Wineries now rank among some of the best “restaurants” in the Napa Valley. However, due to specific ordinances in place to protect restaurants, these wineries often have to jump through loopholes to offer food to their guests: Visitors must sign up for a “tasting,” thus unlocking the option to dine in to supplement said tasting.

While these restrictions are holding back the expansion of this phenomenon, wineries are quickly realizing that to stand out from the competition, they need to provide their clientele with a 360-degree experience. They need to sell a lifestyle, not just wine.

The classic ideal of a Napa Valley vacation being rapid winery hopping from start to finish is perhaps not what wine tourists are really looking for these days. They crave more out of the winery experience than merely swirling, sniffing, and spitting their way through Napa, and that’s where the food comes in. Immediately, the “tour” jumps from a half-hour to roughly two hours, and the longer people are on site, the more money they’re likely to spend. Plus, the more wineries dip their toes into the hospitality industry, the more they can focus on atmosphere and guest experience, thus increasing their odds of tapping into the “lifestyle brand” mindset. Of course, this is not to say that sacrifices should be made on the vineyard, but the subliminal marketing power of a brand is arguably more important than its products when it comes to sheer sales.

On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” Adam, Joanna, and Zach suggest that more wineries should (where possible) add full-service dining options to their amenities, as doing so allows restaurants to showcase their wines in an ideal setting and also keep guests on-site longer, both crucial to bringing in visitors and boosting wine sales. Tune in for more.

Adam is reading: Why Are Kalamatas the Black Sheep of Martini Olives?
Zach is reading: At Oregon’s Patricia Green Cellars, Smoke-Tainted Wine Finds New Life as Whiskey
Joanna is reading: How Guinness Led a Modern Nitro-Stout Takeover of Britain’s Pubs

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