus tastings and visits to Tarara Winery, Winery 32, and Fabbioli Cellars. You can register for this wine tour separately. Please note we require ten minimum to run this tour and will update those of you registered as to numbers.
Wednesday, November 18
8:30 – 11:30 AM Optional Workshops: Pre-conference workshops are an additional fee of $125 for one or $200 for both morning and afternoon sessions. You do not need to be registered for the conference to attend these. Please see the Workshops page for complete details and to register.
- Digital Marketing for the Wine Industry (Thurber)
- Beer Tourism (Faulkner)
1:00 – 4:00 PM Optional Workshops: Pre-conference workshops are an additional fee of $125 for one or $200 for both morning and afternoon sessions. Please see the Workshops page for complete details and to register.
- Tasting Room Management (Piedmont’s Table) Note: This workshop will take place 1:30 – 4:30 PM.
- Creating & Growing a Food, Wine, or Beer Tour Operator Business (Faulkner)
- Digital Marketing for the Beer Industry (Thurber)
5:00 – 7:00 PM Wine Tourism Expo & Opening Night Wine Reception (Terrace Ballroom): Check in to the conference and enjoy the Wine Tourism Expo and opening reception presented by Touring & Tasting Marketing and Media. Meet all our sponsors and enjoy wines from across North America and the world. This is a unique opportunity to try wines from New Jersey, Texas, and Michigan as well as West Coast favorites, East Coast standouts, and wines from other countries. You can register to pour at the Reception when you register for the conference. Sommeliers and wine buyers can attend the Expo & Reception at no charge – email info@WineTourismConference.org for a ticket.
7:15 PM Optional Dinner at Lansdowne Resort (Stonewalls Tavern): Come join the group at Stonewalls Tavern for a casual pay-your-own-way dinner. With its massive fireplace, overstuffed green leather chairs and sports bar atmosphere, you may decide to strike up a friendly competition of billiards or tabletop shuffleboard. Please tell the staff you are with the Wine Tourism Conference.
Thursday, November 19
8:00 – 9:00 AM Conference Registration (If you did not register last night)
9:00 – 9:15 AM Conference Opening & Welcome (Lansdowne AB) by Christopher L. Thompson, President & CEO of BRAND USA
9:15- 10:00 AM Welcome to Loudoun County and Virginia (Lansdowne AB): There is no better way to become acquainted with our host region and state than to hear about it from the local experts in wine and tourism. Virginia is now known as a major destination in wine tourism and we’ll hear how they got there and where they hope to go next. Our high-powered panel consists of Rita McClenny of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Ben Renshaw of 8 Chains North Winery, Jay Youmans of The Capital Wine School, and Patrick Duffeler II of Williamsburg Winery with moderator Berkeley Young of Young Strategies.
10:00 – 11:00 AM Wine Tourism is Ag Tourism (Lansdowne AB): At its heart, making wine is about growing grapes and growing grapes is about farming. Wine tourism is usually based on the beauty of vineyards as much as what comes out of the winery. Yet development pressures in wine areas around the world are squeezing agriculture, including vineyards, from prime lands. Vice versa, in Napa and Sonoma environmental groups are banding together to fight wine tourism development and water use by wineries and in King County, Washington the government recently served violation notices to seven tasting rooms for operating in land zoned agricultural. Hear from three experts about state policies, current trends, and other items affecting agricultural tourism and how it relates to wine tourism. Our panelists include Kevin Atticks, Head of the Maryland brewers, wineries, and distillers organizations; David King, Chairman of the Virginia Wine Board; Jim Conaway, author of a trilogy about the development of Napa Valley’s wine industry; and Nancy Light, Vice President of Communications for the Wine Institute in California. Our moderator is Doug Fabbioli of Fabbioli Wines.
11:10 AM – 2:00 PM Lunch in Loudoun Wine Country (Stone Tower Winery): We will depart for Stone Tower Winery for lunch. Enjoy a tour of this incredible, brand-new facility before lunch in the new Vineyard View Ballroom. Lunch will be catered by Magnolias at the Mill and feature Virginia Estate wines from a number of local wineries. Transportation sponsored by Reston Limousine and lunch is sponsored by Loudoun Virginia Economic Development.
2:15 – 3:15 PM China – Wine and Wine Tourism (Lansdowne AB): China with 1.4 billion people is the most populated country in the world. It is also third in terms of land mass with all sorts of eco zones and terrain. What will happen if (when) China is able to produce excellent wine at a cheap price? In addition, visitors from China are already the number one group of inbound travelers to California and in the top five in many other states of the U.S. Today’s Chinese visitors are affluent, well-travelled — and they love wine. Learn all you need to know to be ready to receive them and to maximize your opportunities with this important group. Our California-based panelists include Christopher Beros, President and Chairman of California-China Wine Trading, Inc.; Brian Wright, in charge of DMO & Executive Relations at Visit California; and Linsey Gallagher, Vice President, International Marketing for the Wine Institute; and moderator Steve Burns, owner of O’Donnell Lane L.L.C., a marketing, public relations and strategic planning firm.
3:30 – 4:30 PM Breakout Sessions:
- Guerrilla Marketing – No-Cost Marketing Solutions (Faulkner): The term Guerrilla Marketing was made famous by Jay Conrad Levinson, in his 1984 book of the same name. 21 million copies in 62 languages later, the book is still consider one of the best theories of no-cost, on-the-ground marketing tactics. Hear all about Guerrilla Marketing with a wine country twist from experienced wine marketer Elizabeth Slater of In Short Direct Marketing.
