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2006-06-14
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PASO ROBLES WINE FESTIVAL SEES SUCCESS IN 2006

Contact: Sarah Flickinger
Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance
805.239.8463
sflickinger@pasowine.com


For Immediate Release, June 14, 2006

PASO ROBLES WINE FESTIVAL SEES SUCCESS IN TRANSITION YEAR
Winery sales up, festival attendees boost local economy

PASO ROBLES, CA—The 2006 Paso Robles Wine Festival, held Saturday, May 20 in Paso Robles’ downtown city park, incorporated many changes, including designated tasting and picnic areas, unlimited tasting, new hours, an expanded portfolio of wineries and enhanced food vendors. Organizers are pleased with the more than 5,770 tickets they sold. Overall, attendance numbers at the Saturday festival were down 12%, but ticket sale revenues were up 10%, as ticket prices increased to $50 for 2006 (up from $40 in 2005).

"2006 was a transition year for the festival," said Neil Roberts, co-chair of the Paso Robles Wine Festival committee and owner of Roberts Vineyard Services. "We knew the changes were significant, but the majority of attendees, wineries and vendors were pleased with the upgrades made."

Consumers commented most about the new designated tasting area and unlimited tasting format. In past years, picnicking was allowed right up to the booth fronts, and more than 15,000 people would set up camp in Paso Robles’ downtown city park. In 2005, just around 6,300 tickets were sold to the tasting, but those who purchased and the wineries pouring for them, complained about the difficulty accessing one another. In response, organizers implemented a designated tasting area, with secured entry, to allow tasters free run of roughly two-thirds of the city park sans picnickers.

"The goal was to position the Wine Festival as a key marketing event for Paso Robles," said Stacie Jacob, executive director for the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. "We want consumers who are interested in tasting Paso Robles’ wines to be able to do just that. And we want to give the wineries ample space and attention with tasters, so they can promote their wines, which is what this event is designed to do, brand Paso Robles Wine Country."

Creating a free-flowing tasting atmosphere also included moving to an unlimited tasting format. In years past tasters were provided ten tickets for tasting, which caused many to stick with their favorites. The unlimited tasting format allowed visitors to explore more wineries

Other changes for the 2006 festival included new hours, a shift to wine country cuisine for food vendors and an increased ticket price of $50, up $10 from 2005. The ticket price included unlimited tasting from 1 to 5 p.m. and an upgraded commemorative Riedel tasting glass.

"The whole goal of the festival is for people to learn about and explore Paso Robles," said Roberts. "That’s taken many forms over the years. At first we just wanted to get people out there to try wine. Now there’s a wine-savvy audience that wants to experience a variety of wines in a great casual, outdoor atmosphere. The Wine Festival has been slow in adapting to those changes in audience up until this year, so it was a big transition for us, but also a big success in the eyes of everyone who has helped make those changes a reality. We’re really thrilled with the way it all came out."

May 18 through 20, 2007 will mark the 25th anniversary of the Wine Festival, and organizers are gearing up for big celebrations of the community event’s "Silver" year. For more information about the Paso Robles Wine Festival and upcoming events in Paso Robles Wine Country, visit pasowine.com.

The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance (PRWCA), represents wineries, growers and businesses in Paso Robles Wine Country. Centrally located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, along California’s Central Coast, Paso Robles Wine Country is California’s fastest growing wine region. It encompasses more than 26,000 vineyard acres and more than 170 wineries.
For more information, visit www.pasowine.com
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