Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Event planning is like throwing a dinner party for ten, getting only four RSVP’s, having everyone show up late, bringing a friend who has food allergies- and toting in some babies, young children and a couple of dogs. Along the Wine Road, with our three annual events- A Wine & Food Affair (5000 attendees), Winter Wineland (7000 attendees) and Barrel Tasting (20,000-30,000 attendees) – it sometimes seems like we are staging a battle, but with 40,000 Wine Road glasses and wristbands instead of WMD’s.
Our online ticketing allows guests to choose their starting winery and that totally helps us and the wineries know who to expect (we keep careful RSVP lists) so that we have the correct event supplies at each winery and food and staff are covered. We have honed our event management and planning very carefully over the years- there is a reason for everything we do and we try to provide the best possible experience for our guests. And yet, why oh why, with lots of happy guests and great times, do I often best remember the one or two negative comments that come my way? I dread the emails that start like this:
I’m not sure if you’re the right person to receive this feedback so if you’re not, perhaps you could pass it on….
And here it comes:
I have been attending the annual barrel tastings for years now and I have to say I did not like the changes that were made this year such as having to buy tickets online by a certain date to get them at the lower price and choosing which winery you were going to visit as a starting point. By doing it this way takes away the flexibility and spontaneity this event used to offer. Weather has also been a factor in making a decision which day to go, for me anyway.
Yikes! We already worked through this with all the wineries deciding how we would be running the event. Barrel Tasting has become so popular; we needed to provide responsible controls. And then here it comes again, but this next guest has a different set of thoughts and actually kinda sees why we do it the way we do it- he does not think we are imperialistic martinets just trying to arbitrarily torture guests:
The Saturday (Barrel Tasting) madhouse with big limos and too many people seemingly more interested in getting wasted and making the scene rather than doing some serious wine exploring (not to mention the exasperated looks on the faces of the winery staff) got us thinking about what could be done to tone things down a bit. Perhaps the new policy for 2009, $20 in advance but $30 at the door is a step in this direction?
I’m assuming the wineries and WINE ROAD are of the same mind as we – wanting this to be a relaxed event for those serious about wines and appreciative of the unique opportunity to taste barrel samples.
Exactly so! True.