Will the Wildfires Affect California Wine Country Tourism?

Summary: I am doing a study on interest in California Wine Country tourism. Its purpose is to understand how the October 2017 wildfires influence interest in visiting Wine Country counties — Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino and Solano. This study is important because many wineries depend on wine tourism for their livelihood. I’m inviting you to participate – it takes just a few minutes. Click this link to join the study. I will share the results here on LinkedIn and with Wine Country organizations to help with their marketing and communications. Your answers will contribute to giving great advice.

Here’s why I’m doing the research and asking you to take part: Two of my family members suffered damages from the Northern California wildfires. For one, only a chimney and incinerated car remain. The other met with little harm, just some smoke damage and debris outside the home, both easily cleaned. The first faces a period of disruption and rebuilding. The second returned to near-normal just a few days after the evacuation order lifted. My family’s experience echoed that now going on in Wine Country, today an assortment of structures burned and unburned, vineyard survivors and victims, intact infrastructure and that needing repair. The impacts vary from one winery, restaurant, or business to the next, like those experienced within my family.

Although I don’t live there, my Wine Country connections run deep. I visit as often as I can. Some readers may know that I do research on wine, with a special interest in raising the contribution of online wine sales directly by wineries to their revenue mix. Through that work I’ve developed and enjoy personal and business relationships with wineries of all types and outstanding wine people.

Small and mid-sized wineries, especially, rely on wine tourism for the all-important direct-to-consumer revenue—tasting room sales, wine club subscriptions, gift shop sales, and event sales from weddings, corporate meetings, reunions, and so forth.

I wondered if the wildfires would affect interest in Wine Country tourism and, by extension, the potential impacts on winery’s DTC revenue. I wanted to know which ideas people hold that would stimulate or depress interest in touring Wine Country now. Do those vary by age, gender, or by having visited in the past? Do the ideas fall into mindsets that can be applied to segmenting potential visitors and promoting the most persuasive messages to them?

To answer these questions, I created a study using the BigMind app.

I’m inviting you to participate in the study. Click this link to join the study. It takes just a few minutes. As mentioned above I’ll share the results in a follow-up LinkedIn article, and with Wine Country organizations who may find the results helpful to their marketing and communication efforts designed to stimulate wine tourism.

Thanks in advance for participating.

What Type of Online Wine Buyer are You? Mind-type Yourself!

I often start presentations of Millennials, Mindsets & Money … And Buying Wine Online by asking participants to discover their mind-type for buying wine online directly from wineries. I take them through a simple web-based four-question exercise to do that.

You can do it, too, just as I do. Just click the graphic. An external page will open presenting four questions. Answer each question. Then click the Submit button. The first time you do it, answer honestly for yourself.  You will then be “mind-typed,” presented with your mindset segment, a description, and the ideas that resonate most strongly and negative with you about buying wine online directly from a winery. Afterwards, play around with different patterns to uncover the three mindsets.

Strong statements within a mindset increase interest in buying wine online directly from wineries. These are the types of marketing and sales messages that wineries can communicate to increase the likelihood that a web visitor might convert to a paying customer. The trick is to mind-type your winery’s website visitors, segment them by mind-type, and then deliver the most resonant messages to each mindset segment.

I’ve personally mind-typed over 100 winery executives. You might think that people who work together would be of similar minds. I sure did. But when I mind-typed any group of 2 or larger, the mindsets were diverse and not determined by age (a point made in the presentation linked to above. The presentation contains links to the full study e-book, the complete data set, and an ROI calculator for wineries who execute strategies based on mind-type and those that do not).

Go ahead and try it. Contact me with your thoughts and experiences. If you’re interested in using this tool for your winery, send an email to steve at sdrconsultingllc.com

Millennials, Mindsets & Money – & Selling Wine Online: Executive Summary

Sonoma State Wine Business Education students started contacting me about 10 days ago to request a copy of “Millennials, Mindsets, and Money … & Selling Wine Online” an e-book co-authored with my long-time colleague Howard R. Moskowitz. I wrote a couple of posts summarizing the research, but I also present an executive summary of the e-book to wineries and industry groups, embedded below for reading, clipping, or downloading. Evidently a lecture given by Rob McMillen of Silicon Valley Bank  stimulated the students’ interest. McMillen referenced comments we exchanged in his post “The Tough Questions Wine Clubs Face.” Scroll down a little ways in the comments section to read them.

Through sharing the presentation, my hope is that “Millennials, Mindsets, and Money … and Selling Wine Online,” will help the many wineries impacted by the October 2017 wildfires. Although those fires spared many of the vineyards, they damaged buildings and roads. Because small and mid-sized wineries depend on direct-to-consumer sales through their tasting rooms, wine clubs, and gift shops, developing online wine sales needs to become a priority that aims to establish an additional revenue stream while reducing the shortfall from a probable decline in sales from drop-offs in wine tourism.