We hear it just about every day. You’re in the market for tasting room employees. And not just any employees, but hospitable, motivated, and reliable employees. The market is slim, because the competition is thick. You’ve heard the stats, there are over 9,000 wineries in the United States, and that number is growing every single day. So, how do you achieve that “dream team” in your tasting room? Is it possible to find these talented employees? And if you find them, how do you retain them? We think the answer is as simple as a shift in mindset: Your most important constituents are your EMPLOYEES, NOT CUSTOMERS. Richard Branson has the right idea…



We work for people. Not money, not businesses, but people.


The most significant factor that the manager controls, is his or her relationship with each employee. The second most important factor in a manager’s ability to motivate employees is creating a work environment and organizational culture that fosters employee motivation and engagement. Your arrival and first moments you spend with staff each day have an immeasurable impact on positive employee motivation and morale.


A great leader leads by example. If your employees are not motivated, happy and care about the company it is very difficult to acquire and retain loyal customers and brand advocates. 


We suggest:


  • Be on the floor, working the busiest days.
  • Communicate more than you think is necessary.
  • Congratulate staff on life events such as new babies, inquire about vacation trips, and ask about how both personal and company events turned out.
  • Care enough to stay tuned into these kinds of employee life events and activities!
  • Use Simple, Powerful Words to Motivate Employees: PLEASE, THANK YOU, GOOD JOB
  • Provide Regular Feedback


The Ball is in Your Court. You Set the Tone. You can make their day or break their day. It’s your choice.

When it comes to staffing:

  • Hire for the personality first. Wine can be taught. An engaging personality, genuine kindness and a passion for hospitality cannot.
  • Look outside of wine business:
    • Hospitality stars in restaurants or hotels
    • Seasoned sales professionals of high-end products (e.g. luxury cars, software)
    • Brightest recent college grads (no experience required)
  • Seek diversity: balance of ages, experiences, backgrounds leads to many learning and mentorship opportunities and a healthy debate of best practices.

Studies show that if an employee feels fairly compensated (as compared to the marketplace), money isn’t a motivator. Oftentimes a tasting room team member won’t have an opportunity to advance within the winery, so it’s very important to give them what they need and expect from their time with you. Learn what your employees value – ask them what they want from this job. Each one has different dreams and goals. How can you help them achieve their goals? In short, to hire and retain your “dream team”, differentiate your winery by changing your mindset about employees. Your team doesn’t owe you, you owe them!



Email lindsay@vingdirect.com or call 512.308.2908 to discuss your specific needs.