By Kim Campbell
Wineries can benefit greatly from hosting regular events for their patrons, wine club members, and online audience. Exciting and engaging events can help wineries increase exposure, drive revenue, and raise their local profile. Additionally, winery owners, venue managers, revenue directors, and sales teams can use events to attract business from specific market segments, increase future event bookings, and strengthen their reputation as a special event venue. If you’re looking for winery event ideas that appeal to customers and benefit businesses, we can help.
In this post, we explore a variety of event types that wineries and vineyards can benefit from hosting. We review winery event ideas that can be used to attract new consumers, improve customer loyalty, boost local business, drive event referrals, and much more. From corporate clients and large organizations to community members and nearby residents, events can help draw the attention of wine lovers near and far.
Increase your venue’s appeal with these winery event ideas
Most wineries don’t receive revenue from wine sales alone. Special events can have a major impact on a winery’s revenue, and many venues attribute a significant portion of their profits to hosting social gatherings, training sessions, tours, and enrichment events.
1. Host wine tastings regularly.
The first and simplest on our list of winery event ideas? Wine tastings. On-site tasting rooms can be powerful revenue drivers for wineries. Eliminating the middle-man expenses associated with selling through a supermarket or distributor, direct-to-consumer tasting room sales provide wider profit margins.
Appeal to a wide audience by hosting a variety of wine-tasting events. Popular tasting styles include:
Horizontal tastings. Present wines produced from different wineries during the same year. Choose a region and explore various wines produced in a single season, noting differences in taste as you move from east to west across the region.
Vertical tastings. Create a lineup of wines all produced at the same winery, but over various years. Explore how wines differ from year to year. Discuss corresponding environmental influences that affected the growing season and how changes in grape production affected the characteristics present in each wine.
Blind tastings. Select 3-5 wines of the same varietal, wine of the same style, made with the same type of grape, but originating from various regions around the world. The varietal is revealed to tasters ahead of time, but not the brand or region. Guests try to determine the producing region based on the wine’s characteristics.
Double-blind tastings. The most challenging tasting for wine connoisseurs, double-blind tastings are as fun as they are difficult. Wines are typically placed in bags and hidden from guests’ view as tasters attempt to determine the varietal and vintage of each wine.
Host member-exclusive tastings that are only open to members of your wine club. Offer discounted tasting rates and host member-only “first tasting” events. During seasonal first-tasting events, wine club members sample the winery’s newest batches before they become available to the public.
2. Host a bridal expo.
Highlight your winery’s wedding services and generate buzz for future events by hosting a bridal expo. Use the event to promote your winery as a premier wedding venue in the area. Whether you’re trying to boost your wedding business or capture it for the first time, organizing a local tradeshow could have a substantial impact on your success.
Drive expo attendance by marketing the event as a fun, stress-free opportunity to streamline the wedding planning process. Create a one-stop shop for engaged couples by including a wide variety of local wedding vendors, such as:
Promote the event online by creating an event page, inviting audience members to attend, and sharing expo content on the winery’s social media accounts. During the expo, provide tours of the winery, highlight wedding setup options, and present day-of preparation spaces, and show off your on-site event services. To further solidify your standing as a reliable wedding venue, list your winery on Cvent Wedding Spot with a detailed description of your venue, services, and package options.
3. Throw wine blending parties.
Attendees of a wine blending party combine different wine varietals, experimenting with flavors and textures, to create a unique blend. Guests are free to express their creativity and experiment with wines from different regions, varietals aged in barrels of different wood types, and even non-wood-aged wines.
Before heading home, event guests can blend their own fresh bottle, complete with a custom label and one-of-a-kind design for an additional fee. While not all blends are destined to be delicious, partygoers will have a blast concocting something completely new.
Promote wine blending parties as an out-of-the-box date night idea or group activity, and drive additional winery revenue by marketing blended take-home bottles as the ideal personalized gift idea. Maximize blending party potential by offering large workshops for corporate groups and organizations.
4. Plan a wine and cheese walk.
Bring local farmers, cheesemakers, and other vendors together for a "wine and cheese walk." Use Event Diagramming software to design the event layout, ensuring that participating vendors have enough setup space, access to electrical equipment, and so much more.
