Making the Most of Press Visits: A Winery's Guide to Hosting Journalists & Trade

10 top tips to maximise the impact of your press visit


4/8/20244 min leggere

The consorzio you're part of is organising an incoming of trade and press, and a visit to your property is on the programme. It’s an invaluable opportunity to get your wines in front of eyes that matter – if done right.

Here are 10 top tips to make the most of these visits:

1. Know Your Guests: You’ll surely receive a list of participants from the body organising the press-trip, if you don’t – ask and then take a moment to understand who they are and where they come from. Google their names before the arrive so you have an idea of who is who, knowing if a person is male or female really helps – they’ll also appreciate it if you can greet them with their first name or “you must be..” rather than the phrase I hear all too often to the group leader “Chi sono?” (who are they?)..

2. Tailor your tour and tasting to their interests: By understanding what your guests write about, you can also focus on showing them something they’ll be interested in: Does someone write about tourism? Show them what you offer in terms of wine tourism packages, special events with food and music, or whatever you’re doing to bring people in. Are the guests MW students? If so, they’ll be more interested in the technical aspects of your work and what new things you are doing in the winery and cellar.

3. Make sure your presentation is captivating and delivered by someone who knows everything: Don’t treat a visit by press or trade the same as a group of wine lovers. They’ll want the details of everything and will be able to spot if you’re not well prepared - even before you do. Make sure that the person delivering the tour and tasting can share anecdotes, insights into winemaking practices, and the real history of the winery to provide context and depth.

4. Get heavy on the details: Following on from the point above, these visitors are more interested in stories and facts than seeing your bottling line or barrel-store. Unless you have something extremely interesting and unique, cut the visit short and spend more time on the tasting. Another alternative is to ditch the cellars completely and show them the vineyards. Be sure to give them insights into the specificities of your vineyards, the make-up of the soils, any interesting stories you have about the varieties or clones you have planted.

5. Be Authentic : Journalists and trade love to hear about what you’re trying out. Sustainability is a huge theme, so tell them what you’re doing to make your farming and production more sustainable as well as any other new things you have going on in your vineyards or cellars. How are you facing the challenges of a changing climate? Don’t be scared to tell them about anything that went wrong and what you learnt in the process. Being able to tell a story about why you decided to do what you do builds authenticity and credibility.

6. Be Equipped: Trade and press will not drink your wines except for during meals. To avoid that uncomfortable moment where someone has a mouth full of wine they and nowhere to put it, make sure the tables are set up already with individual spit-buckets or larger buckets for every 2/3 people, water, water glasses and a serviette. Bonus marks for a wine list in the correct order.

7. Be Hospitable: Address them directly, shake everyone’s hand. Don’t only speak to the tour leader. Make sure the connection is direct. Another part of making a great impression is having coffee or chilled water (for hot days) available when they arrive. If they’ve been somewhere else before they arrive to you, show the way to the bathroom before starting your tour.

8. Respect Timings and Itinerary: Press-trips are usually tight on time. Respecting the time frame will make it more pleasant for everyone involved – especially the tour leader and driver. The best visits for trade and press are the ones with the most wines and most details. There may be some flexibility in the programme to see something particular or give them samples from the barrels if you see they are really interested in certain wines but get the all clear from the tour-leader first.

9. Open an older vintage: Make the visit truly memorable by offering guests a taste of something from your cellar – older bottles or barrel samples. If there’s interest in a particular wine, open a bottle or two of your older vintages. They may not be relevant to driving sales, but having the chance to experience how your wines age is an exclusive experience which not all cellars provide.

10. Don’t laden them up with brochures: Any brochures you force on them will end up in the hotel bin. Instead, send them a “thanks for your visit” email with the presentation and any other information they asked for. Don’t be too pushy in terms of prices and sales, if you have products that will work for them or their contacts, they’ll be back in touch. The main thing is to keep the contact and keep that going for the next times you might meet.

At the end of the day, your wines are the most important part of receiving a group to your winery but if you can get all the other parts right, they’ll taste even better.