What do the prestigious Napa Valley wine area in the USA, the world wine capital of Bordeaux in France, and Lausanne, a city located on the shore of the largest lake in Europe, have in common? All three cities are part of the "Great Wine Capitals" ranking, which each year ranks the most attractive cities from a wine tourism point of view, commonly known as "oenotourism".  

What is oenotourism?

According to the Valais Wine Tourism Charter: "Oenotourism is leisure tourism based on the discovery of a wine-producing region and its production". Thus, it is not limited to a visit to a wine-growing estate or a wine tasting session. The know-how of the winegrower and his way of life are also at the centre of this activity.

Switzerland, aware of this trend, decided to take the lead - the wine tourism offer of the wine-producing cantons has been developing considerably for several years. In 2017, the "Swiss Wine Tourism Awards" are launched. Their main aim is to promote the cantons' wine-producing offer, which includes wines, wine-making professions, landscape and cultural heritage, as well as gastronomy. The offers are extensive - from the simplest with a wine tasting, to the most innovative with a digital tour of the winery.

What is the role of digitisation?

Nowadays, to be able to develop one' s offers it is useful to digitalise the access to the products. For several years now, the trend has been to buy groceries or clothes online. The same goes for leisure bookings or appointments. 

Online shopping and bookings are popular and easily accessible for everyone, both for people born with the internet and those who have experienced smartphones as they approach retirement. As proof, according to the Digital Senior 2020 study, 75% of people over 65 are active on the internet and handle social networks like a winegrower cultivating a vineyard.

Digital technology has taken a considerable place in everyone's life. Both for the consumer, who orders and books on the internet, and for the producer who adapts to the demand. This is why it is important for the producer to renew himself and to propose his offers in a digital way. The winery is no exception. In 2020, wine consumption in Switzerland fell by 25% and at present there is a stock of wine for more than 18 months. There is an urgent need for renewal and innovation.

Wine tourism and Smeetz: a partnership of wine lovers

The main question is - how to expand the range of wine products on offer while simplifying the online sales process and reaching new customers? Thanks to its online booking platform, the Lausanne-based startup Smeetz is there to advise you.

1. Simplify access to tasting offers

A wine tasting in your cellar is an attractive offer. It is a moment of sharing between customers, who come with friends, colleagues or family, and the winemaker. The vine specialist presents his different wines, explains the production process and, above all, shares his passion.

In order to help the winemaker to devote all his or her energy to an unforgettable tasting experience, availabilities, online reservations and tasting confirmations can be managed automatically by the platform. Your customer sees the available time slots, selects an activity and makes the payment online. Smeetz can thus help you share your passion without its logistical hassle.

Your offer can be broken down into several products: you can offer oenology courses, in association with other winemakers, with a sommelier's "diploma" as a result. Or an offer especially for lovers of life and wine! What could be more romantic than a romantic walk through the vineyards? To make this walk perfect, a picnic can wait for the lovebirds in your cellar. 

2. Share the profession of winegrower 

It would be interesting to learn how many people know about the harvesting process and what is the routine of a winemaker during the seasons. This is the perfect opportunity to organise parties to teach the winemaking process, from the transformation of the grape must into a particular wine, to the arrival of the wine in their glass.

Your customers will be given a quiz when they book on Smeetz, which they will have to answer during the activity and at the end they will obtain a "diploma" as an apprentice wine maker.

3. Transform sheds into places of conviviality  

The sheds, which are an integral part of the vineyards, can be transformed into places of hospitality and sharing. It is possible to reserve these cabanons to spend an evening with friends or to live other unique experiences with a weekend brunch. The winemaker will leave a basket with local products in the cabanon and of course, wine for the event.

4. Meet new people

What if a local personality came to share his passion for wine with you and other wine lovers in small groups in your cellar? The tickets would certainly sell like hotcakes! Our platform helps you organise these unique events by automatically closing the ticket booking once the desired number of registrants has been reached.

