Tour de Tanks. The very sound of that phrase demands a shift in my thinking for the next month. Gone are the weekends, gone is the inbox with only thirty messages to answer, gone is the focus on winemaking.
It's a tough sacrifice, but for those of us who aren't backed by tons of spare capital, you do what you have to do. The beauty of this Mason-Dixon Wine Trail event is that it brings the wineries up onto the radar of the local folks in the area. Sure, we get a lot of people coming from out of town to see what this new wine region is about. But for the wineries it's really about cementing our relationships with our neighbors, whoever they might be. And the fact that wine drinkers can compare apples to apples helps as well.
I've spent the past few years basically putting on a mini-show in the barrel area. (And, yes, I do barrels, even though it's called "Tour de Tanks." Part of my ornery spirit.....) At this point, we're finally at the point where at least 1/2 the people coming through have actually been out to our place before. We are off the beaten path, but thanks to the invention of GPS's, we now have more customers than before.
This year I am trying something different, and we'll see if it works. I'd like to think that a lot of our audience has experienced local wines at this point and has at least heard of us. With that in mind, I hope to avoid telling the basics of our winery's history and instead focus on questions people might have. People come out to the wineries during this event for an experience. For our part, we're hoping to share what we do with them and sell lots of wine at the same time. The question is, what makes for the best experience.
I've decided I'm going to try to stop talking at people and start talking with them. Hopefully we can get some lively conversations going. A little wine might help.