What Smaller Events Can Do For Your Winery

Spacious ballrooms and lavish event centers are regular fixtures at destination wineries, which are a popular venue for large gatherings like weddings.

But there’s value in emphasizing your ability to host smaller events, too, said Meredith Cutler, Director of Hospitality for Kivelstadt Cellars and Weingarten in Sonoma, California.

Allowing people to book smaller events helps keep things steady when there aren’t many weddings on the docket.

 “Our usual style event is 20-40 guests for any occasion- birthday, rehearsal dinner, post-wedding brunch, bachelor and bachelorette parties,” Cutler said. “We do have the ability to host larger events — up to 175 guests — but those tend to be during peak wedding season. We market as both an avant-garde option — no pretty vineyards, rustic and casual decor — but with full service — food, music, timeframe — that not a lot of other wineries can offer.”

Having relationships with musicians who perform regularly on the weekends has been one thing that has built up Kivelstadt’s abilities to host events, as does already having a full menu of food options. It also has relationships with event rental companies for extras it can’t provide in house.

Despite having carved out a pretty good niche for itself, Cutler said the winery is working on positioning itself to better host weddings and other big gatherings.

“We are working on building relationships with adjacent services, like florists and photographers, to have a more cohesive offering for our larger events,” she said.

Use of the winery’s private dining space is a perk the winery makes available to its members, she added, noting that people often keep coming back after seeking Kivelstadt out for an event.

“People who book large events with us, regardless of familiarity beforehand, tend to become some of our best regulars and club members,” she said.

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