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 Tuesday, November 8th 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 Tuesday evening regardless.

To Register

If you have not yet registered for the conference, you can register for these workshops on the main WTC16 Registration form. If you have already registered for the Wine Tourism Conference or wish to register just for the workshops, you can do that via our WTC Workshops Registration form. For information on the workshop speakers, please see the presenter names below and their bios on our Speakers page.

Morning Workshop (8:30 – 11:30 AM)

Social Media Marketing and Online Advertising for Wine Tourism: We all know social media has been the hottest form of marketing for several years now and most of us are thoroughly engaged. But new social media platforms keep popping up and those that we use change their policies and algorithms for how we reach our communities. Learn from Robyn Scott and “Merlot Mike” Wilson which social media outlets tend to work for the wine industry and which don’t; how to focus your time and not waste resources; and how to engage with your audience, build a brand, and increase sales. In addition, we’ll spend one third of the Workshop on Online Advertising. This form of advertising has been a huge part of the marketing world for over a decade because of its ability to micro target and track success with precision and is even more important now given the boost it can provide to your social media efforts.

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. Attendees will learn best practices for leveraging an ideal blend of technology and processes to convert first-time visitors into loyal customers and club members. A “tasting room management checklist” will be provided with five improvements that can be implemented the very next day. The workshop will be led by Sandra Hess, the founder of DTC Wine Workshops, which supports wineries of all sizes in the areas of e-commerce, CRM, DTC Strategic Planning, and Training Services. Assisting Sandra will be tasting room pros Jesse Barter, General Manager of 4.0 Cellars, Anthony Harvell,Director of Sales and Operations for William Chris Wines, and Sabrina Houser, owner of Dry Comal Creek Vineyards.

Best Practices for Tour Operators: Join a couple dozen of your peers as we discuss best practices in running a tour operator business. While this workshop is designed for those running beer, wine, and food tours, it will be applicable to all tour operators (day tours or vacation tours) and those considering starting a company. We will discuss selecting a niche, identifying your target market, insurance, employees, guides, pricing, selecting tour locations, running great tours, and soliciting feedback. An extensive portion will be allocated to marketing. This session will include significant group discussion as we share ideas, talk strategies, and make friendships. The workshop will be led by Allan Wright, who has an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and has 19 years experience operating two tour companies (Zephyr Adventures and Taste Vacations); Miguel Lecuona, who operates a Texas wine industry consulting business and drew up the tour operator agreements for the popular Wine Road 290; and Andy Potter, owner and operator of Austin Eats Food Tours.

Winery Association & Tourism Agency Workshop & Summit: Winery associations and tourism promotion agencies based in wine regions (Destination Management Organizations, Chambers of Commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, etc) work hard year round promoting their region to visitors interested in wine. These associations play a critical role in defining their region, creating awareness, and helping members achieve success. Each faces similar challenges: creating a vision for the organization’s direction, rallying their members, funding and budgeting, gaining exposure outside their region, and more. Expert Stacie Jacob will lead a workshop focused on providing concrete advice for winery associations and DMOs in wine regions. We will then spend the final hour on a “summit”, sharing our own successes and learning from our peers.