Tasting Room Do’s and Don’ts

I worked in a tasting room on Sunday. I’ve never been employed in a wine tasting room in my life (though the first wine job I was ever offered was at the St. Supery Winery tasting room in Napa Valley. It was advertised as a "public relations" position. I turned it down.) However, I have filled in here and there over the years for clients in their tasting room. Yesterday, one client needed some help because most of the employees were taken to the Oakland Raiders football game they needed someone to fill in who had knowledge of the wines.

So in the course of greeting visitors, pouring wine and talking, I was reminded that there are some do’s and don’t of tasting rooms. But not Do’s and Don’t for tasters, but Do’s and Don’ts for those behind the bar.

1. Don’t wear a white shirt when working behind the tasting bar.

2. Be careful who you correct when they make an incorrect statement. Some people are sure of themselves and have no time for being corrected. Anyway, they are there to have a good time. Let them have it .

3. Pay attention to the "silent ones". It’s not that they are shy, but just not confident. Give them an opportunity to confidently express their opinion. They’ll appreciate it.

4. To prompt a sale of wine to someone who’s on the fence, find a way to let them hold an unopened bottled of what they seem to like. Once in their hands, they don’t like to let go

5. No Metallica on the stereo. For some reason it’s not conducive to thinking about wine.

6. The longer they stay at the bar, the more likely they are to buy…still, don’t lock the doors when they enter.

7. Try to pour a wine that’s not on the "tasting menu". It’s a small gesture that makes guests feel special. People buy wine from people who make them feel special.

8. Never tell a guest, "God, you couldn’t pay me to live where you do." People tend to be protective of their home towns.

9. Try not to ridicule the drunk people.

10. Try not to bring in your publicist to help out in the tasting room unless they have adequate supervision.

Posted In: Personal


4 Responses

  1. Wine Marshal - October 17, 2005

    A post from This Heaven Gives Me Migraine a couple of months ago is very funny.

  2. maggie - October 19, 2005

    I know you don’t want to write reviews on your site, but I do so enjoy it when you aim your humor at personal stories. This post is High-larious.

  3. Justin King - March 2, 2006

    I work for a company 21C retail arts in NC. We are a fixture manufacture who has been in business for around 20 yrs. We are starting to put together a modular fixture program that would allow someone to buy enough fixtures out of a book to start there own tasting room or we can design one like nobody else has for a higher price. I was curious to what you qus thought about the idea. Please e-mail me with your ideas.

  4. Dan - August 18, 2008

    For all your store fixtures both new and used retail fixtures and shelving come see us at our site: http://www.coasteradvertising.com

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