Tips for Success in Wine Tourism from multiple Gold Trophy Winner

Tips for Success in Wine Tourism Women in Wine Expo

Caro Feely, co-founder of Chateau Feely, author of 6 books, accredited WSET Wine educator and RYT500 Yoga Teacher (find Caro Feely on Linked in and on Instagram) was invited to speak on Wine Tourism on day 2 of the Women in Wine Expo in Porto. See this page for a summary of the overall Women in Wine Expo in Porto event and this page for Caro’s talk ‘Vineyard Confessions’ on day 1 where she spoke about ‘Following your Dreams’ and more

Tips for Success in Wine Tourism: Chateau Feely case study

On Day 2 Caro Feely’s talk on Wine Tourism at Women in Wine Expo at the WOW centre covered four key areas.

  • Differentiate Your Tourism – USPs
  • Innovate and be opportunistic
  • Diversify Your Visits
  • Sell Direct – build the direct relationship

In this article we provide a summary of the messages Caro shared. This article is focused on the wine tourism offerings/ products rather than management of yout wine tourism activities. For tips on general tourism management and tour guiding we recommend taking a look at Kelsey Toner and his team at GuestFocus.

Why is Caro Feely of Chateau Feely qualified to talk on this topic?

In 2005 Caro and her husband Sean bought a run down conventional vineyard and farm house complex that was in liquidation (see some before and after photos here). Over the next 15 years they transformed the vineyards to organic and biodynamic, built a reputation for premium wines and created a significant wine tourism operation for revenue diversification and to drive direct sales. In 2013 they won the Gold Trophy in the Best of Wine Tourism awards Great Wine Capitals for the category of Valorisation of Environmental Practices. In 2017 they won the Gold Trophy in the Best of Wine Tourism awards Great Wine Capitals for the category Accommodation.

In 2019 they won the Gold Trophy in the first National Wine Tourism awards in France – in the category of Education and Valorisation of Environmental Practices a massive result for a small farm in a little known appellation. How did they do it? This article offers some of the key elements.

Differentiate Your Tourism – USPs

Since the beginning the Feelys were committed to the environment. This committment flows into everything they do, including the wine tourism. Feely visits focus on beyond organic and biodiversity and sharing the wonders of nature in a stunning natural environment.

The committment follows through into the food and drink served as part of the tours. Chateau Feely collaborates with other organic farmers for the food served in the tasting room, they grow some of the produce (and all of the wines) on Feely organic farm and encourage low and no food miles thinking by offering clients herb teas direct from the farm as an alternative to imported organic tea and coffee.

Chateau Feely is committed to education, to offering deep visits like Play winemaker for a day, multi day tours and wine courses through their wine school French Wine Adventures.

Additionally, short fun events are not forgotten with daily visits like the one hour taster tour, and large annual events like the Vine Share & Club Members’ Harvest Day.

The range of wine tours at Chateau Feely runs from 1 hour to five days. Differentiation is achieved through a focus on beyond organic, biodynamics and biodiversity, through deep visits, education and a wine courses, and via fun events.

 

Wine Tourism Tips Differentiation

 

Innovate and be opportunistic

Innovations have included ‘The organic & biodynamic trail‘ , a self-guided trail that offers clients an activity when the team in the tasting room are occupied with other clients. The Trail includes a comprehensive online section that helps with Chateau Feely SEO. The Vine share and associated harvest day were created in 2008 and were key to Chateau Feely’s development as described in Caro Feely’s book Saving our Skins.

More recently Chateau Feely launched Yoga Retreats, Yoga in the Vines and Yoga in Nature part of the story in Caro’s latest book Cultivating Change.

 

Other innovations were more opportunistic. Covid hit all tourism businesses hard. Chateau Feely took it as an opportunity to develop a new range of virtual visits – both recorded wine courses that are available anytime, like the ‘Virtual Discovery Wine Course‘, the ‘St Emilion virtual tour and red wine course‘ and live events particularly Virtual Wine Tasting Teambuilding Events.

What looked like a disaster turned into an opportunity and generated product offerings that continue to bring business to Chateau Feely years after the end of the pandemic.

 

Diversify Your Visits

Over the years Chateau Feely have diversified their visits. Some activities like the food and wine pairings, the custom wine courses both in person and online, and the vineyard walking tours were extended. Others like the certified WSET courses and wine school that were run for more than a decade (with a 100% pass rate) were dropped.

 

 

Collaborations for example with a Michelin Star Chef for one of the Chateau Feely visits, with an organic farmer for the organic bread for all the visits that include food, and with other winegrowers in other appellations are also part of the fabric of Chateau Feely’s wine tourism.

Sell Direct – build the direct relationship

Chateau Feely firmly believes that wine tourism should be profitable and not offered free. Wine tours and tastings should be paid for at their correct value.

Nonetheless one of the objectives for offering wine tourism is to sell wine direct. With this in mind Chateau Feely strives to build relationships with tour clients via the mailing list, the wine club and through Caro Feely’s Vineyard Series of books.

 

CONCLUSION

There is still much to improve. As we look to the future we constantly ask ourselves how we can do what we do in a more environmentally friendly way. For Caro Feely’s take on Sustainable Wine Tourism see the article published by Porto Protocol, also a speaker at the Women in Wine Event in Porto.

We are passionate about wine tourism and sharing our message about the importance of organic farming and taking action on climate change. Women in Wine Expo was the wonderful forum to network and share Chateau Feely’s experience with a wonderful group of women wine professionals. Thank you to the mighty Senay Ozdemir and the fabulous team at Women in Wine Expo including Nelly Ward and Nadia for the opportunity to speak at this fabulous event and WOW Porto for the fabulous venue.

You can find the full wine tourism tips for success Chateau Feely case study presentation at this bolded text caro-feely-tips-for-success-in-wine-tourism-wiwe-porto

As we said at the start this focused on Chateau Feely wine tourism products –  for tips on general tourism management and tour guiding we recommend taking a look at Kelsey Toner and his team at GuestFocus.

Discover more about the Women in Wine Expo Conference in Porto and Caro’s presentation on Following your Dreams.

Find all Caro’s books, where to buy them and ISBNs.

Buy Feely premium organic wines online (shipped in the EU). For other countries please contact us.

Explore French Wine Adventures for a wine tour or walking tour .

Come and discover more with a visit to Chateau Feely in South West France and / or stay with us .

Book a virtual experience or course.

Join our mailing list to receive our seasonal newsletter, events, wine pairing, recipes and more info on this topic at the bottom right of this page.

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Girls having fun at Women in Wine Expo in Porto