|Aug 01, 2011 --
Throughout Monterey County there are several small family-owned wineries with limited resources to market on their own. Although many have joined together with the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association (MCVGA) to help share resources, the more rural wineries have still struggled to get foot traffic and battled financial concerns.
MCVGA developed a plan called "bringing business to the roads less traveled," in order to help promote the rural wineries. The project included adding murals along U.S. Highway 101, as well as a new visitors map and wine writers tour. USDA Rural Development provided a $98,500 Rural Business Enterprise Grant to MCVGA to help fund the project.
The new murals have proven to help, and several of the rural wineries have reported an increase in the number of visitors and sales.
One family-run winery in the rural community of Soledad reported an increase of 100 visitors in their tasting room each month, and experienced a 20% increase in sales from the year before. Another also experienced a 10% increase in sales, and as a result is planning to expand operations and open a second tasting room in the County this summer.
"The murals reflect the uniqueness of Monterey Wine Country," said MCVGA Executive Director Rhonda Motil. "The goal of has been to build broader brand awareness to those traveling on Highway 101 who might not grasp the impact of grapes and wine on the county and even the state. As well it directs them to any one of the 35 tasting rooms across Monterey County."
Other efforts, including the wine writer’s tour, have helped bring awareness to these rural wineries with several articles published in travel and wine guides on the region. In addition, MCVGA’s recently launched a new mobile application which has already reached 800 downloads. The expanding awareness is expected to continue to benefit wineries for many years to come.
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