Are You a Great Wine Ambassador? Here Are the Top 5 Must-Have Traits

Recently we took a trip to the Willamette Valley—specifically the city of Carlton. Why? Because we had gotten to know a winemaker from that area at the Oregon Wine Experience this summer—and his wines piqued our interest. He is Terry McIntyre, owner and winemaker at Stone Griffon Vineyard and he was all in at the OWE:

  • Received a Gold medal for Stone Griffon 2015 “Dragon’s Blood” Marechal Foch.
  • Donated 20 cases of his 2016 “Dragon’s Blood” Marechal Foch, to be released August 2019, for the Founder’s Barrel Auction.

Terry was compelling, informative, and a great ambassador for his winery—and his wine region. He was so enthusiastic about the Yamhill-Carlton AVA we knew we needed to experience it firsthand. While we were in Carlton, we visited eight tasting rooms and—of course—purchased wines to take back to Southern Oregon to share with our friends and family.

This got us thinking about how important it is for wineries to attend events outside their geographic area—and to serve as ambassadors to promote tourism. To be effective, wineries need to be intentional about whom they send as their ambassador.

Here are the top five traits a great ambassador must have:

  1. Personality, personality, personality.
  2. Ability to read people and meet them where they are—newbie, master, or somewhere in between.
  3. Energy to stay upbeat and engaged throughout the event—these events are usually multiple days with many after-hours parties, and you’ve got to be there.
  4. Knowledge of the region as a whole—so you can plant the hook with the wine and … fly fishing, hiking, biking, theater, etc.
  5. Salesmanship—mastery of the best techniques for closing the deal. You’re there to sell your wine, too!

Ideally, your best ambassador will be the owner and/or winemaker, but they don’t always meet the criteria above. Take a good, hard look, and send your best ambassador to sell your wine—and your region.

Note: Your tourism partners should be doing the same. Make sure they have the knowledge they need about your winery. It will be a win-win!
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