"Winery registration fee is $550"
$550! That doesn't include the wine we'll pour, and if it's away from home, which they always are, the travel and hotel. I think I'm declaring that we are done with these events. We'll still do charity events to support charities we like, but the 'for pay' wine event just does not make any sense for a winery to attend.
First there's the cost. $550 is outrageous. The winery is the attraction, it's the reason there is an event. No wineries, no event. So why charge so much? One thing these events always try and promote is that they are attracting 'high income buyers'. Bullshit. I'll say it. Bullshit. If you want to attract high income buyers, charge $50 not $10. $10 attracts drunkards.
Many events don't even try and pretend about that aspect anymore. Instead they promote a 'trade session'. The idea is it's closed to the public and only open to 'trade buyers'. Yeah, more bullshit. The big distributors and retailers give out the trade tickets to their employees and customers. They treat it like a free drinking party.
If I'm going to spend $550, 2 cases of wine and travel on a party it's not going to be to get a bunch of people I don't know or care about drunk. I'd much rather spend that money getting out and visiting personally with people who already buy our wine. Better yet I'd rather spend it entertaining them at the winery and our home.
So we are taking that budget money this year, and saying no to the public events. We're hoping to have some travel plans together soon. We'd like to get to the East Coast, DC, Philly, NJ/NY and Boston. We also would like to get to Florida this year. It's always better to pour wines for friends!