Q & A: Sipping success with Wine & Spirits' Top 100 Event

Recently we had the opportunity to catch up with Siu Ki Wan, Events Director and Marketing Manager for Wine & Spirits Magazine. Siu Ki runs Wine & Spirits’ yearly Top 100 Event, a tasting extravaganza for wine lovers held here in San Francisco (this year’s edition is on Wednesday, 10/13 at the Galleria at the SF Design Center). She graciously shared her expertise on planning and promoting a major food and wine event.

What is the 7th Annual Top 100 Event?

The 7th Annual Top 100 Tasting Event honors those wineries from around the world that delivered the best overall performances in W&S tastings throughout the year. Since its inception, the event has been produced in San Francisco, with Bay Area chefs and local artisanal purveyors serving signature specialties to complement the premier bottlings of the honored wineries. The W&S Top 100 Wineries of the Year report is presented in the Winter issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine.

What are some of the highlights attendees can look forward to?

Top 100 attendees can look forward to tasting Top 100 Wineries from Wine & Spirits, which is “like a road map to some of the world’s best drinking,” according to Jon Bonne, Wine Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle (as quoted on Twitter). Attendees can also look forward to tasting some of the best food the Bay Area has to offer from our New & Notable Restaurants. These restaurants include: Baker & Banker, Barbacco, Comstock Saloon, Hibiscus, Heirloom Café, Hogs & Rocks, Lil Diamond, Locanda de Eva, Nombe and Saison. Local artisan purveyors including Barefoot Coffee, Hog Island Oysters, Nicasio Cheese, Socola Chocolates and Zoe’s Meats will be on hand as well.

Can you tell us a bit about your marketing strategy for these events? What’s your approach to social media?

The Top 100 Event uses a lot of integrated marketing strategies, including direct marketing, sponsorship placement, cross promotions and of course social media. We like to talk directly to our audience via e*blast and with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The big questions from our attendees are always, “Who are the Top 100 Wineries and which restaurants will be participating this year?” Facebook and Twitter help us spread the message quickly and between retweeting and likes, the feedback is always instant! We also like to partner up with companies and brands that truly believe in our event and will make this event enjoyable for our attendees. We have recently partnered with wine.com, making them the exclusive retail partner of the event. They are one of the largest wine retailers on the internet, making the wines that will be featured at the event not only locally accessible, but nationally!

Finding the right venue is important for a food and wine event. How did you choose the Galleria at the SF Design Center?

This is the 3rd time we have used the Galleria at the San Francisco Design Center. It is a beautiful space which is centrally located. There is also ample parking (one of the most difficult problems with large scale events in the Bay Area). The Galleria provides an incredible wow factor for participants and attendees when they step in the venue.

Some of your proceeds will be going to benefit water conservation issues. Can you tell us more about that cause, and why you chose to connect the fundraising to this event?

Our motto at the magazine is, “Drink Wine, Save Water!” In keeping with Wine & Spirits Magazine’s mission to raise awareness of water conservation issues, the event proceeds will benefit San Francisco Baykeeper. San Francisco Baykeeper is a nonprofit watchdog dedicated to protecting the water quality of the San Francisco Bay-Delta watershed.

Each general admission ticket sold, $5 will be donated to the organization (tax deductible). Consumers may also purchase a special conservationist admission priced at $125 (also tax deductible). All proceeds above the general admission price of $105 go to the organization. For more information about the San Francisco Baykeper, visit http://www.sfbaykeeper.org/.

You’ve been doing this event for several years now. How has your approach to ticketing/management changed during that time?

This will be my fourth year being a part of the event, and every year poses new ticketing challenges. But one thing we always agree on is making the best experience for our ticket buyers. That means having the ease of purchasing a ticket in less then 2 minutes without any hassle or fuss.

What has been your favorite Eventbrite feature during this process?

Eventbrite gives us the freedom to create an identity for each ticketing site for each event that we host. We love the customization function of Eventbrite to make the ticketing site resemble our webpage.

Thanks again to Siu Ki Wan for sharing her insights on a really great event!