Home Wine Business Editorial V Files Mystery Shoppers Visit Petroni Vineyards

Mystery Shoppers Visit Petroni Vineyards


Petroni Vineyards is known for its Italian varietals sourced from its prized Sangiovese Grosso clone from Tuscany, Italy. The winery and residence are tucked away on a 37 acre Estate accessible by a one lane road on the Sonoma side of the Mayacamas Range. The property offers stunning views of vineyards and olive trees as well as the family residence and tasting caves. While the Estate mostly operates selling direct to consumer, the wines are also sold in the family’s famous North Beach Restaurant, considered a San Francisco Institution.

The Petroni guest experience made lasting impressions starting with a greeting from awaiting staff with chilled Sauvignon Blanc with which to stroll about and learn the history of the property, the family and famed vineyards. During the property purview, guests learn about the owner, Lorenzo Petroni and his historic place in history gaining claim by Italian government to name his Sangiovese Brunello based on his honest winemaking, passion and magnanimous charm. When he passed, the naming rights expired with him, but the Sangiovese and its endearing story remain as their flagship attraction.

The staff at Petroni are well trained on hospitality as well as knowledge of wine, the company history and storytelling. Each visit was hosted in the wine caves on the property where tasting nooks are situated with mood lighting in various locations. Since Petroni only offers tasting by appointment, the hosting areas were set up and waiting for guests upon their arrival. Each tasting was conducted without rush and although flights were pre-defined, hosts introduced options once they discerned palate preferences and special requests. On all occasions staff presented the wines and made sure to advise guests as to availability in the case of purchase inquiry. All of our tasters exceeded their budgets purchasing more wine than anticipated. The wine club was positioned through a soft sell on each visit, however only one staff member successfully made a conversion.

The “feel” of the visit was relaxed, enjoyable, interesting and memorable. The wine selected for each tasting was well represented and customized during the course of the experience. Staff wine knowledge was varied- from very well trained to casual conversation. Outside of the one wine club conversion, no attempt was made to collect contact information from anyone in the group, even during the transaction. On all occasions, our tasters left feeling like they had found a new secret in the Valley and wanting to come back with friends.

Petroni Vineyards
990 Cavedale Road, Sonoma, CA


Exceptional hospitality/ Inspirational story telling/ Engaging connections during the visit/Host knowledge & Likeability/Wine sales/ Memorable experience-Referral worthy


Wine club conversion & efforts to stay connected after the visit.


    1. Club information more prevalent in tasting materials
    2. Hosts trained on close themes to ask for commitments
    3. Incentive based comp plans with rewards and recognition
    1. Email /contact info prevalent on tasting menu and order forms
    2. Email receipt capability with POS system or during check out process
    3. Staff incentives to collect all guest contact info- Track/measure/reward

Virtual VinesThe V Files™, June 2017 edition by Virtual Vines

THE V FILES™ is a monthly publication (subscribe for free) which offers an assessment and rating of wineries DTC performance in relation to overall guest experience and staff proficiency. Wineries are chosen at random by Mystery Shoppers and are evaluated using a scorecard approach leveraging DTC best practices. The ratings are based on how well each winery delivers a memorable guest experience and staff’s ability to sell, covert and connect with customers.

The Rating System is based on performance in the following categories:

  • Inspirational Story
  • Connection w/ Host
  • Sales Acumen
  • Wine Club Conversion
  • Collecting Customer Info

Virtual Vines DTC Sales and Marketing Consulting Services help integrate DTC best practices to help wineries build brand awareness, increase sales and grow customer loyalty. For more information please contact us: www.virtual-vines.com, 707-927-3574

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  1. Excellent summary of my personal visit to Petroni – fully agreed with the Mystery Shopper write-up!

  2. I have been wanting to visit Petroni to check it out for myself and my clients. This review solidifies my desire to do so and I will be making arrangements soon.

  3. Engaging and well written article. Have not been to Petroni Winery but after reading this I will definitely put it on my list. I like the idea of the “mystery shopper” as it seems like you get an honest perception of the winery.


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