Beth Costa, Executive Director of Wine Road in Northern Sonoma County, was interviewed by Adam Torres on Mission Matters Luxury Podcast.
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Beth Costa talks with Mission Matters about winemaking in Sonoma County and discusses how the local industry collaborates to meet the needs of its audiences.
What mission matters to you?
Led by a mission to help people discover the stories behind wineries and the people who run them, Costa says she’s also driven to connect those stories back to the local community. She started an initiative through which Wine Road donates a portion of each ticket sale toward feeding those who need a hand.
“Giving back to the community is important, she says, “and along the Wine Road, we donate one dollar from every ticket that we sell for our events and work with the Redwood Empire Food Bank.”
What led you down this path?
Remembering the early days of her career, Costa shares, “I started as a part-time tasting room person working on weekends and learned about wine from co-workers, the winery and from the customers that come in. It was just so fun.”
Expanding her knowledge of the industry over time, she says, “We (would) do comparative tastings and blending seminars where I had the opportunity to learn a lot, and so from there it evolved, one thing led to another and here I am. I loved meeting the customers that came in from all over the country and I loved learning about wine.”
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Tell us about the history of Wine Road.
Decades ago, Wine Road only had seven or eight wineries total, spread far apart, and wine tasting wasn’t a popular pastime yet. But eventually, that all changed.
“People at that time didn’t go wine tasting, so the wineries thought if we work together and make a little map that we can give out to some of the hotels and innkeepers, we can get people coming to our tasting rooms,” Costa explains. “So, they all pooled together some money to print these maps and it really just has grown from there to more and more wineries coming on board.”
Now, with close to 130 members, Wine Road is an association to which local lodgings and wineries, old and new, can all belong. It helps to connect them with travelers who come to the area looking for the ultimate wine country experience.
“We can talk to customers and find out what kind of wines people like and direct them to the wineries that would be best suited for them,” she says, noting that the association helps winery owners stay on top of industry news and regulations as well.
Tell us about Sonoma County.
Costa explains that part of Sonoma County’s identity as one of the best wine regions in the US is its variety of microclimates and soil conditions. Its multitude of valleys and hillsides provide for a host of grape varietals, attracting some of the nation’s best wine producers. For its part, Wine Road covers the northern portion of Sonoma County.
“We represent three of the bigger growing regions in Sonoma County: Alexander Valley, Dry Creek and Russian River,” Costa notes, remarking that the scenic beauty of the nearby Lake Sonoma, Bodega Bay and Russian River provides a host of attractions to round out a perfect visit.
To learn more, visit Wine Road online.