If you are looking for side hustle income to help save up for a big purchase, supplement your income and pay down your debt, and have been looking for work from home opportunities, I recently got the chance to learn more about Traveling Vineyard to share with anyone hoping to do just that!
Traveling Vineyard operates like other direct sales companies, where you receive a starter kit during sign up that will enable you to work with hosts/hostesses to do wine tastings at home. Traveling Vineyard began in 2001 to help make wine education less stuffy, more laid-back and help people develop their palates and learn about wine at an accessible price point. Most wines that their consultants, or “Wine Guides” sell average about $15-20.
Like other direct sales companies, you’ll be paid for your sales and can earn additional income by building a team of Wine Guides.
Unlike several other direct sales companies, there are also no monthly sales quotas/minimums. You do not have to have any special licensing or carry inventory to sell the wines- you’ll be considered a “marketer” for the wines, and all inventory will be shipped directly from Traveling Vineyard.
To join the company as a Wine Guide, it will cost about $189 for the Success Kit that includes your first two tasting sets.
Upon signing up, you’ll receive a Success Kit that comes with everything you need to get started. I received one to look over and it included about 18 wine glasses, brochures, order forms, marketing materials, educational cards.
During hosted tastings, you’ll also be demonstrating the Magic Decanter (loved this!) and a few other accessories that will be available for sale with guests. You’ll also be shipped two wine kits (those are the full bottles you’ll need to bring with you to facilitate tastings) with the full bottles of wine you’ll need at your first two tasting events.
Part of the starter kit- includes tins to hold crackers, chocolate or other items to pair with your wines, along with teaching cards to help educate attendees about wines.
The wines that are sold at Traveling Vineyard events are exclusive to Traveling Vineyard, so you won’t be selling wines you could find in stores. Traveling Vineyard wines range from $15-$28.
As such, your options at a Traveling Vineyard event will be affordable to try, and usually a vintage from the last few years. The ones we tried at the event were all from 2015.
As a Wine Guide you can make 15% – 35% in commission based on monthly sales volume and payouts happen 3 times a month via direct deposit. Wine guides also receive 20% discount off of wine and these sales count towards your monthly volume.
With wines priced between $12-18 and other accessories for purchase, tastings bring in about $417 in sales per event, but you can certainly make more. Some Wine Guides bring in an average of $500-$1000 per event. Orders can be shipped to the host or directly to the consumer, so you could make $62-$145 a night in sales based on a party that totaled $417 in sales, but of course you can also potentially build a sustaining business with reorder, or have larger parties that bring in more.
When you sign up, you also get your own website as part of your sign on bonus, free for 3 months, and afterwards it’s $15.95 a month. Since you don’t have monthly sales minimums, you will be able to take time off, as long as you budget for your website.
Additionally, for every event you book, you’ll need to have 5 bottles of wine to bring with you to facilitate the tastings. If a Wine Guide holds qualified events, he/she will get a credit for a tasting set, valued at $75, so there is no extra cost to host an event.
I got the chance to attend a Traveling Vineyard Wine Tasting this last weekend and really liked it. The whole event took about 2 hours, and I learned so much about wine. We had a tasting flight of 5 wines, two whites, two reds and a sparkling red. I’ve done a lot of tastings in wine country in California and Texas- but instead of focusing on selling up the wine or vineyard, the Guide was focused on helping each guest define their palate and learn about pairings, without the pretentiousness.
With each tasting, our Wine Guide told us about the science behind our preferences and how to pick wines that appealed to each of us. By looking at the color, smelling the bouquet and pairing each wine with certain foods or introducing an aerator or cooling, we could really get the most out of any wine, regardless of price or prestige. I left the tasting with some excellent tips on how to make my wines (which admittedly are more on the more affordable end of the spectrum) taste better and quick tips for pairings.
Needless to say- out of all the tastings I’ve done at vineyards- this one was by far the most informative. I felt empowered to buy wines with a bit more confidence than I had before and the whole event was comfortable, I didn’t feel pressured to buy or hit over the head with add-ons or sales tactics.
I’m always skeptical of direct sales companies- as they’re usually really expensive or the experience of attending an event is high pressure to sign up, host or buy. Our Wine Guide for the evening was fun and never pressured anyone to buy anything- she took lots of time to answer our questions about wines in a way that made everyone feel comfortable.
If you’ve ever felt like the idiot at the wine tasting who doesn’t want to admit they don’t know anything about wines, this is a great place to learn in a safe setting. She encouraged us to be honest if we didn’t like something.
One thing I really loved was the accessories for sale- because we learned how to use them and I was excited to solve some of my wine problems…namely, saving wines after having a glass, and how to enhance my Charles Shaw (Two Buck Chuck) so it would taste a bit more…”30 and established” versus “30 and obviously still broke.” If you’re like me, you appreciate a few helpful tips to look like you have your act together!
The Magic Decanter Aerator retails for $29.99 and enhanced/improved the flavors of the wine, but also can be used to bring a “draught taste” to bottled beers. SOLD.
The Wine Saver has also come to my aid to preserve my nicer wines, so I can enjoy a glass a night without worrying about the flavor changing before I can enjoy it again. I’ve used it a few times since I got it, and it’s creates a solid suction to keep air from spoiling the wine after you open it.
Both of these items, along with the other accessories for sale at tasting events, are included in your kit.
That’s up to you! If you’re a wine enthusiast who wants something that can bring in a bit of extra cash without needing to carry inventory, meet monthly minimums or build a website, this type of company could be for you. On average, you will need to budget $15 for a website, and the costs to stock your wine for tastings.
You’ll also need to ask if you’re comfortable booking tastings with hosts and ensuring that you have enough events lined up (the Wine Guide I met with usually had about 2-3 a week, usually between Thursday and Sunday). If you’re unable to have events when your host/hostesses can have an event (let’s say you take night classes or weekends are fully booked), it is something to consider if having an event based business, at least in the beginning, works for you.
With any business (no matter what it is!), you’ll need to evaluate if you have the time and desire to learn about the product to help generate sales at tastings, work with hostessses to craft a fun event, balance your calendar and assess how you can keep costs in line with cashflow.
The Wine Guide I met was very happy with the company and the schedule allowed her to bring in some cash while being with her family, but always do your research and look over your budget to know the ins and outs of a company before you sign on the dotted line to ensure it’s right FOR YOU as a side hustle!
If you’d like to find out more about the Traveling Vineyard as a business, check out their website to see if it’s a fit for your next side hustle.
This post was sponsored by the Traveling Vineyard to offer a fair and unbiased review. Opinions are entirely my own, and as always- do your research before embarking on any new business for your life and family.