Hosting Private Events at your Winery: How to Master the Top 6 Challenges


Your winery is such a desired location for private events! The demand for events is there and if you have been thinking of starting an event program within your winery or vineyard, you may have some hesitancy. If you are thinking about all possible challenges this could bring, we have some great solutions to leverage the event demand.

The winery business is an impressive and complex operation in and of itself. Your wine production is your bread and butter. Great vines mean great wines! However, on average a winery can see a revenue growth of 30% by hosting private events. This is not only a huge revenue increase, but can offer more opportunities by opening your doors to private events! 

To look at this further, here are six common concerns a winery may face when hosting private events – and opportunities on how to overcome them!

Concern: Private Event Space Limitations

The spaces within a winery typically serve a day-to-day and also operational purpose. Depending on where the winery is located, as well the space, it may feel limited and challenging to envision large parties in.

Opportunity: This doesn’t mean that some of this space can’t be utilized for private events as well! Think about setting up a tasting bar, using outdoor space, or set up a table in your barrel room. To overcome this challenge, consider implementing a system to allow guests to book their event spacewell in advance, and also a reservation system for even tasting guests to reserve time for wine tastings. These platforms will help you outline a schedule for when the winery may or may not have a dedicated space saved for private events and where on site!

This also demonstrates to guests that they, too, could host a party – which could create more business! Also consider a buyout during less busy or off season times, and collaborating with nearby venues to accommodate larger groups.

Concern: Marketing and Promotion

Promoting events and marketing them may be challenging especially if your winery does not have a large existing customer base or network. Investing in marketing and advertising may be needed to attract guests to host their event.

Opportunity: Promoting your private events is incredibly important for attracting attendees and potential business! To get the word out, reach out to your existing customer base with email newsletters and your social media. Collaborate with venue listing websites like EventUp, local publications, and word-of-mouth promotion – this can also be powerful in encouraging attendees to share their experiences with others! The more events you start to host the more customers and future event hosts you will be welcoming in the door.  

Concern: Menu and Drink Offerings

Event guests often want some type of food service provided when attending events, in addition to drink service outside of just our wines. Some wineries may have little to no kitchen space to accommodate a full menu.

Opportunity: This is a great opportunity to partner with local food vendors, caterers and food trucks in the area who could provide this service for you! Especially for food trucks, guests could order what they want and pay for themselves. Typically these partnerships have their own setup and handle the prep/cleanup. This could also build relationships for general or community events if the winery hosts them! Wineries additionally could partner with local restaurants for take-out orders; you can still add a small up-charge for managing and cleaning these catering orders.

Concern: Rain Plan

We start to host events and guests want to take advantage of spending time or taking pictures on our winery grounds. How do we plan for inclement weather? Especially if we have limited indoor space and our regular operations inside.

Opportunity: Draw inspiration from a restaurant or event venue that offers indoor/outdoor options – guests are happy to have a rain plan and reserve their event with one in mind! By having a system that allows you to communicate reserved space for events, this will hold the spaces indoors accordingly in the case of inclement weather. This ensures your team can schedule regular operations knowing this space is reserved. 

Concern: Limited Staffing and Resources

Hosting private events on site could require more resources and staffing, which could impact the current staff and also our budget. Wineries would need to hire additional staff or even contract with outside vendors to provide other services like food and entertainment.

Opportunity: Stop and smell the rosé!  This could be a great opportunity to grow your current staff in their careers and see if they may want to help build and grow the events program! They can be tasked with building processes for events and executing them. Employees that are good at juggling multiple projects could be great to fill these roles so you won’t need a full time event coordinator right away. They could handle assisting these smaller parties as you grow and figure out how to expand your events program!

Concern: Pricing and Packages

Getting started with selling a new product and assessing the demand can be challenging. How much are folks willing to pay for private or semi-private event space? What should pricing and package structures look like for a winery?

Opportunity: Event package and pricing structures differ for each business – there are many different variables to consider which will also change and evolve as you grow your event business. A good rule of thumb is to charge beverage minimums for each event; one glass of wine per person per hour is the most common beverage minimum. If you only offer table reservations for smaller groups, setting food and drink minimums will be enough to generate extra revenue. If you are reserving spaces for private events you are able to also charge a room fee, admin as well as cleanup fees. This helps expand your potential revenue earnings to outweigh the additional efforts it takes to prepare and plan for larger events.

Are You Ready to be on Cloud Wine with Private Events?

Need help managing events at your winery or vineyard? Tripleseat, the #1 guest and event management software for wineries, streamlines the event process without increasing your workload—access all the event features you need from a single platform. Book a demo to learn more!

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