Woodinville Wine Country: New Directions

by Shona Milne on July 12, 2012

Woodinville Wine Country has been looking for new directions for some time and last week they presented to their membership what they have planned for the future.

Woodinville Wine Country membership had their first look Tuesday at the draft of a strategic plan designed to move the association from an events-oriented group to a community-based marketing organization focusing on Washington wine tourism.  The WWC board presented the comprehensive plan to membership at a series of meetings on July 10th.  It will now go back to the board for final review and approval at the end of July.

Over the last decade, Woodinville has experienced explosive growth from its founding ten years ago when a dozen area wineries joined together to produce the region’s first “Passport to Woodinville” event to the 97 wineries and tasting rooms that today call this scenic rural community home.

“The board recognized that the association was at a critical juncture and had an unique opportunity to revamp its focus and programs to respond to the Woodinville wine community’s rapid growth and to take a leadership role in shaping an identity not only for the wineries but for the Woodinville community at large,” says Woodinville Wine Country president Mike Stevens.

Earlier this spring, the board hired veteran industry marketing consultant and former Washington Wine Commission executive director Steve Burns to develop a long-term strategic plan.  “We started this process with an open mind,” explains Stevens.  “In addition to gaining an outside perspective from Steve, we wanted to hear from the membership and look for opportunities to partner with the community.”  As part of that process, the board also hired Bellevue-based wine industry advisor Katie Sims to conduct an extensive series of membership interviews and work with Burns on a community outreach plan.

During Tuesday’s membership meetings, Burns outlined the plan’s five key platforms:

  1. Proximity

Build awareness for Woodinville’s proximity to Seattle and the accessibility of quality wines and it diverse neighborhood tasting experiences.

  1. Press

Expand local and regional media outreach, both traditional and social.

Woodinville Wine Country Strategic Plan

  1. Partnership

Work in partnership with the city of Woodinville and the business community to create a vision for destination Woodinville.

  1. Participation

Strengthen industry unity.

  1. Progressive Programs

Focus resources on ongoing, measurable program that are sustainable over time.

With a clearly defined vision and mission statement that defines WWC’s role in establishing Woodinville as a world-class wine travel destination, the trade association will concentrate its efforts on building awareness for the quality and diversity of Woodinville wines and tasting experiences and working in partnership with the community to expand and grow “brand Woodinville.”

Woodinville is located 30 minutes northeast of downtown Seattle.  With nearly 100 wineries and tasting rooms within its borders ranging in size from artisan producers to landmark vintners, the area is a microcosm of Washington wines.  More information is available on the association’s web site.

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