CellarPass' The Vault was created to introduce to you our personal favorites we've discovered through our years of touring the US for cool tasting rooms.
Why Become a Member of Cellar Scout
For those of you that don’t know my wife and I that started to craft the idea about CellarPass over 16 years ago, we thought we’d give you the backstory as to how CellarPass and Cellar Scout came about.
CellarPass started off back in 2006 as reservations module to our eCommerce platform that powered many of the popular wineries in the United States. Not many wineries and tasting rooms really understand the purpose of a reservations system, but consumers had been demanding it for years. Being that we lived in Napa Valley and knew many people that ran these tasting rooms, we decided to run some experiments. We would act like a guest trying to book a “bucket list” weekend in Napa Valley. This would include the popular wineries and some of the not-so-well-known, but had to have on our list.
We figured we’d plan the trip three months out to make sure we had time to get all of our tours confirmed at the times we wanted. Then we hired a driver that could take us around for the weekend because after all, we would be tasting through wines and wanted the full experience, keeping it to 4 stops a day with a big lunch in the middle. It sounded like it was going to be easy and would kill the idea of reservations in the first few calls, but it actually went the other way to our surprise.
We would leave messages, submit requests through their contact forms and play phone tag for weeks. After the third week, we only had half our weekend booked and we started to really understand the problem here. Playing phone tag got old and some got back to us AFTER we had already committed to others that would create schedule conflicts. And we had to ask ourselves repeatedly "why can you easily book a reservation online for a restaurant, receive an instant confirmation, but you could NOT for wineries?" It was silly as clearly the technology was there, the demand from guests like was there, but...
CellarPass Website (2011)
That’s when CellarPass was born. It took us a couple of years to get the programming right as this was something brand-new to wineries which are typically the last to adopt technology. Honestly, there's still tasting rooms out there that still have request forms and run everything through a Google calendar which is like having an order form to sell products on your website. Everyone knows that eCommerce is a requirement these days and a booking engine should be, too!
Fast forward to 2022, my wife and I were reminiscing the early days of CellarPass and how our goal of the platform was always to work with the properties we had visited ourselves and we’d recommend to our friends. Well to scale a company like CellarPass, we did have to loosen our qualification rules a little bit, though we will part ways with a client if we find that they are not following our guidelines of providing excellent customer service to our guests.
This is when Cellar Scout was born with the determination to introduce you to some unknown tasting rooms that you will love. That means the majority of the properties we work with won’t be big name brands and that’s intentional. These are wineries, breweries, distilleries and tasting rooms that we’ve selected ourselves and would recommend to any of our close friends and family. We’ve actually discovered many of these ourselves as you won’t find much press about them as many are super-small and off the beaten path. We often refer to these as hidden gems on CellarPass as we know you will love them, too.
Enjoy exclusive offers at participating tasting rooms across the US.
With Cellar Scout, what we wanted to do is create a new membership model that would allow us to get back to our roots of hand-picking through our thousands of experiences to feature ones that we know you will love. Doing so saves you a ton of time on the research PLUS we've negotiated exclusive deals that only Cellar Scout (aka Scouts) members receive!
So getting back to why we think you should become a “Scout” is easy! Yes, going to the big name brand tasting rooms gives you some level of comfort, but for me, it’s all about discovering new places to go and getting out of the “rut” of going to the same tasting room over and over again- b-o-r-i-n-g!. Cellar Scout was designed to personally invite our Scouts to visit our featured properties, share them with friends (be sure to use your referral code) and experience them together. And since this is not a “one-weekend passport program”, you have all of 2023 to check them all out.
And that’s not all the benefits of Cellar Scout as we’ll be sharing more stories about our travels that you can follow along with us on our social media (Facebook & Instagram).
With the holiday season coming up, Cellar Scout makes for a perfect gift for anyone, wink, wink!
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