Wine is extremely popular right now, and starting a wine-related business is relatively lucrative these days. Whether you are starting a wine business or a winery for the first time, or even if you already have one, it is always beneficial to realize all of your options and how you can use them completely to your advantage.
Wine tasting has become particularly popular in recent years, so you may want to consider integrating this aspect into your business. Wine tasting can help draw customers in because it provides people with a fun activity to partake in with others and it can also help to better acquaint these same people with your product, which can help boost sales. But how can you curate the best possible winery experience? There are some things that you can implement that will improve your customer’s’ experience that will also help to put more money in your pocket as well.
Make Sure Your Tasting Room Personnel is Trained and Knowledgeable
In order to make sure that your customers get the most out of their winery experience, it definitely helps if your staff can answer all of their questions and provide them with an all-around excellent experience. A general knowledge of wine is essential, but they do not need to know absolutely every detail about the wine they are serving. It may definitely help if they are interested or have more of a wine background that can better inform their position, but it is not entirely necessary. If you make it a point to train your wine tasting personnel that thoroughly, you may spend more time training than actually out on the floor, and time is money. Enough information to guide a wine tasting will be enough to satisfy customers, so being able to answer simple questions regarding the quality of taste and what foods or events each wine might be best suited for is crucial.
Practice Crowd Control
With the growing popularity of wineries and wine tastings, it is no surprise that many of them experience overcrowding. Especially on weekends during the late fall and summer, it may seem impossible to get around to everyone in your winery and make sure that they are being provided with the assistance that they might need. Having over-crowded areas isn’t just a hassle for you, but it can seriously take away from your customers’ overall experience.
There are several options available to you when it comes to crowd control. You can always opt for the “No Vacancy” sign to keep a lid on wine tasting rooms and instead offer samples or other incentives in a nearby gift area or in the main store. Some wineries have been making their wine tasting areas have more of a VIP vibe and make special “reserve rooms” where more expensive wine is sampled and tasted for a bit of a heftier entrance fee. Separating customers by price point can help disperse crowds and help boost sales for your pricier wines. You may also want to consider providing outdoor seating and even offering a small snack cafe where customers can consume other goods while they wait.
Make it Simple
Not every winery charges for small samples and tastes, but it makes sense to charge for more extensive wine tasting sessions where customers are trying a variety of different flavors and vintages from a list, collection, or simply as a fun activity. The key with charging for wine tasting, however, is to make your pricing simple. Making price tiers adhering to certain types of wine or how many wines were tasted is a great start and can help guide your customers’ interests when choosing wines to taste as well. You can curate these lists to feature basics, to highlight new wines, and to match a trending theme.
You may also want to consider refunding some of what you charged for a tasting if it helps guide a purchase of a certain amount.
Make Your Winery More Personable
When touting their product and trying to convince customers of the quality of their wines, many small wineries tend to throw out numbers. Many customers are not aware of what wine ratings mean exactly and might not even be familiar enough with the scale to know what it is that you are actually trying to say. Given the recent obsession with local products and mom and pop shops, give your winery more of a down-home feel by incorporating some personal aspects into your advertising. Tell customers that the wine they have in their hands was made straight from the vineyard they passed on the way over, or mention local crops and farms that may have contributed to your product. These aspects aren’t just trendy, they make your wine unique. They can much more easily relate to a local product than numbers and scores they do not completely understand, or may even care about. You can still show off some impressive numbers on display, but keeping these things relatively understated will help you build more of a rapport with potential customers.
Offer Winery Exclusives
Many small wineries sell their products at local grocery or liquor stores, which is great for spreading awareness about your brand and boosting business, but offering special winery-only wines can be a huge selling point for people who walk into your main location. There is something enticing about items in limited quantities that cannot be obtained anywhere else, and people love feeling special in some way. Provide a list of winery-only wines in your wine tasting room. It can help entice customers to have a sample and to purchase a bottle or two, especially if they know they can’t get it anywhere else.
Pour Out or Re-Cork Your Wines
Many small businesses want to make the most of what they have, but for many wineries this often means reusing already-opened wines during tastings. This means that many people participating in your wine tastings or requesting samples are actually consuming oxidized wine, which is not ideal. These samples are the backbone of your advertising and you will want people to taste your wine at its absolute best. It may feel like a waste to pour out unused wine, but it will provide interested clients with a better sample and will make a better pitch overall. Remember, your wine should speak for itself, so make sure that every wine you sample is fresh.
Give the Kids Something to Do
Kids clearly cannot participate in any tasting, but their parents probably do! If families come by your vineyard or winery during the day with the family in tow, having a designated kid-friendly area can help them relax and stay for a while. Parents usually run on tight schedules, and often things are cut short because their kids get bored and may not want to stay still while Mommy and Daddy do some shopping. If you set up an area with some toys, coloring books and other activities, Mom and Dad may be more inclined to stay longer and to buy more.
Ask Your Customers Some Questions
What better way to determine what your customers like and would like to see than by asking them yourself? Customers will differ depending on where you are located. Touristy areas will experience a different kind of crowd than a small town, and even similar types of locales will be different depending on where in the country you are. Ask your customers how they liked your wine tasting, your wine, your winery, etc. Ask them what they would like to see more of and what they liked best. You can implement a questionnaire into your wine tasting experience by adding it to the paper list that many wineries provide their tasters to keep track of their favorites, or you can simply have your personnel ask them while wrapping things up. Getting feedback particular to your area can be crucial and can be used to your advantage. Plus, you will get to know your customers more intimately and be able to better cater your products and services to them while building up trust and customer loyalty.