5. Discover the vineyards with your family

Winegrowers and families have one value in common: sharing. Showing an overview of the winegrower's activities to children, alongside their parents, through an outdoor trail is an excellent moment of sharing. At the end, the children receive a bottle of grape juice as a reward.

6. Offer virtual tours

What if some wine lovers are madly in the mood for wine tasting, but the weather prevents them from going out or they prefer not to take the risk of meeting people they don't know? Let's digitalise the tastings! The client will book his digital tasting session online and choose which bottle he wants to taste and how many he wants to order. It will also be possible to order a planchette. 

As he approaches the digital tour, he will receive the bottles and will be able to start the virtual tasting experience, together with other wine enthusiasts. The winemaker will be able to take a tour of his cellar and explain to the e-spectators how to taste a glass of wine.

7. Organising photo shoots 

The vineyards are part of the most instagramable landscapes! Or in another language: a breathtaking place! An attractive service is to offer photo shoots. The simplest way to provide this kind of deals is to use bundled offers by associating with other local organisers, be they photographers, artists, cooks or other winegrowers. We take care of the booking and the only thing you have to do on your side is to prepare a delicious basket with local products.

How to develop your wine offerings with Smeetz?

Smeetz is a Lausanne-based startup with more than 20 employees. Our aim is to simplify the management of availability and the booking of your activities and events via our platform. We collaborate with many local players, such as amusement parks, museums, theatres and outdoor leisure activities. Visit our website to find out more: business.smeetz.com

What is the next step after having set up your wine offers?

Take advantage of selling your offers from various online distribution platforms, in addition to selling directly from your website. The Smeetz booking system can be easily integrated into any type of website. What happens if you don't have a website? No worries, your activity will be visible on your Smeetz organiser page.

Reservations, payments and availability management are centralised on the same system. Smeetz can help you simplify your processes, reach new customers and increase your sales.

If you have more than one co-worker in your winery, you can give them restricted or total access to the platform. It is also possible to synchronise your agenda with Smeetz. This way you and your team will have direct access to the bookings in your calendar.

Smeetz platform: instructions for use

First steps for an organiser

  1. Request a demo with our team to discuss your needs
  2. Create your Smeetz for Business account
  3. Create your products
  4. Create your tickets
  5. Personalise your confirmation emails and tickets
  6. Activate the visibility of your products
  7. Select distribution channels
  8. Start your online sales

Please read this article for more information: https://knowledge.smeetz.com/en/setup-activity

Purchasing process of your customers

  1. Your customers select an activity and start their booking online.
  2. You are free to choose whether payment will be made at the time of booking or whether you prefer to choose to refuse or accept bookings. Payment can therefore take place at different times before the activity and even afterwards.
  3. When the booking is completed, they will automatically receive a confirmation email with all the information and a PDF ticket as an attachment.
  4. If you need special information for a tasting, for example if a customer is allergic to nuts or lactose intolerant, a personalised form can be sent to your customers with their tickets. 

If as a precautionary measure you wish to keep track of your customers, we have the solution. We will send a text message to the number indicated by the customer at the time of booking, which will ensure the authenticity of the information. The SMS will contain a QR code that you can scan once the customer arrives at your winery. You will receive access to scan the code via your own mobile phone. You will have access to your customers' information for 14 days and it will then be destroyed, as indicated by the COVID-19 measures in Switzerland.

Would you like to find out more?

Our team is there for you. They can easily help you create your account, advise you on the latest features or give you a demonstration of the platform. We can also be at your side during your events if you need us. 

Smeetz is all about helping wine makers. It's not just about selling their products on the internet. It's about making people discover the profession of winegrower, living the experience of the grape harvest, and sharing their passion for the vines with all generations. 

"A glass of wine is of good advice" as Alfred de Musset used to say. Smeetz is the same for you.

Contact our team: