The New Texas Winery Passport Program

TX Wine Passport - stamp

We first learned about the previous Texas Winery Passport program offered by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) when I made the “mistake” of taking Gloria to Fredericksburg for the very first time in January 2010. What a great idea! Visiting wineries, collecting stamps, and getting rewards for them. How could you go wrong? That prompted our interest in visiting more Texas wineries, getting better and better rewards, and it eventually resulted with us starting this blog in March 2011. So to say the Texas Winery Passport program is near and dear to our hearts is an understatement.

Unfortunately late in 2011, it was announced because of Texas legislature budget cuts to the Texas Wine Marketing Program, the Passport Program was going to end. Many of our wine friends were visiting more wineries and now there would be no program to entice them plus new wine drinkers to visit Texas wineries.

Fortunately when we were at the 2013 TWGGA (Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association) Conference, we learned TWGGA had stepped up to the plate and was going to resurrect the Texas Winery Passport program. This time though there were going to be improvements making it easier for consumers. In the past paper booklets were used to collect stamps from the wineries visited and after getting a full booklet of four stamps, you entered them in the Passport’s website. Since the majority of people now have a smartphone, the new program will use a free downloaded app and you’ll be able to enter the information while you are at the winery!

Background

The previous Texas Wine Passport program was highly successful. 15,322 individuals entered data into the wine Passport system with a total of 86,347 winery codes entered. That’s a lot of people who participated and visited Texas wineries!

These are some interesting facts on the Texas wine industry:

  • Texas wine consumers are on the rise. An estimated 1,438,000 tourists visited Texas wineries in 2011, an increase of 66% from 2005.
  • Texas is also the 5th largest wine producing state in the nation.
  • There are over 275 bonded commercial wineries in Texas
  • Wine tourism in Texas generated over $436 million in revenue
  • Winery direct sales account for over $45 million of industry revenue
  • The Texas wine industry has a $1.83 billion economic impact

Since the dissolution of TDA’s Passport Program, Texas wineries have suffered a loss of momentum through the tasting room. It was time for somebody to do something about that and TWGGA came to the rescue.

TX Wine Passport - appWhy use a smartphone app instead of the old paper method? Besides being cumbersome and costly, it is estimated that by 2015, 176 million people in the U.S. will use smartphones (56% of the US population). The fastest growing wine-consuming demographic are ages 21-34 years old and they have smartphones. Plus the app is simple, straightforward, and easy to use!

Wineries

The smartphone app is the way to get consumers into your winery, taste your wines, and collect points as they travel around the state. Besides all the consumers coming to your winery to participate in the TX Wine Passport program, the app will also generate more traffic to your website and social media sites.

Now that you’re excited to be involved, what do you have to do? The first thing is you have to be a TWGGA member. Listings including your winery will include all basic information, address, phone, hours, website plus photos and video footage, and links to social media sites.

Your cost to participate in the program is based on the number of case sales you have.

Case Sales Initial Fee Annual Fee
> 10,000 cases $300 $300
5-10,000 cases $300 $270
3-5,000 cases $250 $250
2-3,000 cases $200 $200
1-2,000 cases $200 $200
< 1,000 cases $100 $150

Your cost amounts only to approximately one case of wine a year.

You will also receive marketing materials for your Tasting Room and social media sites.

Participating wineries must commit to honoring rewards.

Sign up today and drive more business to your winery! More information for you is below.

Consumers

So what do you have to do as a lover of Texas wines to participate? The TX Wine Passport app will be available in July and will work on Android smartphones and iPhones. When you visit a Texas winery who participates in the program (NOTE: they must participate) you simply do a check-in on the app with the code provided by the winery. The app will detect your GPS location and awards points for checking in.

You will accumulate points and redeem discounts at Passport participating wineries at different reward levels. Your current status of Rewards and Check-ins are viewable from the app. In addition there will be an interactive GPS and Google Maps feature showing routes and specific directions to wineries. You will even have a cool Postcard Feature where you can send postcards via Facebook, email, etc. from the app about your experience.

To keep abreast of the current status of the TX Wine Passport app, simply go to their Facebook page and do a Like: https://www.facebook.com/TxWinePassport

If you find your favorite wineries are not in the TX Wine Passport app, then please request them to get involved. The more wineries who participate, the better your chances of more rewards! Sign up information for them is below.

Sponsorship / Advertisers

There are two sponsorship opportunities available for wineries. If you want to be a title sponsor, look at all this that you’ll get:

  • Splash page advertisement when user opens first screen after Home screen
  • Home screen map with location markers for your product/place
  • Logo placement on the upper navigation bar
  • Intermittent banner ads on the bottom of all listing screens
  • Logo placement on Home screen
  • Logo placement in email marketing campaigns and frequent social media mentions

Email Debbie Reynolds at debbie@twgga.org for title sponsor costs which gives one year exclusivity when the Passport feature launches August 1, 2013.

The other sponsorship opportunity is to have a Banner Ad. The benefits of a Banner Ad are:

  • 320px x 50px banner ad at the bottom of the screen
  • Targeted advertising by geographic location
  • Targeted advertising by manufacturer or operating system
  • Ads can be text and title, or ads can be images
  • Participating email marketing campaigns and frequent social media mentions

The cost to have a banner ad is only $100 a month and is available when the Passport feature launches August 1, 2013.

By now you’re probably ready to sign up to participate in the TX Wine Passport program! To do so, simply complete three easy steps:

  1. Complete the registration form.
  2. Pay the Initial Fee and Annual Fee based on your winery size (determined by annual cases produced).
  3. Sign the contract. When steps one and two are complete, you will receive a link to “Hello Sign”. This link is to an online contract where you will fill in your winery name, G permit number, date, and sign online.

This page on the TWGGA website includes all the information on how to sign up for the app: http://www.txwines.org/Foundation.asp

Information courtesy of Texas Wine & Grape Growers Foundation, Inc.


Comments

  1. Larry Myers says:

    Is there a why to participate in the passport program if you have a windows phone? Is there a web site to go to that will work?

  2. The development and costs were a long process – over a year – for the TX Wine Passport Mobile App. We made the decision to go with the most popular smart phones – iPhone and Androids. We will look at the metrics to see if Phase II demands we develop a platform for the Windows phone. There currently is no option except iPhone and Android. No website allows the check in procedure.

    Thanks for your question. We will keep you posted on new developments to the mobile app.

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