Vine Ride Wine Tours Sees Early Success


PETOSKEY

PETOSKEY – Kassia Perpich of Petoskey was present at a meeting about two years ago regarding public transport.

“People were talking about all the different issues via public transport, taxis, private companies and all public transport in the community,” Perpich said. “At some point someone in the meeting spoke up and said ‘Besides, we have all these wineries and there’s no one there who can drive them who are visiting the Bay View Wine Trail “, 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 wine tour operators in the Traverse City and Leelanau County area.

“It occurred to me that there is a thriving wine tourism industry in Traverse City,” Perpich said. “Could we replicate that to some degree in the Petoskey wine region, where there are over a dozen vineyards?”

Returning home from that meeting, Perpich had only one word to say to Jeff Kozisek – “Grapemobile”.

“It’s originally what I wanted to call it,” Perpich said of Vine Ride Wine Tours, which she and Kozisek co-own. “It was November 2017. We spent the late fall and early winter developing a business plan, doing market research and building relationships with wineries here at talk about what we wanted to do and research our vehicle that we purchased. from Chicago.

“We opened our doors on May 1, 2018.”

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 throughout the region in a clean, comfortable and safe 9-seater van, but are told about each winery by Kozisek who acts as a “tour guide”, said Perpich.

“He does an amazing job educating people about local wineries and the community as a whole,” Perpich said. “He truly embraces the art of hospitality and making people have a good time while supporting local wineries.”

Kozisek said when he and Perpich started Vine Ride Wine Tours, they really didn’t know what to expect.

“It was a good thing because we really couldn’t figure out what our business would be like,” Kozisek said. “We’ve had 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 activities of Perpich and Kozisek, Kozisek noted.

“We exist because they exist and it’s more than just bringing them customers,” Kozisek said. “Vine Riders can have unique experiences at every stop. Each winery is different, but they all work with the same cold climate grape variety.

“Each area brings something it can enjoy.”

Vine Ride Wine Tours was also recently recognized for its business practices by Certified B Corporations – also known as Better Corporations or B Corps – which signal that a company’s entire operations meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

Vine Ride joins more than 2,700 Certified B companies in 150 industries and 64 countries, including leading companies like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Kickstarter and New Belgium Brewing. All have a common goal: to redefine success in business.

“All business should be conducted as if people and places matter,” Perpich said. “It’s not just about the bottom line. It is important for a business, even a small wine company like ours, to consider its impact on its employees, customers and suppliers, community and environment.

“Why 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) nonprofit organization that governs B Corporation’s standards.

B Lab examined Vine Ride’s leadership structure, purchasing policies and supplier diversity in relation to its carbon footprint, charitable donations and more, Perpich explained.

“It was an intense process to go through,” she added. “But it was definitely worth it. We learned a lot about our business impact and how to conduct our business more thoughtfully in the future.”

Perpich said the business could have easily focused on getting from point A to point B and called it a day, but she and Kozisek wanted to look at the business in a more interesting and creative way.

“It’s about reducing traffic on our roads, reducing opportunities for impaired driving and increasing foot traffic at wineries, which, if you think about it, is a way to preserve agriculture. small-scale family in our community,” Perpich said.

Vine Ride offers afternoon and evening tours of wineries 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 reserve the entire van for a private group experience.

For more information about Vine Ride Wine Tours, visit www.miVineRide.com or call (231) 709-3450.

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