Winery Membership Update: New Dues and Benefits Structure

Today we are excited to be launching our new membership model. While we certainly wanted to build a membership ‘toolkit’ that would be more responsive to needs in light of COVID-19, we knew the need to build our collective industry intelligence, diversify business models, and scale up to meet the demands of the online marketplace was coming – even before the pandemic. 

Our membership programs and services are dedicated to telling the amazing story of New York’s wineries and growers, and to improving our ability to succeed in a new business reality. NYWGF Membership will now provide two categories of benefits 1) basic business support services and 2) capacity building and educational services.  

While Tier 1 membership benefits will be similar to last year, dues will be $300 regardless of the production size of your winery. Later this year, we will also be providing Tier 1 members with electronic marketing tool kits, downloadable point-of-sale collateral, and access to a series of educational webinars.  

For those looking to expand or diversify your business model and build the capacity of your business, Tier 2 membership benefits will include access to enhanced webinars on topics like DTC strategies website development, digital metrics, and website building. We will also provide printed point-of-sale collateral, and access to one on one coaching with experts in areas like marketing and sales. Dues will be $600 regardless of the production size of your winery. 

A full list of Membership FAQs can be found below:

In response to significant changes to the market environment, we are updating membership services to better tell the story of New York’s wineries and growers and to build the industry’s ability to thrive in a new business reality. Simplifying the dues structure into two “tiers” and aligning those tiers with the level of services provided in each is logical and makes better business sense for most winery members. Feedback is that this new structure will increase the value of membership and make it more likely that wineries will join and continue to renew each year. You can read more from Sam Filler, Executive Director, about the decision to restructure membership here.

New York wines face a messaging challenge. Depending upon the market, messages about our wines, regions, and varietals are either inconsistent or non-existent. To address that challenge, NYWGF benefits will help empower wineries of all sizes, production types, and from all growing regions with the marketing tools they need to reach their specific desired audience. Clear, impactful, and consistent messages based on key audiences will be crafted in partnership with an industry veteran consulting firm and with the input of members, trade, and other agricultural associations. NYWGF will provide members with co-branded (but region and varietal flexible) point of sale materials and electronic marketing tool kits. It is NYWGF’s position and legislative mandate that all grape growing regions of New York contribute to the Boldly, NY ethos.

For members with additional needs, NYWGF will provide an online marketing and sales platform with educational content, including virtual tastings, for trade and consumers. For wineries who are looking to build their business, compliance, and sales infrastructure, NWYGF membership will provide a series of educational seminars and coaching opportunities with industry experts.

Through March 31, 2021 membership will be moving to a two-tier structure based on service level instead of gallon production.

Tier 1: $300 – Basic Business Support and Services
Core membership benefits remain similar to those offered under the previous dues structure. These benefits included access to wine lab and competition subsidies, discounts on conferences and events, access to a series of free educational webinars, important industry and policy updates, access to the Vine Hotline for fiscal and tax questions, as well as access to the Wine Marketing Tourism Toolkit. In the near future, we will also be distributing electronic press kits and other marketing materials to members.

Tier 2: $600 – Capacity Building & Education Services
In addition to our core benefits, Foundation leadership believes it is important to address the challenges of our current environment by adding Capacity Building services for wineries. Advanced educational offerings in addition to coaching and consulting services will be provided to Tier 2 Members. One example of a recent successful capacity building initiative was our recent partnership with DTC Wine Workshop to provide an advanced seminar on improving consumer engagement strategies.

You can review a complete list of benefits for Tier 1 and Tier 2 members here.

Specific communications will be sent to Tier 2 members only about opportunities available. Be sure to communicate all winery staff that you would like copied on these communications to Jennifer Cooper, Membership & Events Manager at [email protected].

We invite all winery members to renew or join now to begin taking advantage of ‘members only’ services. Your membership will be active through March 31st, 2021. Dues will be prorated for the numbers of months your membership is active. Based on advice from our auditor, all membership will now coincide with our fiscal year which runs from April 1st to March 31st of the following year.

Please visit our website at and select “Join Now” under Winery Membership from the list of membership types and proceed to fill out the membership form. Payment will not be taken online at that time. The NYWGF office will provide you with an invoice for your prorated dues amount. You may pay the invoice via credit card or check. Instructions will be included on the invoice.

The initial sign on process will be easy and you do not have to worry about your gallon production from last year. Simply fill out the online form here, select whether you prefer to pay by check or credit card, and submit. After that we will follow up to get more information about your winery. Depending on the level of membership you choose, we will require information about your tasting room location, events, wines that you offer, and in the future we will work with you on creating virtual events and require you to list your wines in our Vinoshipper hub.

We do expect the structure will be updated in April 2021 (the beginning of our fiscal year) to include a Tier 3 of membership. Services delivered will focus on the marketing and sales of New York wines. We are excited to be planning a multi-channel marketing campaign that includes web, social media, email, paid advertising, and statewide marketing partners. Messaging will lead back to a central online hub (our updated website) complete with comprehensive content on New York wines. This hub will connect Trade and Consumers with the wines they would like to virtually explore and purchase, either through their local retailer, your winery website, or through our new Vinoshipper site. You may see some of these activities between now and April as we are working with our NY Drinks NY participants to determine what works best.

Membership benefits for growers will remain the same for now and growers will also have the ability to prorate their dues through March 31, 2021 if they choose. Staff will, however, be issuing a survey for growers in the coming months to help us create a more beneficial membership and benefits package for you as well.

Although the membership benefits for Business Associates will remain the same, new and existing members will have the ability to pay their prorated dues between now and March 31, 2021. A listing of Business Associate member benefits can be found here.

Please feel free to contact Jennifer Cooper Membership & Events Manager, at 315-924-3706 or via email at [email protected].

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New York Wine & Grape Foundation

The mission of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation is to promote the world-class image of New York grapes and wines from our diverse regions to responsibly benefit farmers, producers and consumers through innovative marketing, research, communication, and advocacy.