Wine Trail Programs Thrive on Saturdays: Kernels of Wisdom from MidWestern GrapeGrowers and Wineries

Staff up your tasting room on Saturdays! This is one lesson to be gleaned from a recent survey from the MidWest wine industry, in this instance Nebraska. The results are courtesy of Iowa State's Michael L White. who produces a fantastic bi-weekly newsletter called Wine-Grower-News. In issue #106 November 6, 2009, Mike shared a news item that should help wineries who particiate in wine trail programs better understand consumer behavior.


"The Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association (NWGGA) has a great newsletter called the NWGGA Juice. The August, 2009 edition has a good article that summarizes the mid-point survey of their Nebraska Wine Tour Passport program. Much of this information can be of value to other wine trail programs and/or events being planned here in the Midwest. These are the highlights of the mid-point consumer survey they completed using the Online Survey Monkey .

- Only 9% of the responders felt that they would visit all 28 stops. Time and travel costs were issues.
- 36.4% participated in the Passport program because they enjoy learning more about Nebraska wine
and they like the adventure and travel across Nebraska.
- Only 9% participated in the Passport program for the wine bucks.
- Saturday was the 100% top answer for the day they most likely would visit a Passport location.
Sunday was second with 36.4%.
- A tie for the number of visits per outing at 36.4% indicated visitors both choose 1-2 and 3-4 stops.
- 72.7% said they travel more than 50 miles in a single Passport outing.
- 90% knew that tasting rooms are different from wineries.
- 63.6% enjoy sampling wine specific to the winery they are visiting most. 63.6% of the responses
indicated that visitors liked learning about other wineries in the state while visiting a winery. 27.3%
liked meeting the vintner.
- 72.7% appreciate the ability to taste wines from several wineries when visiting a tasting room.
36.4% enjoyed the ambiance of the tasting room.
- Ambiance, friendly staff and good hospitality are key to a good experience.
- 63.6% of the responders didn’t know that Nebraska law requires 75% Nebraska grapes in Nebraska
- 90.9% of the respondents wanted to learn more about the Nebraska wine industry.
- 81.8% would consider a social membership with a fee around $10 per year being most popular.
- Just over ½ of the respondents buy Nebraska wine at retail and 36.4% buy national brands because
they are easier to find. 54% say they buy other wine because of price.
- 45.5% did not know that many wineries have gift shops online that they can order from.
- 100% said they will do the Passport again in 2010.
- When asked about preferences on newly proposed wine trails:
- 55.6% said it was important to invite tasting rooms to the wine trail
- 25% said restaurants were of little interest
- 22.2% wanted a motel or B&B included, some thought antiques were interesting
- 25% said gift shops should be on the trail and area events on the trail were important
- 50% thought tourist sites would be an interesting option to include.

You can check out the the Nebraska 2009 Passport Wine Tour here: "


Mike works within a group called the Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute: You can reach him at Michael L. White, ISU Extension Viticulture Specialist, 909 East 2nd St. Suite E, Indianola, IA 50125-2892, ph: 515-961-6237, fax: 6017 or

1 comment:

  1. If there could be just one basic overview of the nebraska wine industry, what would it be?