A big reason your wine club members signed up for your wine club was to drink some incredible wine. But another reason was to gain exclusive access to your winery — and every experience it has to offer.
Wine club events can be those exclusive experiences. Many wine clubs plan pick-up parties or exclusive tastings, so how do you make sure your events really stand out? And how do you make sure each event brings in revenue, retains your current members and grows your club's member base?
As the manager of a wine club, you have the opportunity to build your brand. Hosting a killer event is key to making the most of that opportunity and improving your wine club. We've come up with some ideas we think could add some zest to your wine club get togethers, entice new members to join and continue to engage long-term members. You'll be able to track the success of your events over time with the right technology, so you can see exactly how your careful planning is paying off in increased wine club memberships and bottles sold.
How to pick the right event for your winery
Event production involves a lot of moving pieces and advanced planning. So consider making your event schedule at the beginning of the year to successfully pull together what kind of events you'll want to host and what you'll need to do it. Caterers and entertainment are often booked months ahead of time.
There are many possible themes and plans to choose from, so how do you know you're choosing the right ones for the year? You'll need to consider your budget, your brand and your audience. A fancy catered dinner and passed hors d'oeuvres may be perfect for your upscale brand, or a food truck may be appropriate if you're more casual. Take your members' demographics and preferences into account too. If most of your members live far away, consider doing more events on the road. If they have kids, consider hosting child-friendly events during the day. All in all, you should choose ideas that embrace your brand and fit your budget. We've assembled some ideas here to get you started but feel free to tweak the ideas to match your winery and give your wine club members a wonderful time!
- Trivia night: Trivia nights are a popular way for groups to engage. You can pick whichever theme you think would work best for your wine club members — wine facts being an easy and relevant option.
- Treasure hunt: Think Easter egg hunt but wine themed. If weather permits, this can be a great way to show people the vineyard and will definitely be something they remember! If this sounds too adventurous, you can make different "choose your adventure" paths depending on how far a team wants to go out in the vineyard.
- Mystery nights: If you're looking to do something even more exciting, consider a mystery-themed party. Picture "Clue," but with more people. This would be great near Halloween too. Take cue from a mystery party package and then scale it as needed for the number of guests or to include more wine-related details.
- Lawn games: In the summer, set up a tournament for corn hole, croquet or bocce! Then, in the winter, take it inside the winery space to remind your wine club members of warmer days.
- Vineyard tour: A more traditional and upscale option to get to know the winery grounds is a vineyard tour. This is a lovely option for warmer days or evenings. Take members around the grounds and through the winery. They'll love the exclusive access and getting the full story behind their favorite wines. Bonus points if the owner or winemaker leads the tour.
- Outdoor/indoor movie night: When the weather is nice, there is little better than an outdoor movie with a bottle of your favorite wine. All you need is a projector and a screen (white sheet) on the side of the winery with some space for seating. Have members bring chairs from home or provide chairs and blankets to make it even fancier.
- Concert: Small concerts are a great event option because of how customizable they are. From folk trios to string quartets — consider what your wine club members would most enjoy, then invite them for a night of lovely tunes paired with their favorite wines.
- Local vendors/artisans/makers: Invite local vendors from the neighboring areas to come by for a private artisan's market. Set up booths where members can work on their own crafts.
- Holiday-themed parties: You can always take advantage of the holidays to throw some great parties. Host a costume contest or a Valentine's day dinner!
- Rethink the pickup party: Many wineries hold "pickup" parties for their members. But just going to pick up your wine is not that exciting. By calling it a release party, harvest party or something else more enticing, you can increase attendance and engagement with members.
Food and wine
- Featured wine night: Pick a wine and make it the theme of the evening. This idea is perfect for any special releases or limited-edition wines you have in the cellar!
- Educational events: Consider hosting an educational tasting of older vintages or multiple varietals hosted by your winemaker. Expand your audience by partnering with neighboring wineries to compare and contrast your wines.
- Supper club: There are so many options available for providing dinner to your guests!
- Invite a local chef to create a special pairing for each wine.
- Consider getting out of the winery and hosting dinner at a local restaurant paired with exclusive wines.
- Choose a location where members are located out of town and bring the wine club event to them!
- Maybe a member has expressed interest in you hosting an event at their home? Reach out to the community through that connection.
- Virtual tasting: Virtual tastings may have been born out of necessity during the pandemic, but they have proven to offer real returns. Your winery can delivery intimate experiences in homes, offices and kitchens across the nation; engaging in meaningful interactions that your Club Members are craving. We've got you covered on how to plan a virtual tasting.
- Sensory experiences: Pack your shipments with complementary (or adverse!) non-perishable food, spices, candles, or other objects to enhance your members tastings, even if they can’t come into the winery. Offer information on why the objects you selected enhance or take away from the wine to deepen your member’s wine education and understanding.
- Influencer events: Leverage relationships with public figures to spend time with your members. With busy schedules in mind, an event on Zoom may be the best way to do this. Plus, it guarantees that everyone has an evenly matched experience.
Remember, wine club events are a great way to attract new members as well as to engage existing ones. If your events are free for members, consider allowing them to bring a guest, or sell tickets to non-members. If you charge for your events, offer your members a discount off the full ticket price. Make sure you have a plan in place to convert these guests into members at the event.
Each of these wine club event ideas can be tailored to your specific winery and your wine club members. The more memorable and exciting your event is, the more your members will discuss their experience and share with friends, and the more people will be engaged with your winery and your wine club. Get planning!