In opening Simcoe Creek Winery a little more than a year ago, Joe and Alison Campbell hoped to welcome wine lovers and others. They created a popular red blend and organized a variety of events, including a free summer concert series.
They also signed on with Harvest Hosts, a network of more than 1,100 wineries, breweries, farms and museums in the United States and Canada where members can stay overnight for free in their recreational vehicles. The couple heard about it from nearby wineries.
“We were really just looking for a way to bring more people into the winery — trying to do as many different things as we could to bring in new customers and gain our own following,” Joe Campbell said of their winery at 2911 Roza Drive, which opened in May 2019.
After a slow start last year, Harvest Hosts “has been insane this year,” Campbell said. It began picking up in March, dropped off a little in April and took off in May.
“About two weeks before Memorial Day weekend, we were fielding four, five, six calls a day asking what our availability was, if people could stay multiple nights,” he added. “We’ve had four or five campers every weekend ever since. ... I think we had roughly 36 last year from May to Dec. 31 and I bet we are over that already this year.”
And the visitors plan to return, Campbell said: “Everybody who stayed this year so far has wanted to book later this fall already.”
Membership in Vail, Colo.-based Harvest Homes has increased “exponentially” in last few months to more than 30,000, said Lisa Manning, customer success manager. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the option especially appealing as RV owners, finding closed or crowded campgrounds, seek getaways with fewer people so there’s less chance of transmission of the virus. Some want interesting destinations closer to home.
“It’s just a really unique way to get off the beaten path, and it’s social distancing at its finest. A lot of times, it’s just a couple of RVs and they’re spread out,” Manning said.
Check out the full article from Yakima Herald-Republic here.
Photo credit: Evan Abell, Yakima Herald-Republic