Vine Ride Wine Tours finds early success
PETOSKEY – Kassia Perpich from Petoskey was at a meeting about two years ago regarding public transport.
âPeople were talking about all the problems via public transport, taxis, private businesses and all the public transport in the community,â Perpich said. âAt one point, someone at the meeting spoke up and said ‘plus we have all these wineries and there’s no one who can lead them while visiting the Bay View Wine Trail’, c ‘that’s what it was called at the time. “
It was then that inspiration struck Perpich, who was aware of the success of the wine industry and the various tour operators in the Traverse City area and Leelanau County.
âIt occurred to me that there is a thriving wine tourism industry in Traverse City,â said Perpich. “Could we replicate that to some extent in the Petoskey wine region where there are over a dozen wineries?” “
When he returned from this meeting, Perpich had only one word to say to Jeff Kozisek: âGrapemobileâ.
âIt was originally what I wanted to call it,â Perpich said of Vine Ride Wine Tours, of which she and Kozisek are co-owners. âIt was November 2017. We spent the late fall and early winter developing a business plan, doing market research and building relationships with the wineries here, talking of what we wanted to do and to research our vehicle that we bought from Chicago.
âWe opened our doors on May 1, 2018.â
Operated from Petoskey, Vine Ride Wine Tours specializes in small group tours of the Petoskey wine region.
Vine Ride passengers are not only transported from seven different wineries across the region in a clean, comfortable and safe 9-passenger van, but are also briefed on each winery by Kozisek who acts as a ‘tour guide’ , said Perpich.
âHe does a terrific job educating people about the local wineries and the community in general,â said Perpich. âHe really embraces the art of hospitality and shows people a good time while supporting the local wineries.â
Kozisek said when he and Perpich started Vine Ride Wine Tours they really didn’t know what to expect.
âIt was a good thing because we really couldn’t figure out what our business would look like,â Kozisek said. âWe got off to a great start and this year the momentum has really picked up. “
The tour, which includes a complimentary snack, water and other amenities, worked as a symbiosis between the wineries and businesses of Perpich and Kozisek, Kozisek noted.
âWe exist because they exist and it’s more than we just bring customers to them,â Kozisek said. âVine Riders can have unique experiences at every stop. Each estate is different, but they all work with the same cold climate varietal.
“Every winery brings something they can appreciate.”
Vine Ride Wine Tours has also recently been recognized for its business practices by B certified companies – also known as Better Corporations or B Corps – which report that all of a company’s operations meet the highest standards of social performance. and environmental, transparency and accountability.
Vine Ride reaches over 2,700 B-certified companies in 150 industries and 64 countries, including leading companies like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Kickstarter and New Belgium Brewing. All have one unifying goal: to redefine business success.
âAll business should be conducted as if people and places matter,â Perpich said. âIt’s not just a question of the result. It is important for a business, even a small wine tourism business like ours, to consider the impact it has on its employees, customers and suppliers, its community and its environment.
âWhy not aim for a positive impact? “
To qualify as a B Corporation, Vine Ride participated in a rigorous review of its business practices. Their review was conducted by B Lab, the 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that governs B Corporation’s standards.
B Lab looked at Vine Ride’s leadership structure, purchasing policies and supplier diversity, its carbon footprint, charitable giving and more, Perpich explained.
âIt was an intense process to go through,â she added. âBut it was totally worth it. We have learned so much about our business impact and how to conduct our business more thoughtfully in the future. “
Perpich said the company could have easily focused on moving from point A to point B and called it a day, but she and Kozisek wanted to look at the company in a more interesting and creative way.
“It’s about reducing traffic on our roads, reducing opportunities for impaired driving, and increasing foot traffic through wineries, which, if you think about it, is a way to preserve agriculture.” small-scale family in our community, âsaid Perpich.
Vine Ride offers afternoon and evening wine tours including Crooked Vine Vineyard and Winery, Mackinaw Trail Winery, Petoskey Farms Vineyard and Winery, Resort Pike Cidery and Winery, Rudbeckia Farm and Winery, Spark Key Winery and Walloon Lake Winery . Customers can purchase individual seats in the 9-passenger van or book the entire van for a private group experience.
For more information on Vine Ride Wine Tours, visit www.miVineRide.com or call (231) 709-3450.