Wine Tasting Events Must Evolve – An Example at the Saturday June 11th Vinify Winery Collective Event in Santa Rosa
I have been writing and vocalizing regularly these last few months that Wine Tasting events are going through an evolution. With more and more wineries and associations holding events, organizers are seeking ways to stand out and be unique. This is especially true for the 'walk around' tasting format where many producers are under one roof pouring for consumers walking around, such as the many Fort Mason events.
The Evolution of Wine Tasting Events
As someone who attends and covers a wide range of events, both as media and consumer, and who organizes many as well, I feel there are two themes that must emerge:
Smaller, more focused tastings:
The lines of people 4 deep waving their glasses like baby birds demanding food begats little in my opinion. As a consumer (or worse, Media) it means that there is no chance for meaningful dialog with the producer. (Unless you are one of the mannerless that hog the table irregardless.)
As a producer, you may think its great to pour for this many people, but you aren't leaving an impression with many, but simply doling out 'juice'. More is not always better, there needs to be a balance. Being able to successfully target enthusiastic, interested consumers, eager to learn and experience, instead of just party goers, is a key part of success as well.
A chance to buy, right away, a wine the consumer likes:
Evolutions in handheld and mobile Point of Sale systems (POS) are enabling this, and doing well at events like the San Francisco Vintners Market, the upcoming Taste of Mendocino and more. Many wineries are very small, have limited production and sales distribution. Paying for shipping is a proven barrier to consumer sales. If I loved a taste of something I tried, especially from a remote winery, why NOT buy it then and there. Its only logical.
As a new Board member of the Rhone Rangers, I keenly set my sights on this enabler. The usual challenge and expense of ABC licenses add expense & paperwork, but this evolution is coming, and is beneficial to the local artisan and the economy.
Many consumers are not aware, but these events are expensive, especially for a small winery. They carry the cost of table fees, travel, lodging, and the many bottles of wine they pour. If a winery can sell enough wine to cover their costs, that makes the ROI much
more palatable, instead of tryi
ng to justify only the 'soft' benefits of pouring my wine to new consumers. If they can actually make some money – bingo! After all, winemaking isn't a non profit venture, although it can sometime feels like it!
Voila – The Vinify Wine Collective Tasting
This Saturday, Vinify Wine Services, a custom crush facility located in Santa Rosa that houses boutique winemakers from Sonoma County is offering a unique event. Their member wineries, who produce wines from highly acclaimed vineyards all over the North Coast , representing over 12 varietals and 40+ finished wines, will be holding a special tasting, that exemplifies what I just discussed.
These are small, artisan producers, many of whom have no tasting room and limited distribution. At this event, not only can you taste their wines, but you can walk out the door (after you pay) with your favorites. Some of these are culty producers with waiting lists, others are new emerging stars.
$25 lets you experience these wines, and take home a Riedel Burgundy glass. A variety of cheese & other nibbles will also be available. I attended this event last year, and was impressed, look forward this tasting with great anticipation. Click here for more information, and tickets. Space is limited. See you there!
- Baker Lane
- Bjornstad Cellars
- Lattanzio Winery
- Sojourn Cellars
- Westerhold Family Vineyards
- Calluna Vineyard
- Jemrose Vineyard
- Barbed Oak Vineyards
- Argot Wines
- Desmond Wines
- Frostwatch Vineyard and Winery
- Olson Ogden Wines
- Gracianna Winery
- Vaughn Duffy Wines
- Audelssa Estate Winery
- Wren Hop Vineyards & Winery
- Super Sonoman Wines
- Kanzler Vineyards