The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

Lessons learned from Wine country… May 25, 2009

Posts have been a bit sporadic this past week. Part of the reason for that is because I took a few days off last week (and

The Naramata Bench

The Naramata Bench

by took a few days off, I mean, I took my laptop and blackberry with me, and still ended up doing a couple of hours of work each day–come on summer!), and my sweetie and I headed up to Penticton for some exploring and wine tasting.

If you visit the “Naramata Bench”, just a 10-minute drive from Penticton, there is a long and spectacular road with some two-dozen or so wineries. It is literally one winery after another, and some of BC’s best-know wines come from this region.


Kettle Valley Winery

We first wanted to visit the Joie Winery, but they didn’t have a wine shop, or tastings. We then ended up at  Kettle Valley. For $4 each, we got to taste an ounce of four different kinds of wines–two red, and two white. We didn’t love the wines enough to buy one, but we did participate in a Gewurztraminer slushy, which was extremely civilized on a hot day.



Detail of the Therapy sign

Next up: Therapy Vineyards. Located just up the hill from Kettle Valley, the experience couldn’t have been more different. Kettle Valley’s tasting room was a converted garage. It was a nice a garage, but it was still a garage. Therapy had a specially-built wine-tasting room and store. Tastefully decorated with a long tasting bar, here we got to sample a flight of 7 wines for $3. Therapy uses lots of clever names for its wine–Freudian Sip, Super Ego, and thier most popular, Pink Freud. The gal who poured our wines was able to tell us all about them in a very conversational way, without sounding like she was reading it off of a script. And she was a genuine wine enthusiast herself, telling us about her collection. The experience was very, very positive, and we left with bottle in tow.

At Therapy Vineyards

At Therapy Vineyards

So, why am I writing a blog post about wine tasting on a blog that deals with business in the arts? BecauseDSC_0118 these three wineries were stunning examples of enterprises that we can all learn from.

Joie is quite a successful, critically-acclaimed winery. My feeling is, they think that they don’t need to be so open to their clientele. They feel that business is good, they have a beautiful website and successful sales. For them, that’s enough. At Kettle Valley, I felt like they were maybe just going through the motions. You know: “you should really have a tasting room. It can help to boost sales.” But it felt quite cold and mechanical, without heart. Therapy was doing it right. They were open, conversational, and really let us see behind the scenes. And the result was, we bought in (literally). I will recommend this wine to my friends, I would highly recommend you visit the winery if you are ever in the area, and, in a sea of labels at the liquor store, that one will stand out for me because of its clever marketing.

I know you hear me talk ad nauseum about how all arts businesses should be involved with social media. The reason why is because it helps your clientele to get to know “the real you.” And when they do, they will buy in. And beyond that, become your ambassador. My experience at Therapy was so positive, I now consider myself an ambassador for them. All they are out is some employees’ salaries and 7 ounces of wine. And how much business will they get in return? That’s the hard part to prove, but I can guarantee you it will be more than the business that Joie or Kettle Valley will get from me.

Oh–and one more thing I learned–I apparantly get quite chatty after tasting 7 different wines.

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