Wineries drawing visitors

Feb. 02, 2013 @ 09:28 PM

According to the North Carolina Division of Tourism, a recent research study revealed that 80 percent of winery customers throughout the state are visitors to the community.

Local wine businesses in Union County attract a mixture of people from local areas as well as other parts of the state and in some cases out of state.

According to the study, there are three distinct markets in the context of North Carolina Winery visitation, which are local customers, day visitors and overnight visitors.

“Mostly ours is word-of-mouth,” William Hilton, who owns Hilton Vineyard in Monroe along with his parents, said in reference to how their business has brought in customers since opening in Monroe last year.

Though they have a vineyard in the county, since Union County is a dry county, they are not able to invite customers there but instead they have opened a retail store at 1606 E. Roosevelt Boulevard in Monroe where they offer wine and other products to customers. While they’ve had many local customers, word of mouth has helped to bring in customers from various locations. Besides North Carolina customers, people from Virginia, Tennessee and other areas have also come to their business for their wine and other products, Hilton said.

The recent study mentioned by the N.C. Division of Tourism, also indicated that special events at wineries also help to bring in larger numbers of local customers from within North Carolina.

At Hilton Vineyard, they offer wine tastings and have future events planned to help attract customers. They also work to stand out from other winery businesses in the state, Hilton said.

For instance, a lot of wineries offer only muscadine wine but at Hilton Vineyard, they offer a variety of others, which includes French and Italian wines and even mango wine. They grow different kinds of grapes at their vineyard as well as other fruit, which they use in products offered in their store. His family has been making wine since 1969 and before opening the store on Roosevelt Boulevard, did a lot of short runs and specialty runs to sell their products, Hilton said.

“We try to be a little different from everyone else in the state,” he said.

Another way they try to stand out from other wineries is by offering free wine tastings, which many wineries charge for. The free wine tastings are offered daily and allow customers a chance to sample the wine before purchasing it, he said. 

“Most of the people who taste our wine, they buy it,” he said. 

They work to offer high quality wine at a reasonable price and also offer private parties and other events as well for customers and others in the community, he said.

Treehouse Vineyards, another local wine business in Monroe, also attracts a variety of customers.  

In addition to offering wine and wine related products, various events and musical performances are also hosted at the business and those interested can rent treehouses at the facility.

According to the Treehouse Vineyards website, two treehouses are available for rental. The Papa’s Dream Treehouse is available for overnight rentals and the porch of the Date Night Treehouse is available for hourly rentals.

The recent study also mentioned the importance of internet and customer service when it comes to promoting wineries, according to the N.C. Division of Tourism statement.

Hilton Vineyard has a Facebook page but is also looking into additional advertising and other ways to promote the business while Treehouse Vineyards has a website. 

For more information about Hilton Vineyard visit the business’ Facebook page or call 704-776-9656. For more information about Treehouse Vineyards visit www.treehousevineyards.net or call 704-283-4208.