This is a continuation of last week’s interview blog – hope you enjoy!
Based on customer feedback, which tour is the best?
That’s a tough question, too, because so many of our tours are so different! I think for people visiting the area for the first time, our annual Sip Trips are great because it’s the perfect combination of education, fun, food, and meeting new friends. For those that are more independent, I would say that our Vineyards of Swan Creek Wine Tour Package is probably our most popular.
What is the longest tour you offer – number of days?
We offer custom wine tours, so we really can accommodate any length of stay. But most of our Sip Trips are Friday – Sunday, and you have the option of doing just part of the tour or the whole weekend. We try to make it work for everyone.
When did you branch out to breweries?
When we expanded to become A Sip of the South, we decided to include breweries and distilleries. We had a few Sip Trips where we included beer tastings and it really went over well, especially with the men on the trip. So it seemed like a natural expansion.
If you could tell people one thing about your business, what would it be?
That there is a lot of planning that goes into put together a Sip Trip, LOL! But my research and development weekends are some of my favorite parts of the job. I love scouting out new regions and mapping where we are going to visit, and then putting all the details together to make it a great experience.
Tell me about the Vine Card?
The Vine Card is a lifetime membership program. Once you join, you will continue to get discounts at the vineyards and businesses that partner with us. We are constantly working to add new businesses to the card and just recently branched out and added some Virginia Wineries to the card. The card is just $25, and that is not an annual renewal, that is a one-time purchase.
Do you personally visit all of the wineries before they are added to a tour?
I do. I always want to make sure that the winery has the right feel for our tours, and also make sure it can accommodate our group size. I also taste all of the wines that we use on our tours. I like to try and include a little something for everyone on our tours, which means sampling some sweet wines, dry bold wines, light wines, etc.
Do you have any requirements for a vineyard to be included in a tour?
I don’t have a list of requirements. A lot of times I just visit as if I were a customer and not a tour planner. When I like somewhere I visit, I plan a tour around it. Sometimes the meals are cooked right at the vineyard, but if that’s not an option, we will bring in a caterer or food truck.
Now, a question I’m asked all the time – “do you have a favorite vineyard in NC?”
Ha, that’s a loaded question. There are so many great ones to choose from and new ones popping up all the time! I love the views at Raffladini Vineyards, I love the wines at McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks, I love the pizza at Elkin Creek Vineyard and Winery, I love the gardens at Parker-Binns Vineyard, I love the mini horses at Sweet Home Carolina Vineyard & Winery, I love the llamas at Divine Llama Vineyards, I love the atmosphere at Medaloni Cellars. I know I am leaving out a bunch of my favorites, and there is no way I could pick just one!
Please check out Lauren’s company on the social media sites below and think about booking your next vineyard trip with A Sip of the South!
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/asipofthesouth