Also: Tasting rooms for Crushpad, Bacigalupi family and Somerston; new website for downtown NapaThe Sonoma County Tourism Bureau is increasingly benefitting from two sources -- trade shows and weddings.
Mark Crabb, director of sales for the bureau, said the last fiscal year ending June 30 saw a significant boon in group meetings and wedding inquiries, both of which have generated sizable economic impact.
The bureau has had 142 leads that have been sent to hotel and venue partners, resulting so far in 11 booked weddings for an estimated impact of $290,000. That would work out to be just over $26,000 per wedding. Possible bookings extend into 2014.
The bureau has pursued trade shows, which have generated 199 leads resulting so far in 72 bookings with an estimated economic impact of $3.5 million. Possible bookings extend into 2013.
Weddings have proven particularly surprising.
“At the beginning of the year, I never thought weddings would have been a big concentration for us, but it has grown with little effort,” Mr. Crabb said. “We’ve only done one bridal show. We really haven’t pursued it.”
A possible reason for the increased interest in weddings is the tourism bureau’s active presence on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, Mr. Crabb said.
“When it comes to our meetings and group markets, we are most effective with face-to-face appointments, whereas our wedding market can be developed through our social media outlets or website outreach,” Mr. Crabb said.
This year, the tourism bureau has gotten approximately 350 leads. Those leads break down as such:
Website -- 108 leads, the majority of which are wedding inquiries.
Industry referrals, partners and repeat clients -- 94 leads.
Tradeshows, third party and client services -- 57 leads.
Social media and call-ins -- 63 leads, the majority of which are wedding inquiries.
Sales calls and cash incentive -- 28 leads.--Dan Verel***
Several winery tasting rooms are opening in Sonoma and Napa counties in coming months.
Construction bids were closing at the beginning of July for custom winery Crushpad's contemporary "delicate intervention" in two rooms of the Old World-style Sebastiani Vineyards in Sonoma, according to Danny Strening. His Santa Rosa-based architecture firm Strening Architects is working with Marin County-based industrial design consultant Hal Brandes to create an interactive yet intimate experience for visitors.
Exposed steel and extensive use of glass along with bar and ceiling paneling from reclaimed wine tank staves are intended to blend the warehouse winery feel of Crushpad's origin in San Francisco before moving to Napa Valley last year. A $3 million round of funding, led by Sebastiani owner Bill Foley, early this year helped Crushpad expand to Sonoma. The new venue will have interactive kiosks for visitors to learn about and sample blends and a glass-walled room for a separate tasting experience, according to Mr. Strening, who worked with original Sebastiani tasting room designer Ozborndooli Architecture.
The tasting room project is expected to take eight months to complete once given the go-ahead from the city and county of Sonoma.
The Bacigalupi family has been growing winegrapes in Russian River Valley for 55 years and now is opening a public tasting room for the family's 9-year-old pinot noir and zinfandel brand called John Tyler. The brand is named after vineyard manager John Bacigalupi and his nephew Tyler Heck, grandson of Korbel Champagne Cellars co-founder Paul Heck.