Art showings, book signings, barrel-making demonstrations, a rock concert, an American Idol type contest at Sapolil Cellars, massages in the vineyard and even a college fencing display (as in jousting with swords, not posts) were part of the recent Walla Walla Spring Release Weekend.
Wine visitors like events as it gives an added reason to visit other than to taste the wine. Yes, I know that the purists in the industry will insist it is all about the wine, but in this competitive period when more bodies in the tasting room usually means more sales, it is about driving both awareness and your bottom line.
Amazing creativity aside, where I see most wineries falling down in their staging of a successful event is in giving themselves enough lead time to get the word out. Typically, I ask clients to give me six weeks before the event date to promote it. The first couple of weeks are needed to create awareness of the event itself and the weeks preceding the event to drive the RSVPs. Repetition is your friend here. Too often, wineries mention it once to their list and call it a day.
If you are selling tickets to an event, consider branding the event with both a catchy name and a visual. I love what Jamie Peha did with the recent Merlot-Gone-Mad event. And you can bet that this event will happen again next year. The branding work done this year will be a welcome short cut for next time.