- Promoting Your Wine Tourism Business Beyond Your Region (Lansdowne CD): Many wine tourism businesses are dependent on visitors that come to their area, marketing locally through newspapers, wine country maps, or related partners in the area. However, you can drive even more traffic to your business by promoting yourself outside your local region. Learn how from several organizations doing just this. Our panel includes Camron King from Lodi Wine, Laury Poland from the Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, Michelle McCue from McCue Communications, and moderator Nancy Burgner of Touring & Tasting Marketing and Media.
4:45 – 5:45 PM Breakout Sessions:
- It Takes a Village: Working Together to Increase Tourism (Lansdowne CD): The saying goes “It takes a village.” Even with Yelp, TripAdvisor, FourSquare, etc., people love getting itinerary tips straight from the locals – those who drink, eat, and are active in that area every day. Networking and strengthening the communication in your community about each tourist attraction is vitally important. As guests hear the name of your business repeatedly they will be more likely to visit. Hear one case study presented by locals from the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara in California, including moderator Katy Westgaard Rogers of Jackson Family Wines, photojournalist and video producer Wil Fernandez, Shannon Essa from Edible Santa Barbara, and Shelby Sim of Visit Santa Ynez Valley.
- Technology in Wine Tourism: What is Working Now (Faulkner): We all know technology evolves at a mile a minute and it is hard to keep up. In this session learn what is working now in the world of wine tourism. Expert Ryan Neergard from Chatterbox Wine Marketing will present a review of mobile apps, consumer rating sites (for wine, wineries, and travel), geo-located technology, and more.
6:30 PM Dinner at the Lansdowne Resort (Lansdowne Ballroom): Sip on a variety of Virginia’s finest wines in the Lansdowne Ballroom and meet Virginia winemakers before enjoying a three-course dinner that will feature Loudoun’s award winning wines. Sponsored by Virginia Tourism Corporation, The Virginia Wine Marketing Office, and the Loudoun Wineries Association.
Friday, November 20
9:00 – 9:45 AM Keynote Speaker (Lansdowne AB): Sally Cope, Executive Officer of Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia (UWEA), will deliver the 2015 Keynote. The UWAE is a partnership between member wineries, Tourism Australia, and selected State Tourism Offices. Ms. Cope will share the UWEA success story in raising Australia’s profile as one of the world’s leading wine tourism destinations.
10:00 – 11:00 AM Breakout Sessions:
- Designing Websites for 2016 and Beyond (Faulkner): Website design changes all the time, from the old “brochure” type of static website to today’s “responsive design” format. You might not be designing websites yourself but you will likely be involved the next time the issue comes up in your office. Hear from Marjorie Asturias of Automattic, the company that brings the world WordPress.com, about the current best practices of website design including making websites mobile ready (including meeting Google’s new requirements), integrating with social media, when to use or not use a blog, creating effective Calls to Action, and more.
- Customer Relationship Management – Effective Email Marketing (Lansdowne CD): Did you know in this age of social media that email is still considered by many to be the most effective form of communication? Email marketing is focused on those who have expressly signed up or already have a relationship with you; it is relatively inexpensive; it is easy to create highly targeted niche campaigns; and results are measurable. Yet many if not most wine industry businesses do not scratch the surface of this form of marketing. Learn all about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and email marketing from expert Daniel Bishofberger from Chatterbox Wine Marketing.
11:15 – 12:15 PM Breakout Sessions:
- Customer Service – How to Set Your Brand Apart (Faulkner): It’s hard to set yourself apart in the world of wine. Most wineries have wine scores, a family story, a vineyard, a vineyard dog, etc. So how do you set yourself apart? Customer service that matches your brand. Not just knowing your mission statement, vision statement, and brand standards, but living them so that your customers know them too. Hear from customer service pro Katy Westgaard Rogers from Jackson Family Wines how to create repeat business through customer service to gain loyal customers.
- One Size Does Not Fit All in Wine Tourism (Lansdowne CD): We live in an age when there is too much information, about too many things, available too many hours of the day. The result is consumers, worn out by the deluge, are tuning out all mass messaging and instead demanding that brands and service providers target them only if they offer something that is personally of interest to them. Luckily, the deluge of information created by digital technology can also be channeled with digital technology to create personalized communication that actually get read. In wine tourism, this can include clear filters on your website so visitors get the information they want, not what you want to show them; email marketing based on the individual preferences and interests of the receiver; tasting room experiences created from information received in advance from your visitors; and wine country visit planning that recommends the right hotels, restaurants, and wineries for each visitor. Learn the ropes of personalizing your messaging and profiting from this personalization from Shaheen Kazi.
12:15 – 1:45 PM Lunch at the Lansdowne Resort (Lansdowne AB) hosted by Visit Loudoun
1:45 – 3:15 PM Perspectives on International Wine Tourism (Lansdowne AB): As most of us know, wine tourism in California or Virginia is not the same as wine tourism in Spain, South Africa, or Chile. Hear from your fellow wine industry representatives from around the world as each offers his or her perspective on wine tourism in their area. This is one of the best ways to learn current, cutting-edge practices you can take home with you. Speakers include Andrejka Gazovic from Slovenia, Francisco Franco Afonso from Portugal, Ted Willey from Ontario, Cristina Alonso from Spain, and Gail Thornton from Chile.
3:15 – 4:00 PM Conference Close/Announcement of 2016 Location (Lansdowne AB)
6:30 PM Optional Dinner (Smokehouse Live): Unwind after the conference at Smokehouse Live , which features great pit-smoked barbeque and live music. Hang out with fellow attendees and locals while enjoying The Brummy Brothers. Their original blend of bluegrass, rock, and improvisation forms a sound and energy that might get you out of your seat and dancing. Meet in the resort lobby at 6:30 PM to group up for taking taxis to the restaurant. Dinner is at 6:45 p.m. and live music starts at 8:30 p.m. This is optional and at your own cost (just split the taxi and pay your own dinner bill), but you MUST register in advance.