Sunday, May 11, 2008

Red Rose Wine Trail - Wooing Wineries and Wine Drinkers in Pennsylvania

Grape expectations
Wine makers hope trail will woo customers, boost marketing
By Jessica Bair
Central Penn Business Journal

(Franklin & Marshall College seniors, from left, Julie Stein, Carolyn Chen, Andrew Cantos and David Schaeffer sample wine served by sales associate Loraine Luizzo during a daytrip to Twin Brook Winery in Sadsbury Township, Lancaster County. The winery has increased business since it joined the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail in 2003. Photo/Amy Spangler)

The owners of a Lancaster County winery hope to attract more visitors and increase sales by collaborating with neighboring wineries.

Richard Carey and Linda Jones McKee, the owners of Tamanend Winery in Manheim Township, are developing a wine trail that they hope to launch within six months.

Carey said he plans to invite wineries in Lancaster and York counties to join the Red Rose Wine Trail.

"You have to have a compatible group of people that will do it," Carey said.

Tamanend Winery began in Carey's home in 2001. He relocated to Lancaster County from California, where he had been making wine professionally since 1977. In August, the winery moved into a larger production facility. The company's wine is made solely from grapes Carey buys.

Tamenend's wine is sold at its Red Rose Tasting Room, along King Street in Lancaster. The store also sells wine made by Allegro Vineyards and Moon Dancer Vineyard & Winery, both of York County.

"You could look at the store as being a wine trail where you don't have to travel to the winery," Carey said. "It's a good way to show off what we have all together."

Wine trails are helpful because of being able to work with other wineries to promote and cross-market their wines, he said.

"All the reasons for putting up with that is to get people to know about your wine," Carey said. "It's a fun thing to do. People then remember and come back because they had a good time."

The Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau made an effort to collectively promote the county's wineries in 2006, said Christopher Barrett, president and chief executive officer of the Lancaster County-based organization. The county's wineries were advertised together as a part of FlavorFest, which promoted Lancaster County as a culinary destination, he said.

"FlavorFest was an attempt to get them to band together a little bit more," Barrett said.

Tim Jobe does not think it is good that Lancaster County's wineries have yet to band together and create a wine trail. But he also said the problem may be that the wineries in the county are too far apart.

Jobe is one of three owners of the Twin Brook Winery in Sadsbury Township. It is about 30 miles from the next closest winery in Lancaster County, he said.

Twin Brook has been a part of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail since 2003. Six other wineries are a part of the trail, and Twin Brook is the only one from Lancaster County. Although it is more than 10 miles from the next winery on the trail, Twin Brook has seen increased business as a result of belonging to the trail, he said.

"It's been one of the best things that has happened to us as far as marketing goes," Jobe said. "I spend hardly anything on advertising. All my advertising comes from that."

At least 10 percent of Twin Brook's annual sales come from wine-trail travelers, Jobe said. The main event promoted by the Brandywine trail takes place in March, when business at the winery would normally be slow. Rather than seeing about 30 customers over a weekend, a couple hundred will pay a visit to the winery that month, Jobe said.

"Wine trails are a fantastic thing," Jobe said. "I would have never imagined it would be such a great business booster. It's really been a fabulous way to get people through."


Lancaster County wineries

Lancaster County Winery
799 Rawlinsville Road in Willow Street

Mount Hope Estate & Winery
2775 Lebanon Road in Manheim

Nissley Vineyards & Winery Estate
140 Vintage Drive in Bainbridge

Tamanend Winery
759 Flory Mill Road in Lancaster

Twin Brook Winery
5697 Strasburg Road in Gap

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