Shenandoah to enhance wine marketing in 2015

Shenandoah County Tourism is looking to expand its marketing game plan for local vineyards and breweries.

Jenna French, director of tourism and marketing for the county, said a redesigned strategy by the county will employ both traditional and digital marketing techniques.

To help fund these efforts, French said that she will be applying for a Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Grant in 2015.

Alongside the grant, French said the department is looking to update “incredibly outdated” marketing materials such as maps containing local vineyards.

These updated materials will include soon-to-open attractions in Woodstock such as Muse Vineyards and the Woodstock Brew House.

French said that Muse Vineyards has already begun the process of making its wine and is looking to have it available for All Things Virginia in January.

Muse’s plan, French said, is to have the tasting rooms and vineyard open by next spring.

French also said that the county will be looking to “participate in more digital advertising” moving forward.

“This past year, we started doing some Facebook advertising,” French said.

That advertising, French said, included the use of promoted posts.

On top of Facebook, French noted that Shenandoah County is looking to have an ad, which was recently unveiled at the Dec. 16 Tourism Council meeting, for recreation on Spotify.

Although the ad is not currently showing on the popular music-streaming app, French said the cost was $4,000 through Virginia Tourism.

“The way the partnership works is that we buy some advertising through them … they add additional impressions at no additional costs,” French said.

By advertising through Virginia Tourism, Shenandoah may target wine trail ads toward different age groups, French explained.

She added that marketing boosts such as this are huge for the department’s efforts.

“We’re on a tight budget and we try to stretch money whenever we can,” French said.

French said that she is unsure how much money Shenandoah Tourism will apply for through the tourism commission. “In the spring, I will start to gather estimates on how much the advertising would cost,” French added.

“Advertising rates will fluctuate with a new year … that makes it hard to put an estimate on it,” French said.

All of these techniques will be used in conjunction with magazine advertising in publications such as Blue Ridge Outdoors, French said.

“Magazines have been a good source of leads for us,” French said.

With over 260 vineyards in the state, French noted that advertising the Shenandoah Wine Trail as one entity is important.

“What we find here is that, the more of these attractions we have, the stronger it makes us in marketing,” she said.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com