Imagine, out of all the fabulous wine growing regions in the world, out of the many wineries in our area, the guest has found their way into our tasting room – they have discovered us! Now is our chance. We have trained for this moment since the day we opened our doors. Our tasting rooms are welcoming to our guests, menus are thoughtfully engineered, from wines carefully crafted…our blood, sweat and tears from conception to final product – We were made for this day.
And then…we rush through the name of the wine. We forget to explain why it is called by that special name that the proprietor (or marketing department) created. We fail to tell an engaging brand story. Instead, we simply state the name, share some tasting notes, and move on. (In some circles, this is called a ‘Pour and Ignore’.)
We know that we have to be balanced in our delivery: educating them by reciting the blend and barrel regime, while enticing them by watching for verbal and nonverbal buying signals, seeing if our guests are happy with the selection, and if there is a spark. But, are we creating lasting memories with our brands and our wines? This is a scene that plays out in tasting rooms all around the globe, all too often. (We know from thousands and thousands of mystery shop results too!)
Let’s do a little “Wine Taster Math.” A couple comes to town for a long weekend, leaving the kids at home with Nana and Pop Pop, and therefore, leaving all the stress of day to day, PTA, and work behind. This couple is here to buy some wine; doing something for themselves for once! They have reservations at FOUR wineries per day. Each menu has four wines on the list – and some even greet them with wine or surprise them with a bonus pour – so FIVE wines per winery, over THREE days. That is a minimum of 60 WINES they will taste. It’s no wonder they can’t remember what the name of the wine was that they really liked! If we’re simply educating them with the technical details from the tasting notes, it becomes so much white noise… especially if we hear details of 60 different wines in 3 days.
How can we help guests remember our wines and make our wines stand out from the 55 other wines they will taste that weekend?
- Start by pronouncing the name and showing the bottlee when talking about the wine. There is a method to the madness when sommeliers at a restaurant do this… not to mention many people are visual learners and will remember better if they can see it.
- Tell the story behind the label! Is it a single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon? Who else sources from that vineyard? Is it the winemaker’s children’s handprints on the label? Share those stories – they may have kids; they will find that endearing! What’s the ‘WHY’ behind the label? Why was it made? Why in that style? Why is it named what it’s named?
- Encourage pictures of the bottle. Help cement those memories with something they can keep with them on their phones. If there are extra labels, offer them to guests to help with memory and a keepsake.
- Offer to start a profile for them in your POS or CRM and take notes of what they liked. What a great way to follow up and connect with that guest later! (Of course, to do that, we need to collect robust data, including contact methods and preferences, but that’s another blog.)
- Send that guest home with some wine! A wine tastes best on vacation, at your winery. Capture that interest and sell them some wine. Challenge yourself to use the name of the wine they liked the most in your ask for the sale. So far, we have not encountered a wine named “Anything” so stop asking guests if they want to take “Anything” home with them!
Simply put, use your brand and winery name, stories, and people to create memories for the guest; cement those memories with follow ups and outreach, and get your wines in their wine cellar!