SOURCE: Sacramento Wine and Nightlife Tours

Sacramento Wine and Nightlife Tours

November 19, 2009 17:15 ET

From Gold Rush to Liquid Gold -- Re-Branding Sacramento as a Wine Country Hub

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - November 19, 2009) - The six wine regions surrounding Sacramento are leaving tourism dollars on the table, according to Grady O'Bryant, owner of Sacramento Wine and Nightlife Tours.

"Sacramento's winery marketing plan is decades behind the more popular wine regions such as Napa and Sonoma," O'Bryant says.

Last year, more than 20 million people visited California wine country, adding $51.8 billion to the state's economy, according to a recent study commissioned by the Wine Institute. With increased marketing efforts, O'Bryant believes that Sacramento could garner a larger share of that revenue.

"We could easily replace San Francisco as the gateway city to California Wine Country," O'Bryant says, noting Sacramento's proximity to Napa and Sonoma coupled with the increased popularity of the city's surrounding wine regions: Amador, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado and Calaveras counties.

"Sacramento should abandon pouring money into its fading gold rush lore and invest in its liquid gold -- wine," O'Bryant says.

As the state capitol, Sacramento offers ample hotel rooms. Midtown Sacramento's rejuvenated dining and nightlife scene provides an array of evening entertainment options for tourists exploring the vineyards by day.

To accelerate the re-branding of Sacramento as a wine lovers destination, O'Bryant founded the Sacramento Regional Winery Marketing Alliance. Members pool their resources and specialties into a marketing co-op program to attract wine lovers and help them create their perfect multi-day wine vacations. Both Amtrak and Southwest Airlines Vacations have expressed strong interested in promoting Sacramento as the hub of Northern California Wine Country, according to O'Bryant.

The first step in making Sacramento a wine destination was creating a logistical link to the surrounding wine regions. In the two years since its creation, Sacramento Wine & Nightlife Tours has forged relationships with wineries and conducted numerous wine tours in each region. Last year, American Wine Society selected Sacramento Wine & Nightlife Tours as the tour operator of choice for its national convention in Sacramento

"Wineries are remarkably effective magnets for tourism," O'Bryant says. "When Sacramento embraces its liquid gold, the city will take its place as the true heart of California Wine Country and finally enjoy its fair share of the billions spent each year on wine tourism."

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