It is impossible to provide enough in-depth coverage of some subjects crucial to wine marketing and wine tourism in the two conference days. Because of this, we offer optional three-hour workshops on Monday, November 6th 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 Monday evening regardless.
If you have not yet registered for the conference, you can register for these workshops on the main WMTC17 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 WMTC 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)
Digital Marketing for the Wine Industry
We all know digital marketing has been the focus of the marketing world for the past decade. Digital marketing tends to be more trackable than traditional advertising and can often be more easily tailored to a specific audience. But most companies in the wine industry still question their own practices: Are we engaging in the right forms of digital marketing in the right way? In this three-hour workshop, experts Ron Scharman and Ryan Neergaard from Astra Digital Marketing Services will cover all aspects of direct-to-consumer digital marketing from a wine industry perspective. At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:
- Understand how direct-to-consumer digital marketing plays an integral role as part of a your overall omni-channel marketing strategy.
- Recommend strategies for building customer engagement, retention, and loyalty for existing customers and prospects through digital marketing.
- Develop a DTC digital marketing strategy and budget to integrate into an overall marketing plan
- Effectively communicate with customers through all digital channels including web, email, mobile, and social media marketing.
- Have an understanding of the key marketing concepts of content marketing, SEO/SEM, digital advertising, CRM, and other related topics
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. Sandra will have three experienced winery professionals with her to provide real-life examples of successful tasting room management, including:
- Bill Farmer, Tasting Room Manager, Raymond Vineyards
- Susanna Marin, Estate Tasting Room Manager, Wente Vineyards
- Mark Elcombe, Hospitality Manager, Sonoma-Cutrer 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 facilitated by Allan Wright, who has an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and has 20 years experience operating two tour companies (Zephyr Adventures and Taste Vacations).
Winery Associations & DMOs 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 to stay involved, funding and budgeting, gaining exposure outside their region, and more.
This workshop will focus on providing concrete advice for winery associations and DMOs in wine regions. Our presenters will include Karissa Kruse, President of Sonoma County Winegrowers; Jean Sessions, Executive Director of Sonoma County Vintners; and Tim Zahner, Interim CEO of Sonoma County Tourism. These three agencies have done a stellar job at promoting wine and wine tourism in Sonoma County, are a model for the country (and the world), and will have lots to impart. At the same time, the workshop is specifically designed to be a sharing session so come prepared with your own challenges and successes. Our moderator will be Beth Costa from Wine Road, one of the most successful winery associations in the country.