Dec 28, 2015
While it may seem as if the tourism industry gets to sit back and take a breather, putting together thoughts and plans for the coming busy season during the winter months, that is not the case for us here at the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail office. Beginning in August, we start planning for the following year and by November, our budget is mostly determined and we’re already executing plans and programs for the time ahead.
Immediately after the last weekend of our Holiday Shopping Spree in December, we begin marketing and selling Season Passes which are good for all four of our annual events in the next calendar year. They are available as a single person pass for $90, a 35% discount from purchasing all 4 event tickets separately, or a couples pass for $155. Along with Season Passes, we launch the updated Vino Visa Coupon Book. The Vino Visa, which retails for $15, has a value worth over $300 of coupons from each winery, plus accommodations, attractions, restaurants and transportation services along the Trail. Some wineries offer free tastings, some a discount or souvenir when you make a purchase. Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts extend a discount to coupon holders and various attractions such as theatres and bowling alleys offer free admission. The Vino Visa Coupon Book is valid now through December 31, 2016.
In the meantime, we’re gearing up for the Trail’s first annual event, Mardi Gras. This year marks our 14th celebration along the Trail. The dates are set for February 20th and 21st. Event goers collect beads, taste food and wine pairings and compete in a scavenger hunt for which the winner will receive a mixed case of wine from our members. It’s a great way to find your favorite wines while having as much fun as a crazy night on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Before Mardi Gras occurs, we’re making preparations for the second ever Bacon on the Lakein. This event was highly successful in its first year and we’re certainly looking forward to seeing all the bacon lovers again on the weekend of March 19th and 20th. Everyone’s ticket has a tear off stub that’s to be used as an entry form at each winery visited for a chance to win one of the sixteen barbeque themed wine baskets. The more wineries that people visit the more chances they have to win. Each winery whips up a tasty bacon treat to pair with their hand-crafted wines. Bacon lovers unite!
Next on the list is the ever-popular Wine & Herb Festival. Everyone gets a jump start on their herb garden by collecting potted veggie or herb plants at each winery visited. In efforts to avoid scheduling conflicts with Mother’s Day festivities, this year’s event is set for the weekends of April 22nd to 24th and April 29th, 30th and May 1st. The food pairings are inventive and everyone gets to take the matching recipes home with them to recreate once their herb garden is in full bloom. This one sells out quick, so plan ahead!
With these two and three-day event tickets, each person gets to visit all 16 wineries along the Trail from the start of the event on Friday or Saturday until close of business on Sunday in whichever order they desire. We also offer discounted designated drivers tickets as well as transportation and accommodation packages.
Kathy and I are busy from now until after Wine & Herb is complete. Social media promotion is at its highest since the wineries experience a drop in visitation through the winter months. We are constantly trying to strum up creative ways to remind people that the wineries are open during the winter and would love to have more guests. After our Spring events and when school lets out, the wineries become bustling locations sprawling with visitors and their furry companions.
For now, we’re placing ads, creating eye-catching content and working to remind everyone how awesome it is to visit the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail with the hopes that you think of us when you’re planning your next day-trip, weekend getaway, anniversary celebration or bachelorette party.
Cassandra Harrington is the executive director of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. To learn more, visit cayugawinetrail.com.