New York Wine & GrapeNews



The Press Deck 2/21 ~ Future of Wine Tourism ~ RSVP for B.E.V. NY ~ New Business Member ~ Sip & Sample Event in Albany ~ Native Grapes 101

Valerie Ross

Category: Industry

The Press Deck ~ 2-21-18

The Press Deck ~ Future of Wine Tourism ~ RSVP for B.E.V. NY ~ New Business Member ~ Sip & Sample Event in Albany ~ Native Grapes 101
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Dear Friends,

I recently caught up with Morgen McLaughlin by phone to discuss wine tourism trends.  Morgen currently leads the Willamette Valley Wineries Association in Oregon, and previously served as President & CEO of Finger Lakes Wine Country from 2007-2013.  In December, NYWGF received a $93,750 grant through the Market NY program to conduct research on how to elevate New York's wine tourism experience.  Given Morgen's background in promoting wine tourism in New York, I wanted to get her point of view on how the NYWGF can better position itself as the voice for wine tourism to New York's wine trails, winery tasting rooms and grape growing regions.  I also sought her feedback on how to best leverage the grant support from the State to make this an impactful and meaningful research project.

Morgen directed me to the State of the Wine Industryreport released annually by Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).  She highlighted that New York outpaces all other US wine regions in terms of winery visitations (see page 31).  The quantity of wine tourists to New York puts our wineries at an advantage to leverage Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) sales. The report notes that many wine regions are seeing declines in tasting room visitation yet experiencing increasing revenues.  SVB attributes this to retiring baby boomers with less discretionary income and millennials on limited budgets opting to visit less wineries, but they chose to buy more wine at the wineries that they do visit.  This seems to verify some anecdotal data that I have heard informally about Seneca Lake tasting rooms.

While New York tasting rooms represent a good value for wine tourists, Morgen stressed that New York could elevate the quality of the experience.  New York is competing against Paso Robles, Walla Walla, and Willamette wine regions that have made serious investments over the past decade in their wine tourism experiences, which includes the availability of quality lodging and restaurant options.  And, consumers looking to develop travel itineraries can go to dynamic and engaging websites for each region.  Morgen observed that currently NYWGF is not the centralized location for wine tourism info.  There is a need for a NY Wine Country or wine tourism consumer facing website.  This centralized website could be a valuable promotional channel for those wineries without staff or resources to promote themselves.

I have been hearing similar feedback as I travel across the state for our strategic planning regional focus groups.  The industry is looking for NYWGF to take the lead in supporting the development of regional brand identities and to curate consumer targeted communications to highlight the diversity of our wine regions.  I see the potential for elevating our wine tourism messaging by working closer with our local tourism promotion agencies, I Love NY, wineries and wine trails.  The grant support from the State will help us take the first step in implementing a new paradigm for wine tourism in New York.  Stay tuned for more updates on this project!


Sam Filler, Executive Director