Trius Winery is breaking the mould of the traditional wine tour with a new hands-on, interactive concept that combines technology, social media and personal experiences.
The immersive new approach, called the Trius Tour, was created to break away from the trusted wine-tour template in a playful and engaging way, said brand manager Tina Truszyk.
It also aims to educate the next generation of wine drinkers about the subtle nuances of each wine style while creating lasting bonds between the brand and its consumers, she said.
Truszyk said the idea is to provide all the knowledge and experience of a typical wine tour in a different way.
“A lot of people aren’t looking for that (traditional) experience anymore. They want to engage with the brand in a memorable way,” she said.
It’s the idea of building a lasting relationship with the brand that she said really motivated the creation of the tour.
The centrepiece of the new approach is a 45-minute, four-stop excursion through the Virgil property, starting with the Rosé Lounge.
Atop the lounge, which overlooks the restaurant and much of the winery, guests are encouraged to take photos along the rose wall, sample the Trius Rosé 2018, and read about the history of the wine on signs inconspicuously placed around the lounge.
“I want to build those connections with the brand and the consumer, so this experience stays with them. They will think of Trius the next time they go to their liquor store and think, ‘What am I going to drink today? I’m going to drink the Trius Red because I had so much fun,” she said.
After the Rosé Lounge, guests are ushered through the Sparkling Cellar, where they’re met with bubbles and an aroma station to test their senses in the oldest and largest sparkling cellar in Canada, she said.
The Trius Red Cellar is next, where tour-goers can experience the red wine from the first Canadian winery to be awarded Best Red Wine in the World for the 1991 Trius Red. The trophy sits in a case in the cellar.
Finally, the tour finishes in the Sparkling House, which Truszyk said is arguably the most “Instagrammable room” of the tour.
“Having the visitors learn and experience the tour at their own pace is kind of at the core of what we’re trying to do.”
The project came to fruition quickly, pitched in the fall of 2018 by Truszyk and Tim Coons, Trius estate manager, and backed by management all the way up the corporate ladder at Andrew Peller Ltd. The tour officially launched on July 12.
“We had full leadership support in direction and full leadership support in what Tim and I wanted to create. So, the exciting part is that we came up with this idea, and we realized we had gold,” she said.
Each brand under the Andrew Peller umbrella has its own unique identity, which is why she said the Trius experience likely won’t be copied for other properties.
“We didn’t build a franchise, we built something that was meaningfully unique to Trius. No other property could have the Sparkling House, because no other property has the credentials that the Trius Brut Rosé has,” she said.
“Peller Estates has the 10 Below Icewine Lounge, and that is absolutely relevant to the Peller brand because icewine is their signature. Wayne Gretzky – they have the skating rink. That is perfectly curated for their brand,” Truszyk said, emphasizing that every part of the Trius Tour was created purposefully and meaningfully to match the Trius brand.
It’s been an exciting whirlwind and has been a resounding success in the first weeks of operation, she said. The winery has seen a 13 per cent increase in traffic this year from the same time last year. Though she can’t speak to the numbers for the rest of summer, she said there’s been a buzz surrounding the winery and the tour just as she hoped and anticipated there would be.
A lot of that has to do with the props and social media use of the #thetriustour hashtag, which hit Instagram the first day of the tour.
“The idea of creating experiences through instagrammable moments seemed very relevant, and it feels like a nice way to get a new generation interested in the brand.”
The tour costs $35 and is available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. all week. For wine club members, the cost is $17.50.
Tours can be booked online or by calling the winery at 1-800-582-8412.