Improving The Tasting Room Experience

By Published On: April 29, 2019

First and last impressions count. That is why you will want to manage every facet of your guests’ experience when they visit your tasting room. That starts with how they are welcomed, what kinds of tasting opportunities are offered and how your staff interacts with them. It also includes how the tasting room is designed; how tasting fee and wine purchase payments are executed; and how you bid your guests farewell.

Smart wineries will look at their tasting room layout and analyze if it offers guests a variety of comfortable and diverse tasting experiences. Some may enjoy a food pairing, others a tour or the vineyard some like to sit while many prefer to stand.

Doing a little research on your guests, when they book a tasting, will help you get more insight. Researching their background on sites like LinkedIn will give you and your team a good sense of their background, interests and potentially want types of wine they like.

Case Studies that Work

MacRostie Winery in Sonoma turned one visitor incidence into a signature welcome. When the winery first opened a car pulled up and thought it was closed, so staff ran towards it to greet the visitors with wine. It is now the winery’s legendary and unique greeting. It serves as a way to welcome people and accommodate those without reservations comfortably with a glass of wine while they wait.

Interior design matters. Your tasting room space should allow for good customer flow, without bottlenecks.

You will want easily locatable bathrooms. You should also offer different furniture configurations as a way to entice guests back for future tastings. These might include some combination of indoor and outdoor seating. If you don’t have outdoor space, bring the green in by planting a wall with succulents or draping vines over barrels.

Make the payment experience easier and more comfortable. After a relaxing tasting guests will not want to stand up and wait in line to pay a tasting fee or purchase bottles. Your team members should come to them and process payment tableside with a handheld device.

Tailor the experience to your guests. Smart wineries know who in their tasting room works well with different types of people.

One winery has a Texan work with visitors from her state; another has a team member who excels with gay visitors. Pairing the right person with a group of visitors can make all the difference in converting them to wine club members.

Average visitation rates in most wine regions are down, according the Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division’s 2019 State of the Wine Industry Report. However tasting-room revenue is up, due to higher-than-average purchases, which is why it is so important to convert visitors to wine club members.

A 14-percent conversion rate of visitors to wine club members is the national average, according to data presented by John Trant, the director of direct-to-consumer sales at the Napa-based Italics Winegrowers, at the recent Direct-to-Consumer Conference.

About the Author: Ashley Von Pohle