Upon arrival, attendees receive a map of the event, outlining the location of various vendors, activities, and shops. In addition to multiple tasting areas, set up an array of stations and activities to keep visitors engaged, such as:
“Cheeses of the world” exhibit
Grape stomping station
Gourmet wine and cheese pairings
“Cooking with wine” demonstrations
Create objectives guests can achieve at the event to win prizes, such as tasting ten red wines, visiting every booth, or purchasing bottles of wine to take home. After visiting different stations, completing activities, and competing in event challenges, participants earn a stamp on their map. The more stamps event attendees collect, the better the prize they receive at the end of the event.
5. Offer corporate team-building events.
Increase your winery’s appeal as a corporate meeting and event location by adding corporate team-building events to your special event offerings. Offer team-building packages that allow businesses, organizations, and corporate groups to customize their team experience. Design unique team-building activities based on the materials and space available to you and the needs of business clients. Organize wine-themed activities and exercises, such as:
Grape stomping. Grape-stomping (or grape-treading) is a fun, memorable team event. Together, teams will experience the traditional art of grape stomping, forming a lasting memory as grapes squish between their toes.
Scavenger hunts. Participants work together to solve clues, riddles, and puzzles as they move through the winery and across the grounds. Completing the activity will require creative problem-solving, resourcefulness, and quick thinking.
Blind tastings. Blind team tastings operate the same as standard blind tastings; the only difference is that groups work together to identify tasting wines.
Plan team events that focus on improving communication skills, building trust, and improving group decision-making capabilities. Motivate event attendees to actively participate by generating enthusiasm and keeping energy levels high.
6. Develop winemaking masterclasses.
Enotourism is a growing market, with its worth increasing from $6.98 billion in 2021 to $7.68 billion in 2022, demonstrating a compound annual growth rate of 10%. By 2026, the wine tourism industry is estimated to grow to $12.99 billion. Capitalize on the growing trend by adding winemaking masterclasses to your list of winery event ideas.
Masterclasses appeal to wine tourists and individuals who are interested in seeing how wineries operate behind closed doors. Invite guests to take a peek behind the curtain and experience what a day in the life of a winemaker is really like. Masterclass guests can explore the vineyards, tour the facilities, and discuss wines in detail with the people who make them.
As masterclasses are more exclusive and intimate events, limit attendance to keep the class size small. Ticket prices should reflect the exclusivity and expertise level of the class, as attendees are receiving high-quality one-on-one training from an expert winemaker. These are dialogue-heavy events as well, which create fantastic opportunities to make connections and strengthen relationships.
7. Announce a winemaker dinner.
Promote your fabulous winemakers and showcase their skills at an exclusive winemaker dinner. Attendees will have a unique opportunity to dine with the star(s) of your winery, learn all about their processes, and uncover winery secrets that everyday visitors are not privy to. Promote the event as an exclusive opportunity for patrons to rub elbows with their favorite winemakers, discuss their work, and experience their passion for vinifying firsthand.
Make wine a star ingredient in dinner dishes and create cross-promotional opportunities with local farms by featuring their fresh ingredients on the menu. Drive additional revenue by selling promotional wine bundles. Include the evening’s highlighted wines as well as additional specialty bundles hand-picked by the night’s guest of honor.
Host a cocktail reception before the dinner or a dessert reception afterward to help ensure that the winemakers have an opportunity to interact with as many guests one-on-one as possible. Afterward, offer to take attendees on a sentimental guided tour of the winery, deepening their relationship with the brand.
Frequently asked questions about hosting winery events
How do you make wine tasting exciting?
Mix things up by adding a theme to specialty wine-tasting events. Popular tasting themes include ladies’ night, date night, perfect pairings, and regionally focused events. Choose wines from major wine regions, like Italy, France, Spain, and famous regions in the US, such as Southern California or the North Coast.
How do you connect with winery event attendees?
In events, the power of personalization can have a major effect on attendee satisfaction. Make communicating with event attendees a top priority before, during, and after the event. When communicating via email, for example, include a friendly greeting that addresses the recipient by name. Connect with audience members through storytelling and provide value in every single email you send.
During the event, strive to create unique moments for guests, making attendees part of the event. Tailor events to attendees, whether by adjusting the menu or wine selection based on guests or building individual welcome bags for each attendee. Engage with attendees during the event and encourage them to speak up and participate.
Get started putting these winery event ideas to use!
Engaging in events can help attract people to your business, but they have to hear about it first. A strong marketing strategy can help wineries expand their advertising reach, connect with new audience members, and raise attendance levels for future events.
Up next, we take a deeper dive into winery marketing. We look at 11 effective winery marketing strategies for sales, marketing, and event professionals. Discover how to reach your target audience, grow B2B relationships, and so much more.