The other day I received an email from a wine consumer I know. This person is not in the wine business, neither is anyone in the family. As a couple they go wine tasting regularly and are thinking about giving it up.
The note is exactly as I received it, except that I took out any reference to the location of the wineries visited as these things happen in all regions.
“For a while now we have stopped going wine tasting for one major reason: We hate being told what are we going to taste in the wine. After the n-th tasting room, where we have heard the wine notes, and we were asked only where are we from, I have had enough.
95% of our tasting room hosts recited the tasting notes to us and all other customers and just wanted to see us buying a lot and get out of the door. I feel not like a treasured guest but as a “body in and body out,” and I feel like they check some boxes with how much they served and how much we bought and that’s all.
We now only have about five favorite tasting rooms in the whole area where we take guests, and the hosts are not assuming that we are there in a group just to get drunk, or that we know nothing about wine tasting.
More often than not we have had to ask for water in-between the tastes and dump buckets were available in about 2% of all the tasting rooms we have visited in the last six years.
I used to go to discover new places and find new wines I might like. I don’t feel like going anymore. I rarely find good examples of customer service, or folks who really care about the customer and want to establish a relationship (other than “buy something, dammit!”).”
Show this note to your staff, bring it up at the next hospitality staff meeting. You might not think it applies to your winery, but it might.
Next week I will talk about ways to fix the problems brought up in this note.
A tip of the glass from me to you