How to create ambassadors for your wine tourism business

Kathleen is a travel wine writer and co-owner of Wine Trail Traveler, LLC. Formerly a Home-Hospital teacher, Kathleen became intrigued with every aspect of wine after visiting several tasting rooms. She enjoys writing about the wine experience, learning the history of wine, winemaking at home and at wineries and cooking with wine. Beginning in 2006 she began writing about the experiences at each winery visited, taking classes and reading everything she could get her hands on. 

Your book called “A Wine Journey” documents 850 wineries you have visited. In what ways have those trips influenced your talk topic? 

Since we wrote A Wine Journey, we have now visited a total of 900 wineries. During those visits we have encountered many delightful experiences, but some visits are more memorable than others, making us wish we could return again and again to the same winery. My presentation topic will include descriptions of ways wineries have made a difference and include suggestions that other wineries can do to give visitors a memorable experience and thereby increasing the chances they will return to your winery.

What part of the wine experience is your favorite part to write about?

My favorite experiences to write about are the unique stories behind the wineries. Some of the stories include the story of the winery name. An example is a winery named Rag Apple Lassie. The unusual history of wineries and the grapes they grow are also intriguing. Particularly enjoyable was learning the story of the grape varietals in vineyards at Villa Matilde in Campania, Italy. For example, Aglianico can be traced back to Ancient History. 

Why do you think creating a wine experience at wineries or through tour operators is important?

Wine is an unusual beverage. It is unique because every wine has a unique aroma and taste formed by the vineyard and crafted by the winemaker. Therefore it is essential for a winery to promote its own wines. For most wineries, the best monetary value is for wines to be sold at the winery’s location or to wine club members. People who enjoy the experience will want to return. If they are not close enough to visit frequently, ideally they can belong to a winery’s wine club and/or order by mail.

Should smaller wineries and bigger wineries present different types of experiences? 

I am not sure the question should be “should” but rather “can.” There are numerous opportunities for small wineries to enhance the visitor’s experience. Smaller wineries do not have the large budgets or facilities to do what the large wineries can do. Often at smaller wineries the owner and winemaker will be available for a few minutes to talk about their wines. The opportunity to talk with an owner, winemaker or viticulturist can be an exceptional experience.

If you could invent the perfect wine experience in Croatia, what would it entail? 

We are arriving in Croatia a few days earlier than IWINETC to visit several wineries. I would prefer waiting until those experiences before suggesting details for a perfect wine experience at a winery in Croatia. However, a perfect wine experience anywhere would include a quick greeting upon arrival, quality and polished stemware with no water spots, friendly and knowledgeable staff, a place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine, soft music, views of vineyards, a winery tour. It’s the little things that count.

Kathleen‘s talk is scheduled for 15:00-15:40 on Friday March 15th in the Istanbul Suite titled Experiences that Cultivate Brand Ambassadors 

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6 responses to “How to create ambassadors for your wine tourism business

  1. In addition to wine travel, Kathy also makes wine. In the above photo, she is dumping lugs of Cabernet Sauvignon into a crusher/destemmer. Kathy spent a week going to Tin Lizzie Wineworks, a winery in Maryland, to punch down the grape skins in the fermentation bins. No we have the wine aging in a new Taransaud French oak barrel for the next couple years.

  2. We discovered that the “magic” of wine requires a whole lot of hard work and knowledge. Grapes don’t magically transfer from the vineyard into a wine bottle. Anyone who complains about the price of a $10 bottle of wine doesn’t know the work and expense in the creation of that bottle of wine.

  3. I was hooked by your title ‘How to create ambassadors for your wine tourism business’ in which I hoped to garner some clues. I found a page where a writer and her book are discussed, but for me the title’s premise was not answered. In fact, the word ‘ambassador’ does not appear in the content of the article.

  4. Hmmm @Gray that’s probably the editors fault indeed the talk at the IWINETC is specifically about the topic – watch out for the post conference speakers notes if unable to attend

  5. Hi Gary,
    Wineries and wine tours have customers. Someone visiting a winery may end up buying a bottle of wine or pay for a wine tasting thus becoming a customer. Generally the winery or wine tour may never see them again. Ambassadors, on the other hand, take a keen interest in your winery or tour. They are so interested that they tell friends and family about you and the experience they had. If they are local, they will bring friends and family to your winery or take a wine tour. Ambassadors will often join a winery’s wine club and/or make frequent visits to the winery to purchase wines. They may use Facebook, Twitter or their blog to write about the winery or wine tour experience. In short, ambassadors market your winery or wine tour. This is a free source of marketing. The question is how to turn customers into ambassadors.

    Cheers, Kathy and Terry

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