More than 150 representatives attended a series of Vinpro Wine Tourism Workshops, which were held in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Rawsonville and Elgin recently. During the workshops, South African wineries were reminded of the importance of creating a great cellar door experience to strengthen their brand and increase revenue.

“There are three things that are going to set you apart: people, place and story. You are different people, you’re from different places and you all have your own stories,” said Robin Shaw, founder of Wine Tourism Australia.

She encouraged wineries to make their stories real, simple and memorable so that visitors can easily relay it back home. “We’re seeing a rise in experiential travellers who want authentic, personalised experiences that they can brag about,” Robin says.

Experience worth travelling for

There is a global increase in female group travel, a trend towards localism (learning about the destination and culture from locals), as well as the ‘new luxury’, which translates into a sense of exclusivity and scarcity. An increase in culinary experiential travellers is especially an important growth opportunity for wine tourism.

“The more we can combine experiences around food, wine and special activities, the better we will be able to attract these types of experiential travellers, which will raise awareness of your brand, increase visitor numbers and grow wine tourism revenue,” Robin says. “Make your experience worth travelling for.”

An important channel

Wine tourism also offers exciting and important alternative channels to market, says marketing consultant Carlen Wahl.

“The cellar door, e-commerce platforms and wine clubs are exciting channels in the wine tourism space. They give you the opportunity to build a relationship with your consumers and personalise your offering. These channels also offer a shorter route to market, which translates into higher margins,” Carlen says.

“Think beyond the cellar door sale that’s happening right now,” says Robin. “Tell visitors where they can find your wine after they’ve left your premises (online or in retail stores) and finally build a lasting relationship with them through wine clubs, return visits and online reviews.”

Vinpro Wine Tourism Toolkit

The content for the workshops was drawn from the Vinpro Wine Tourism Toolkit, a free online resource for businesses who want to establish or expand their wine tourism footprint. “We’re hosting these workshops to help wineries build confidence in the practical implementation of the toolkit’s principles in their businesses,” says Marisah Nieuwoudt, Vinpro wine tourism manager.

Vinpro developed the toolkit in collaboration with Wine Tourism Australia and local experts, and the toolkit and workshops were made possible through a financial contribution from the Cape Winelands District Municipality. Access the toolkit at www.toolkit.vinpro.co.za.