The Harvest Card gives you VIP treatment at Sonoma County wineries

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When you go to a tasting room, you want the VIP treatment, a library wine in the lineup or perhaps a cabernet and bittersweet chocolate tasting in the mix.

But if you’re not a wine club member, your VIP status is in jeopardy.

Enter Landon McPherson, a 35-year old entrepreneur who understands the visceral nature of VIP cravings. The Sonoma County native realizes both visitors and locals want what he calls an “elevated tasting experience.”

McPherson created the “Harvest Card” so people can reap a bundle of perks from the hospitality industry. At wineries it could mean complimentary tastings for two, wine and food pairing and discounts on bottles. At hotels it could be snagging corporate rates and at restaurants, scoring complimentary corkage.

Visit McPherson’s website — getharvestcard.com — to see the list of industry members and a glimpse of what they offer.

McPherson began building his business 2½ years ago. Today he has as many as 33 industry partners as well as 1,100 harvest card members.

“Members are often welcomed into wineries as though they’re wine club members,” he said. “One example is they might get a library wine under the bar that’s not normally part of the tasting. Or they might get a cheese pairing.”

Most of the winery members are boutiques, with 10,000 cases or less produced a year.

“I wanted to let people know about places they might not know about,” McPherson said.

Individuals pay $349 per year for a Harvest Card, but if they’re already a wine club member with a winery partner the price is $99. McPherson said wineries and restaurants pay $300 a year to become partners.

“The money we charge goes toward boosting social media,” McPherson said. “We have more than 1,600 followers on our Instagram. Wineries have told us they’re getting more traffic because of the Harvest Card and its social media.”

A natural in the hospitality industry, McPherson was 19-years old when he first worked at Willi’s Wine Bar in Santa Rosa.

“Hospitality is in my blood,” McPherson said. “I love what I do. I live in a magical place, so why not spread the word? And there are places that are ready to be discovered and need a voice.”

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5310.

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