Once upon a time, back in about 2008, the Texas Department of Agriculture launched a program to promote wine tourism in Texas with the Go Texan Texas Winery Passport.
This paper passport allowed winery customers to travel to wineries across the state and have their Passport stamped. After as few as four stamps they could be redeemed for something simple like a wine journal where personal notes could be taken or with multiple passport stamps rewards could be as elaborate as a wine tasting, wine pairing dinner, or even a stay at a winery’s bed and breakfast. At the time this was a great way to get travelers interested and excited in the Texas wine industry. However, in October 2011 funding for the program was cancelled and TDA ended the passport program.
Do you remember this program? Did you participate? My husband and I did. We would get the passport stamped, if I remembered, then move to the next winery and get it stamped there as well. The problem was when we would get home I would forget to enter the information in the website provided. That didn’t do me any good! Out of all the dozens of stamps we got the most reward we received was the wine journal. I kept my notes in my own spiral notebook so that journal didn’t do me much good.
In September 2013 the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association (TWGGA), an organization whose mission is to promote the production and appreciation of premium grapes and fine wines from Texas, launched the mobile TXWine Passport App for smartphones (iPhone and Android formats). The concept is the same as the paper version: visit Texas wineries, get stamps, and redeem for a reward. This time the reward process is simple. Get your passport virtually stamped 10 times at participating wineries and you receive a coupon code for $10 off a non-alcoholic purchase at any participating winery! See? Pretty simple! The app shows which wineries participate in the program. When you visit those wineries you “check in” using the app and enter a code provided by the winery. The app keeps track of which wineries you visit and how many stamps you have accumulated. Once you reach 10 stamps you can redeem them for $10 off a non-wine purchase, for example $10 off an item in the gift shop of any participating winery.
Right now I have two codes for $10 off a non-wine purchase and I’m working on my third. Unfortunately, they cannot be combined to make a $20 coupon. I have my eye on a beautiful cheese tray at my local winery, I just need to make the decision that is what I want and make my purchase. I also like the wine bling t-shirts. Well, I do have two coupons…
The app has some fun options as well. Once you stamp your passport you have the option of personalizing and sharing a post in Facebook, Twitter, or email to friends.
You can also use the Photo/Postcard option to take a picture with your smartphone or use one from your photo album and customize and share it to social media, email it, or save it.
I recommend when you download the app you visit your nearest participating winery and play with the various features, after you stamp it of course! Also “like” the app’s Facebook page and Twitter to learn what is happening at the wineries around the state.
Enjoy and Happy Stamping!!!