Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
09.20.2011  
 

Sonoma Visitors Hop on Vine Line

Shuttle service hits the road in Sonoma and Carneros

 
by Jane Firstenfeld
 
 
vine line sonoma county
 
A converted school bus, Vine Line transports passengers between downtown Sonoma and wineries in Southern Sonoma County.
Sonoma, Calif.—A purple-painted, open-topped converted school bus is now shuttling wine tasters among several wineries in southern Sonoma County. The Vine Line invites paying passengers to “hop on, hop off” Thursdays through Sundays along a route between Sonoma’s downtown square and the Cornerstone center near the junction of highways 121 and 116.

The brainchild of former stagehand, construction manager and electrical engineer Rich McKee, Walnut Creek, Calif., Vine Line debuted last month with runs scheduled at two-hour intervals allowing passengers to pick and choose among destinations including the tasting rooms for 25,000-case Meadowcroft Wines and 1,200-case Keating Wines at the Cornerstone; 3,500-case Bonneau Wines; 15,000-case Robledo Family Winery; 2,500-case Larson Family Winery and the Cellar Door at The Lodge, a tasting room pouring wines from 9,000-case Mayo Family Winery; 1,600-case Chandell of Sonoma and 1,000-case Guerrero-Fernandez Winery.

After an arduous, six-month permitting and licensing process, the Vine Line “Ho Ho” hit the road in August with free rides for local residents, but it has not yet hit its stride among the target audience, Bay Area day trippers who’d prefer to let a cheery, sober local do the driving through scenic southern Sonoma.

The Vine Line neither solicits nor accepts commissions from wineries. Until business picks up, perhaps warranting another bus, McKee would prefer to maintain his tight route and stay on schedule, although he has been talking with sparkling wine specialist 120,000-case Gloria Ferrer, just across the highway from the Cornerstone. Nearby Walter Schug (50,000-cases) is another possibility—McKee and managing partner Alex Schug have been friends since college in San Diego—but McKee worries that his busloads might overwhelm Schug’s tiny tasting room.

Meadowcroft owner Tom Meadowcroft told Wines & Vines that he’s excited to have the Vine Line’s southern terminal at the Cornerstone, and observed that the shuttle’s passengers purchase both wine and picnic items; they can also play bocce ball and tour the Cornerstone’s showpiece seasonal gardens.

The bus has a sound system, but McKee has yet to determine a musical mix. He will offer to stream a soundtrack from passengers’ iPods, if requested, and has invited a buddy to play guitar. Although there is no refrigerated wine storage on board, clients are welcome to leave cases on the bus and collect them at the end of their tours.

Since owner/chauffeur McKee lives in the East Bay, the purple bus spends its off-hours at the Cornerstone, which made itself a landmark with eye-catching outsized art including a giant, bright-blue Adirondack chair at its entrance. The bus is also available for wedding parties and other private charters after the daily 5 p.m. drop-off in downtown Sonoma. It can accommodate as many as 48 passengers per trip.

Daily fares are $25, with a 10% discount for online bookings. Children ride free, and free parking is available at both ends of the route. Until demand increases, Vine Line is scheduled to run this season through Thanksgiving.

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 $570 million
6%
$7,775 million
6%
October 2013 $539 million $7,342 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 $284 million
18%
$1,751 million
13%
October 2013 $240 million $1,556 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 139
6%
226
18%
October 2013 131 192
     
 
MORE » Released on 11.13.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • December 2-4
     
    Vinitech Sifel in Bordeaux
     
  • December 3
     
    Sustainable/Organic Wine Production Seminar
     
  • December 4
     
    North Coast Wine Industry Expo
     
  • December 6-7
     
    Wine Chemistry Workshop in Oregon
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Kluge Saga Continues in Virginia »
 
Not everybody likes Pat Kluge, but she and Moses built a first class winery /...
Reader: Josh Moser
 
Article: Canada Adapts to Kegged Wines »
 
I am a wine agent in Manitoba & there certainly are kegs of cider here....
Reader: Guest
 
Article: What's Your Winery's IP Worth? »
 
If you would like more information on this seminar please visit The Seminar Group's website....
Reader: Danielle Bingham
 
Article: DtC Is Lifeblood of Wineries, Banker Says »
 
Seems like another locical option would be to have more small niche distrbutors. Consolidation of...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting Wine From PD-Resistant Grapes »
 
Congratulations Andy! Lots of grapebreeders and southern growers will be looking through the catalogs. i...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Lead Tasting Room Asso...
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Cellar Club Coordinato...
 Dundee, OR
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Customer Service & Rel...
 Healdsburg, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Brand Manager
 Woodland Hills, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Senior Vineyard Manage...
 Rutherford, CA
Vineyards
 Brand Director, Austra...
 Napa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Representative O...
 Sacramento, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Production Forklift Op...
 Yountville, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Project Manager
 Santa Maria, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Wine Salesperon
 Bay Head, NJ
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.