Some Wineries Cracking Down on Limousines and Buses
Some unfortunate and unnecessary incidents at wineries from Napa Valley to Long Island have forced various winemakers to institute new policies regarding groups of people arriving for tastings in limos and party buses. Some people have abused the whole purpose of wine tastings in order to get drunk on the cheap, and this has led to incidents of fisticuffs, loud, obnoxious behavior and most unwelcome conduct. This behavior puts the winemakers in an unenviable position. On one hand, wine tastings are a very important part of their marketing and viability as businesses. Many winemakers rely on tastings for up to 85 percent of their sales as people who attend for the right reasons taste wines and buy them on the spot.
On the other hand, drunken, abusive and obnoxious behavior on the part of unsophisticated patrons whose sole purpose is drinking for free forces winemakers to create and enforce rules to discourage people from working the system like that. Loud, inebriated people at wine tastings destroy the spirit and atmosphere and hurt wine sales because serious buyers won’t put up with these disruptions. They’ll go home or head to another winery.
Winemakers are targeting limousines and party buses because the disruptive drinkers invariably arrive in these types of vehicles. Some winemakers have hired extra security to prevent obviously intoxicated people from entering tasting rooms and hustle drunken offenders away before they can create even more problems. You can’t blame the winemakers. They are merely doing what they have to do to stay in business, attract buyers and gain exposure for their wines. However, you can blame the few bad apples that are abusing the system and ruining it for everyone.
Wineries on both coasts are trying different approaches to discourage tastings from becoming disruptive frat parties. Some now charge admission for tastings. Others pay each other the professional courtesy of alerting other wineries about loads of drunken people who may be heading their way. Some limit the number of pours, and some have chosen the nuclear option: banning limousines and party buses from the premises altogether.
Drunken, disruptive behavior is bad for our business as well. Napa Valley wine tours are some of our most popular packages, and if a winery bans limos and party buses, it impacts our bottom line as well as theirs. We want everyone to have a good time in our luxury vehicles whether they’ve going to a wine tasting or any other destination. All we can ask is that our guests attend wine tastings to taste and buy wines, not to drink cheaply and abuse the system. From our perspective, the best way to prevent a few irresponsible people from ruining a fun, cool and very special environment is to keep attending wine tastings, keep buying great wine and discourage this type of behavior by making it socially unacceptable. If you’d like to rent a limo for a wine tour, call us today at 1-800-339-8936. Have a good time, but not too good a time, please.