The blog and experience continues.  It has been an incredible week to say the least.  The company name is getting out there.  That’s exactly what you want and need.  However, with the increase in business, a whole new level or organization and time management is needed.  When starting this business I thought, I have a service that is wanted and needed.  Something not provided by the other wine tour companies.  Sounded easy right? Well that is just part of the fun.  Yes I had a product to sell, but how to tell people that I’m offering this unequalled wine tour experience.  I had a very professional web site built, I had rack cards that really stand out printed.  I had business cards printed.  I created a Facebook page created for the business as well.  Okay?…….Now what?  How do you get your website to pop up on Google?  How do you get your Facebook seen?  Not only do you want these seen, but you want people to act on them.  Yes the ultimate goal is to sell them a wine tour.  I have yet to figure out the answers to those questions.  I have a service, I have the passion and drive to make this company grow and be successful.  I have the support of family and friends.  You might say that that is all you need.  Yes those are key to success, but unless people know that this service is available, Drive and Passion fall short of success.

To help fix this situation I have hired a very smart, very professional young woman to manage my social media.  Social media (Facebook, Instagram and even TikTok are vital components to get your name seen.  We sat down and came up with a list of things that need to be changed, improved upon and of course added.

  1. Boosting the rank in which Google lists me during a search
  2. Create an Instagram business page
  3. Create photo and video content to be added to both pages
  4. Create at least one to two posts per week, in order to keep the page vibrant and active.
  5. Create Facebook adds and boost posts on the page as well

I’m so excited to welcome Kaylee to the team.  Her energy and intelligence are so present that it’s contagious.  I’m looking forward to working with her over the next months as we endeavor to get this ship out of the port.

Then I looked at my products that I am offering.  Some questions came to mind with these as well

  1.  The Experience:  3 wineries, 4-5 tasting pours each, pick up and drop off at your B&B, gift bags for each guest, photo’s air dropped at the conclusion of the tour. One hour and fifteen minutes each winery,
  2. The Reserve Experience: 3 wineries, 4-5 tasting pours each, pick up and drop off at your B&B, gift bags for each guest, photos’s air dropped, A charcuterie board at the first winery, and a food and wine pairing at the last winery.
  3. The Select Reserve Experience:  A private tour, you and your guests only.  You have the freedom to choose which wineries you would like to visit.  3-4 tasting pours each winery, gift bags for each guest, Dinner reservations made.  Pick up and drop off after dinner at your B&B.  Photo’s air dropped at the conclusion of the tour.

I looked at these and I wanted to make sure that I was offering a service that at least matched what else was available, but more importantly what makes me different and better.  My mission statement:  Offer and unequalled wine tour experience.  I want my guests to know that they are my #1 priority.  I want to offer a more intimate, memory building, relaxing, enjoyable experience.  I want to build a relationship with the guests where they feel comfortable enough to join in a partnership for success.  That sounds corny…..but it exactly what I am striving to provide.  I want the guest to arrive in Fredericksburg, put their bags down at their B&B, and then rely on me to take care of all the little details.  I do the driving, I make the reservations and I offer them a safe space to sit back and enjoy.  The gift bags and photos air dropped, give the guest something tangible to touch and remember the great time that they had with About Town Wine Experience.

Then I looked at the vehicle I would need to do these wine tours.  Several factors went into this decision.  The first was what kind of vehicle, it became obvious that a van was the best choice.  Second was deciding on a new or used vehicle.  I would not enjoy riding around town in a vehicle that is ratted out, dirty, full of musty overs etc… So a new van became the choice.  Cost also went into the decision.  Used vans, used Suburbans or Expeditions all were very expensive ($80-$90 thousand).  Used vans were almost non existent.  So two decisions were made, (1. A Van, and 2.  A new vehicle.)  Now I was down to a limited number of choices. (not many manufacturers make vans.)  The choices were down to Mercedes Sprinters, Ford Transits, Toyota Sienna’s and Lincoln Town and Country.  The Mercedes and Fords were beautiful, but Mercedes costs an arm and a leg for base models, Ford was reasonable but with the supply shortage I would have been looking at 7 to 8 month wait.  Toyota was better priced, loaded with all the amenities and they had stock available.  Decisions made.  a black Toyota Sienna fully loaded.  I was over the top with excitement the day I took possession.

I then rented a parking slot from the nicest Storage Company (Der Storage Platz).  I can keep the van indoors.  I set up the slot with all of the tools needed to keep the van pristinely cleaned and detailed.  Before every tour I make sure that the van feels like a brand new vehicle for each guest.  For safety, I sanitize the entire inside of the van to give the guest a safe environment in which to enjoy the tour.

The next decisions came when it was time to choose which wineries would be visited during the tours.  Tours 1 & 2 I make the decisions, in The Select Reserve the guests choose which wineries they would like to visit.  The easiest way for me to make these choices was to rank the vinyards according to my experience and the feedback from the guests from previous tours,

  1.  Kalasi Cellars:  (kalasicellars.com)  I can’t say enough about Kalasi Cellars.  Their wine is exceptional, The service is above and beyond and its set in a beautiful environment.  Great Reds
  2. Bingham Family Vinyards:( binghamfamilyvineyards.com)  By far a crowd favorite.  Award winning wines, great service, relaxed and enjoyable environment.  They have a wine for everyone.
  3. Lost Draw Cellars:( www.lostdrawcellars.com)
  4. Mendlebaum : (www.mendelbaumcellars.com ) A mix of Isreali wines and Texas wines.  Great service, very good wines and an overall unique experience.
  5. Texas Heritage Vinyards:   ( www.texasheritagevinyard.com )  Fantastic wines, wonderful view and environment, very attentive and knowledgeable service.

These were the start of my selections.  Of course there is over 110 wineries in the Texas Hill Country.  My goal was to pick out the outstanding wineries that would illustrate the wide selection of vinyards available in the “Nappa of the South.”

The last thing I’ll blog about today was the ribbon cutting ceremony I had with the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce: https://www.visitfredericksburgtx.com/

What a great day, a little formal and a little awarkward, but what a great chance to network and get to know other leaders of business here in Fredericksburg Texas.  Here is a picture of the ribbon cutting.  It was nice to celebrate the grand opening of About Town Wine Experience with a bunch of new friends.