Washington wine road trip
Wine buyers and sommeliers from Florida and California taste samples from Woodward Canyon Winery during the recent Washington Wine Road Trip.
A group of nearly 40 wine buyers from major U.S. restaurants and retailers visited Washington State in early fall during a road trip through the wine country’s vineyards and wineries as part of an industry effort to raise awareness of Washington wines. The domestic promotion is sponsored by the Washington Wine Commission, and included stops in Seattle and eastern Washington wine grape growing regions. Collectively, the group represented more than $750 million in annual purchasing power, making it the most influential group in the program’s three-year history.
Among the guests were the worldwide wine buyer for Costco; four Master Sommeliers (there are just 105 Master Sommeliers in the United States); the nationwide buyer for Vino Volo, a popular chain of wine bars with locations in airports; the regional buyer for Whole Foods; and the sommelier for Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, Florida, which boasts the world’s largest restaurant wine list.
“This was the best group we’ve had, and it was incredibly successful,” said the Wine Commission’s Ryan Pennington.
The Wine Commission conducts pretour and follow-up surveys of the participants’ wine buying records and restaurant listings to track changes in their wine listings and purchase decisions. “Traditionally, we do see an increase in the listings and sales bumps from the visits and more dedication to promotions for Washington wines,” Pennington said.