Home Wine Business Editorial V Files Mystery Shoppers Visit Conn Creek Winery

Mystery Shoppers Visit Conn Creek Winery


Conn Creek Winery is located on a strategic corner of the Silverado Trail and Conn Creek Road in St. Helena. Founded in 1973 by Bill & Kathy Collins, whose commitment to producing Bordeaux style wines was instrumental in developing Napa Valley as a prestigious wine region, Conn Creek exemplifies the varied styles of what Napa Valley has to offer. Specializing in single vineyard cabernet sauvignon sourced from almost every Napa Valley sub appellation, Bordeaux varietals and Anthology, their Cabernet Sauvignon five vineyard blend, the tasting experiences can be tweaked to accommodate preferences.

The visitor center is strategically located on the corner of Conn Creek Road and Silverado Trail and hosts a welcoming entrance for both walk in and reservation based appointments. The tasting options offer something for everyone, with a tasting bar and seated options inside and out. Tasting options include a flight of five wines ($25) and elevated cheese paired tastings by appointment in their Anthology Lounge ($45). They are also well known for their “Barrel Blending Experience” for $125, which includes a barrel tasting of their single vineyard cabernets and a hands on blending session where guests can take winemaking into their own devices and create their own personal bottle of wine to take home after the class. Adding this experience as an inclusion in their Cellar level wine club membership was a brilliant idea.

All of the visits we conducted were non–appointment based and hosted either standing at the tasting bar, seated inside or on the patio. On each occasion our tasters were greeted with smiles and visit options were explained along with the history and story of their wines. The hosts consistently made introductions and engaged in thoughtful dialog throughout the experiences, even on a busy Saturday afternoon. The wines being offered were clearly marked and priced so there was no question as to what was coming next or what was involved to make a purchase. On one occasion a wine club group was closing out from a Barrel Blending Experience, and filled the air with laughing, stories about their personal label names while filling out orders for wine. On every visit our shoppers felt welcomed and as if they were “part of something” even if through osmosis. All of our tasters purchased wine, and left contact information. The hosts did mention the wine club, however, had they not, they were clearly represented through the afterglow from existing customers and other noteworthy touches like the reserved club member parking places closest to the door.

All in all Conn Creek was rated with five full points for meeting or exceeding expectations in offering memorable guest experiences, serving up hospitality and delivering knowledgeable sales acumen.

Conn Creek Winery
8711 Silverado Trail
St.Helena, CA 94574


Friendly staff, versatile tasting options for all guest levels, creating memorable experiences through hands on tasting seminars, creating a feeling of exclusivity for club members without making walk in guests feel diminished, hosts knowledge of wine portfolio and winery story.


Connecting & Building Relationships with Guests:

  1. Making personal introductions and addressing guests by name.
  2. Establishing trust-instilling passion and inspiration about the winery and offerings.
  3. Offering group based relationship/team building experiences through blending workshops.

Converting Sales, Wine Club Subscriptions & Staying Connected after the Visit:

  1. Clearly marked wine tasting, purchase and club options.
  2. Creating feeling of exclusive access through visible elevated tasting alcove and reserved club member parking spaces.

Virtual VinesThe V Files™ 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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