Budgeting – Terror or Triumph Part I

Budgeting Sales It’s that most wonderful time of the year – time to plan! Are we approaching this with glee and enthusiasm, or are we feeling terror and planning a sabbatical instead? Perhaps the enthusiasm or terror is in direct proportion to the type of planning we’re doing. If your fiscal year is also your calendar year, and you’re looking at the sales budgeting process, it doesn’t have to strike fear in our hearts. There is a simple 5-Step process we can follow that will deliver impressive results every time. To begin, let’s gather our historical data and get to… Read more »

Business Interruption Clause

Business Interruption Clause After the catastrophic events this month in Northern California Wine Country, the clean up and recovery are now beginning. As the smoke clears, and the dust settles, many small DTC wineries are left to pick up the pieces and rebuild. Some experienced devastating losses and have started the insurance claim process. Even those who may not have experienced physical damage still have been greatly impacted. The good news is that there may be ways to recoup some of that loss, if you have Business Interruption Clause through your property insurance company. Even if you don’t have this… Read more »

Dream a Little Dream with Me

Dream a Little Dream with Me Let’s go on an adventure.  Close your eyes and imagine taking the most luxurious vacation of your dreams.  Money is no object.  You will be pampered in a stunning setting.  It’s as if the staff can read your mind – everything you desire appears before you even ask for it.  You will never forget this incredible experience. Let’s go on an adventure.  Close your eyes and imagine taking the most luxurious vacation of your dreams.  Money is no object.  You will be pampered in a stunning setting.  It’s as if the staff can read your… Read more »

Go See

How has the summer been for us so far? What valuable lessons have we learned about our customers and about our business challenges? Many of us who manage tasting rooms barely have time for the basics of hiring and scheduling staff, selling wine, and taking care of housekeeping chores during the summer. Very little beyond those demanding tasks gets done during our busiest season. That’s a shame. There are lots of opportunities for learning from others. If, however, we can manage to carve out some time to visit other wineries, we can learn a lot about how others handle the… Read more »

Measuring Our Progress

We still have a couple of months left of our busiest season. This is our happy and hectic time. Are we making the most of our opportunities, or are we just anxious for everyone to go home? Have we been able to take advantage of the traffic we are getting during this crucial time and convert them to wine buyers, wine club members and email list members? We count on our summer traffic to help us build our business for the rest of the year. So how are we doing so far this summer? