2015 Workshops

It is impossible to provide enough in-depth coverage of some subjects crucial to wine tourism in the two conference days. Because of this, we offer optional three-hour workshops on Wednesday, November 18th at an additional charge. Due to the small group size and extended coverage, these workshops are often among the highest-rated aspects of the conference.

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 the workshops and can stay for the Wine Tourism Expo & Opening Night Reception on Wednesday evening regardless. Please note two of these workshops are targeted towards our friends in the beer industry, although the lessons shared will be applicable to the wine industry as well.

Morning Workshop Options (8:30 – 11:30 AM): Choose One

Digital Marketing for the Wine Industry: Digital marketing is of course all the rage. And for good reason. Digital marketing is easier to target to specific demographics, easier to track success, and often more cost effective than traditional advertising. This session will provide an in-depth look at digital marketing for the wine industry, including search engine optimization, content creation, social media, email marketing, online advertising, and video marketing. The workshop will be led by Nicole Skuba of BlueTreeDigital with wine industry expertise added by Gary Nealon of Wine Trail Adventures, whose specific expertise is using digital marketing to increase sales.

Beer Tourism: Beer Tourism is just coming into its own but it is doing so quickly and powerfully. The rapid growth of breweries has been driven by the rapid growth in craft beer consumption and these two factors are driving the growth in beer tourism. And visitation to breweries is not only extremely important for the financial success of many small breweries, it also affects the local economy by filling beds and restaurant seats. “Beer tourism” has many levels, ranging from simply visiting a local brewery for a pint to seeking out the local brewery while on vacation to actually planning a trip to visit breweries to even joining full-fledged beer vacation tours. This workshop will discuss all aspects of beer tourism, with a focus on increasing visitors and improving experiences at the brewery level and promoting a region as a good place to visit for beer tourism. Our panelists include Mariah Calagione from Dogfish Head brewery; Virginia Brewers Guild Tourism & Marketing Committee Co-Chair Kevin O’Connor from O’Connor Brewing; Margo Knight Metzger, Executive Director of the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, and Tommy Miller of Richmond Brewery Tours.

Afternoon Workshop Options (1:00 – 4:00 PM): Choose One

Tasting Room Management: Tasting rooms are key to selling wine from the “cellar door” and are often the first and only impression of the winery for potential customers. A professionally-managed tasting room is so important it can mean the difference between being profitable or not for some wineries. This workshop will cover all aspects of tasting room management, including staffing (hiring, managing, and training), layout, pricing, selling, wine selection and pricing, wine club memberships, non-wine merchandise, setting hours, deciding on whether to require appointments, and more. Tasting room expert Elizabeth Slater from In Short Direct Marketing will run the workshop.

Creating and Growing a Food, Wine, or Beer Tour Operator Business: If you are interested to start a tour company or wish to grow the one you already started this is the workshop for you!  You will learn from four 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. The discussion will include details of and be relevant to tour operators in the food, wine, and beer industries, which have many similarities but some differences. Our panelists include Jeff Swedarsky of Food Tour Corporation, Tommy Miller of Richmond Brewery Tours, Kristina Bouweiri of Reston Limo, and Jane Gregg of Epicurean Ways.

Digital Marketing for the Beer Industry: The craft beer industry is in an enviable position, with rapid growth in terms of breweries and beer consumption. Because of this, many breweries are more focused on producing good beer than they are on selling it. Nevertheless, wise industry participants are engaging with their customers and marketing to new ones via the Internet. This session will provide an in-depth look at digital marketing for the beer industry, including search engine optimization, content creation including blogs, social media, email marketing, online advertising, and video marketing. The workshop will be led by Nicole Skuba of BlueTreeDigital with beer industry expertise provided by Neal Stewart, Vice President of Marketing at Dogfish Head brewery.