You read that headline right. The average Sonoma County family winery generates a profit margin of 10% (or, $100,000 on $1 million in wine sales). What if just 15 events at the winery could generate the same $100,000 in profit?
In the current environment, it is not an easy task to sell more wine, and if challenged to sell, say, an additional $1M, the task would not be trivial. If the mission, however, is to generate the equivalent profit that $1M of wine sales makes, then perhaps the average family winery should be focusing on event revenue.
Given this, selling 15 weddings is the ticket to producing the same $100,000 in profit that the average Sonoma County winery would derive from $1 Million in wine sales.
Attracting the right 15 events to your winery depends on several factors, but suffice it to say, after having helped sell and produce 600 events for Sonoma wineries, we have a solution that works. The next step is up to you, but if that additional income is of interest, finding a way to sell and produce events at your winery profitably might be something worth looking into.
In subsequent issues, we will breakdown the various components that enable a site to generate this type of income on a consistent basis.
Over time, site calendars take on a life of their own and often key dates are not available for clients willing to pay a premium for them.
Many sites sell events that are priced significantly under what the market rate is for a site similar to theirs.
Sites often advertise where it is not cost beneficial and incur staffing costs that are not required.
There is an opportunity to upgrade the wine order by about 25% if done correctly.
Most sites do not gain the advantage of regularly rigorously inspecting what they could be doing better and as a result, don’t do better or as well as they could.
Doing things, the same old, tried and true ways will result in your site working harder and generating less to the bottom line. Times change and odds are that your site and the systems you use to market it need to change also.
Review your permit and fully understand what you are allowed to do.
Benchmark your site against neighbor sites as well as similar sites throughout the county. What would it take for a client to do a similar event at your site as compared to others?
Understand your sales metrics and sales funnel so you can extrapolate the inquiries and site tours you will need to achieve your booking objectives.
Get clear understanding of the volume, cost, and value of each inquiry you can generate via various advertising channels.
Invest in a CRM system to facilitate follow up / drip campaigns to help maximize your marketing return.
Taking on a new site is always a welcomed and exciting challenge. During the first 60 days, we learn how the site is perceived, how the existing team operates, and what their event product has been. When properties with great potential are underutilized, often a few small changes and investments, paired with the additional resources we can bring, will make the space more successful.
A few years ago, we began working with a property that hosted an average of 4-6 private events per year. The space was great: breathtaking views, the onsite assets were considerable and when the heat in the area crept into the 100’s, there was a breeze to keep everything cooler and more enjoyable. There was so much potential, but there were also a few things that needed to be upgraded. Based on our site tour feedback, we learned that the primary structure was missing some softness. Together, we designed some back-lit wall pieces, added some market lighting and refreshed the landscape. We then collaborated with their in-house Chef to create menu options that we knew would appeal to today’s event market.
These modifications quickly generated an increase in bookings. The combination of these changes and their willingness to work together is what made these results possible.
Today, at this site, we are booking an average of 20 private events annually, which has increased site revenue and event wine sales by 300%.
Over the past 5 years, Milestone has helped wineries maximize income and reduce event related stress while generating hundreds of five star reviews.
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site tour host
Matt is a Sonoma County native. He has worked on the production side of events for over two decades. From bartending, to catering to event planning, Matt has done it all. He co-owned one of Marin County’s premier catering and event planning companies for many years. Matt is passionate about sharing our beautiful wine country and helping to create exceptionally memorable events. When he is not working you can find him mountain biking at Annadel State Park or Skiing in Tahoe, or maybe relaxing at a brewpub after a good trail run. Cheers!