Tasting Rooms Part I

   In the course of my travels, I have visited many tasting rooms at many wineries.There is a wide variation in how they are maintained and operated, which is a key factor in their performance.The sales staff also have a huge impact in the success.I would be remiss to mention the taste of the wines, which we have covered before.

The first thing that is important is exterior appearance.A tasting room I will visit will be clean and tidy on the outside.No errant trash barrels or huge ruts in the parking lot.The exterior of the building should also be well maintained.The reason is two fold.First, 80% of winemaking is janitorial.If a winery can’t keep their exterior clean, it usually indicates a lack of attention to sanitation.This is a problem in the winemaking world.Also, a poor exterior appearance could also indicate financial trouble which could turn off some customers.The best examples of tasting rooms from the exterior are well maintained and clean.
The second thing is when I first walk in the door.Is the interior clean and well maintained?If it is, I want to go further.The same thing about cleanliness on the outside also holds true on the inside.In fact, it is probably more important.It is also helpful to have an some open space in the tasting room.Cramped tasting rooms can feel intimate, but usually just make it uncomfortable.The next thing I want is a friendly greeting from the staff, considering how busy it is.This opening, welcoming gesture is very important to the customer experience.Now, if it is super busy, we may have to wait until we are ready to be served to be greeted, which is fine.But, if it that busy, give me something to browse over.The best tasting rooms usually allow you to look into the winery.Just seeing the fermentation tanks usually pulls people into feeling a part of the winery.Most importantly, that area should be clean.I have found that if any aspect of the tasting room is unkempt, then the winery is usually too.This has translated directly into the quality of the wines.
The first part of this article described some aspects of tasting rooms dealing with external and interior appearance and the initial greeting.The next part focuses on the actual tasting.This is the most critical thing to closing the sale and potentially creating repeat customers.After all, if the tasting doesn’t go well, and you’re selling wine, you won’t make the sale.