Two women friends sit before a fire pit. They are laughing and are each holding a glass of wine in their hands.
One tip from Neviana Zhgaba, Owner of Aquila’s Nest Vineyards, for thriving during the off-season is to collaborate with other businesses in ways that will help you both succeed. — Getty Images/SolStock

If you could create your own fantasy board of directors, who would be on it? CO— connects you with thought leaders from across the business spectrum and asks them to help solve your biggest business challenges. In this edition, we ask an expert about affordable ways to show employee appreciation.

In this edition of “Ask the Board,” we’re pleased to feature Neviana Zhgaba, Owner of Aquila’s Nest Vineyards, a family-owned, 40-acre vineyard, tasting room, and event venue in Newtown, Connecticut. She shares how your business can succeed during the off-season.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may have an off-season. While the off-season can be challenging for entrepreneurs and small business owners, there are a number of ways you can thrive during that time — even when your products or services might not be as popular.

If you’re asking yourself how to succeed in the off-season months, you’re in luck. Neviana Zhgaba of Aquila’s Nest Vineyards has found creative ways for her winery to thrive during the winter and shares her insights below.

Your goal should be to offer unique experiences that also align with your business setup and the off-season.

Neviana Zhgaba, Owner of Aquila’s Nest Vineyards

Create unique experiences

Your goal should be to offer unique experiences that also align with your business setup and the off-season. At Aquila's Nest Vineyards, we have created a variety of winter-friendly experiences for our guests.

Our fire pit circles are uncovered seating areas, where guests can cozy up to a warm fire. Igloo spheres allow guests to sit by a round table in a covered igloo, where we also provide heaters and service by our staff.

We also offer a romantic pergola with fire pits so that small groups can enjoy our wines around a gas fire pit in an enclosed pergola protected from rain and snow. We can’t forget the forbidden fireplace, a private outdoor enclosed area that can fit up to 11 guests in a lounge setting with a real working fireplace as the main feature of the space.

Offer seasonal products or services

Think about what types of products and services your customers will likely appreciate during the off-season. We offer our guests a special chocolate mulled wine drink as well as hot cocoa and s'mores kits.

Our chocolate mulled wine is a delightful variation of traditional mulled wine, combining the rich flavors of chocolate with the warmth of spiced wine. Hot cocoa and s'mores kits, on the other hand, allow adult guests to bring along their children for a shared winter vineyard experience.

Collaborate with local businesses

Work with local businesses to help each other succeed in the off-season. Aquila's Nest Vineyards partners with local women-owned businesses to create unique wine and crafts/arts/food experiences that attract guests and their family and friends during the winter months. We always highlight holiday-themed crafts and holiday-inspired food pairings.

Organize themed nights

Depending on the type of business you have, themed nights can be a huge hit in the off-season. Since the winter season is the perfect time to bring friends and families together, Aquila's Nest Vineyards hosts a variety of themed events, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day drag shows, Christmas murder mysteries, karaoke Friendsgiving, and more.

Host 12 days of giveaways

Giveaways are an effective way to spread the word about holiday offerings and attract new guests to your establishment. I suggest leveraging a common trend like 12 days of giveaways to create buzz about your business in the local community. Be a giver during the holiday season, and create fun opportunities to engage with your guests.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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