5 Unforgettable Moments from Harvest 2017
Written by Alyson Aiello on August 17, 2017
Have you ever wondered what happens at Traveling Vineyard’s annual Harvest conference? Well, for one thing there’s wine: tasting wine, talking about wine, learning about wine, and so much more. But somewhere between the sipping and savoring, there are moments of pure magic. We took a look back at Harvest 2017 and chose FIVE unforgettable moments that will give you a taste of the fun, inspiration and friendship that unfolds at our national Wine Guide conference.
That moment when …
Texas Went Big
Wine Guide teams from Wisconsin to New Jersey rocked the WinedUp welcome party stage during our first ever Lip Sync Battle. To set the scene for you, we had also asked Wine Guides to “strut” their states, and wear costumes to represent the lands they love. We’re talking live Lady Liberty statues from New York, smiling M&Ms from Pennsylvania, and a walking box of Old Bay seasoning from Maryland—it was amazing. The Lip Sync Battle, managed by DC’s SongDivision, was LIT with performances ranging from Weird Al’s “Amish Paradise” to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and just about everything in between. But it was Wine Guide Lee Anne Gierisch, a Four-Star Leader from Texas, who stole the show and took home the win with her rendition of Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You.” The room exploded in applause as she delivered a few surprises during her performance. It’s a must-see—and hands-down one of our most unforgettable Harvest 2017 moments!
Our Opening Act Stole the Show
Harvest 2017 took place in the heart of Washington, DC, and our events team brought the DC theme to nearly every element of our conference, including our main stage, which was transformed into the front steps of the White House! Before our Chief Grape Stomper, Rick Libby, made his entrance through the White House doors to present his State of the Vineyard address, a trio of Wine Guide vocalists took the stage to sing the national anthem—and it left the entire room stunned. Check out their performance on our YouTube channel.
These three amazing women—Julie Porretta, Krista Stauffer and Cindy Hughes—are Wine Guides and friends. Krista tells the story of how their performance came together.
“Julie and Cindy and I have never sung together, so this was an amazing opportunity to gather with my closest wine family and do what we love. Both Cindy and Julie were music education majors and I was a theatre major at Otterbein, a liberal arts college in Ohio. Honestly, we didn’t hang out in college very often. However, my husband and Cindy’s husband are BFFs, so we have always connected. Julie and Cindy now attend the same church, and we all live about 15 minutes away from each other. When we all joined Traveling Vineyard, we bonded instantly due to our similarities.”
Their connection and talent shined through in this unforgettable Harvest 2017 moment. We can’t wait to see what they have planned for next year.
We Channeled Oprah
Christine Bondola, our marketing and communications manager, envisioned our next big Harvest 2017 moment long before it became a reality.
“Everything we do and dream up is always with our Wine Guides in mind. We love when we can identify and design new and exciting products that excite our Wine Guides and contribute to enhancing their businesses,” she says.
We love it even more when we can give those products away. To 400 Wine Guides. All at once.
We call this Harvest 2017 moment our “Oprah” moment.
It began when Nicole McNamara, our supply chain manager, decided to design a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind iridescent Traveling Vineyard Chiller Tote, especially for Harvest. “It’s insulated to keep wine cold, made of thick material to protect the bottles and features a padded durable handle to make carrying six bottles as comfortable as possible,” Nicole says. Every aspect was designed with our Wine Guides in mind. (Thanks, Nicole!)
Then, we decided to give the Chiller Totes away as a gift to our Harvest attendees—it was all hush-hush, of course, until the big reveal … At the conclusion of our Saturday morning session, we showed the bag to a delighted crowd in the same way we had shown other exciting new products on the way from Traveling Vineyard. But, after revealing the Chiller Tote on stage, we announced, “And you get one today!” Suddenly, our Cheerleaders appeared with armfuls of bags to give away and the crowd went WILD. It still gives us chills thinking about this unforgettable Harvest moment.
You get a bag, you get a bag, you get a bag! Everyone GETS A BAG!
“Our attendees make a huge investment in themselves and their business to attend Harvest. We love to spoil them with surprises any chance we get!” Christine says.
He Put a Ring on It
Big moments are even more exciting when they’re completely unscripted! And that’s exactly what happened at our Gala and Awards Dinner. The Harvest Gala, which is held on the last night of our conference, is a very special night when we dress to the nines, let the wine flow and celebrate all the accomplishments of a great Harvest year. For Wine Guide Julie Hilliard, the night was even more special—she got engaged! Her now fiancé, Mike Grabeel, took to his knee at dinner and proposed marriage! The room buzzed with excitement, and news traveled fast to our Chief Grape Stomper, Rick Libby, who then called the happy couple to the main stage for a re-enactment. It was a Harvest first! Our hearts are still aflutter thinking about it. What will next year bring? Maybe a Harvest wedding?
We Announced Harvest 2018
We thought the response to Lee Anne Gierisch’s lip sync performance was LEGIT. We thought the screams during the bag giveaway were OFF THE HOOK. But we were not prepared for the reaction when we revealed the location for Harvest 2018. This reveal is always the last reveal of Harvest, and it happens right after our awards ceremony. The lights dim, the room goes silent, and the reveal video begins to play on the big screens. This year, as our Chief Grape Stomper’s words, “Where can we go bigger and better?” hung in the air, all eyes were on the screen. We even set our wine glasses down. And then … “VEGAS, BABY!” Wine Guide Nation took to its feet, whooping, cheering and clapping in a storm of excitement. It was a moment we will never forget.
The bar is set high for Harvest 2018! We are already hard at work planning and ready to fulfill our promise to go bigger and better in Las Vegas!
We’d like to thank our events team Masterfully Planned and inventivENVIRONMENTS and our committed World Headquarters staff for living and breathing Harvest, and striving to make it memorable for all our Wine Guides. Now it’s time to bet on yourselves, Wine Guide Nation. We’re high-rolling in Las Vegas for Harvest 2018! Join us and register today.