It’s that time again…. the curtain is about to rise on another busy summer season. Wine lovers are planning their summer trips and winery destinations are top of the list! Will you be ready for your curtain call? Are all your roles filled, the right actors in place and the stage set for a successful season?

You have only one chance to make the right impression in your tasting room. And, your tasting room team is the face of your brand to your guests. You’ve invested heavily in a quality product, a tasting room site and a quality team. How can you best leverage your investment in the upcoming months? IS YOUR AUDIENCE IN THEIR SEATS? The curtain doesn’t go up without an audience.

Are you attracting the right tasters (and enough of them) to your tasting room?

1. In this competitive environment you have to stand out. Check referral cards to be sure they represent what makes you unique. Is your brand image reflected on the referral cards?

2. What are the gatekeepers saying about your winery? These are the people who are referring guests to you – B&B’s, winery neighbors, hotels, etc…. How do they decide who is your ideal guest?

3. You don’t need to give it away. Complimentary tastings aren’t critical to getting the right audience to your tasting room. In fact, 2 for 1 tastings or special experiences can attract a more targeted, higher quality guest to your winery

DID YOU AUDITION YOUR CAST? One of the biggest challenges in our industry is that of acquiring talented tasting room team members. You need a deep bench of skilled team members to be successful this season.

1. Understand the value of your team members. Quantify it –total your tasting room and club member sales last year. What does that represent as a percentage of your total DTC sales? What are the total tasting room salaries as a percentage of sales? Understanding the contribution of this team may change your perception. You can’t afford not to invest in the proper number of team members to deliver a great guest experience.

2. Consider asking your tasting room team to take part in the interview process. They know what’s expected and they understand the challenges. You will be surprised at the value feedback and insight they can provide.

3. If sales are a goal of the tasting room make sure you include sales as a requirement of your team. Include a sales role play in your interview process and invite them back to work on the floor if they make it to the final round of interviews.

IS THE CAST REHEARSING? ARE THEY READY TO DELIVER THEIR LINES? You’ve got the right cast and crew and the curtain is about to rise. How can you be sure your team won’t freeze on stage?

1. Ensure that your team is delivering their lines and delivering an excellent guest experience this season. How? Surveys and Mystery Tasting! Survey guests in the tasting room or through online surveys. The best in class wineries conduct mystery tasting on a regular basis to ensure their guest experience is top notch.

2. If you believe in the value of your team you have to value their education. Training is important and training is not shadowing another team member for a day. Have a training plan and process in place if you want to set your team up for success.

3. Tasting room managers are the key to a successful season. Are they on the floor at least 60% of their time? Are they actively coaching and developing your team? If they aren’t doing this your team probably isn’t living up to their potential.

Not sure how your tasting room measures up? We offer a unique Mystery Tasting Portal & Monthly Service for wineries! Contact for more information!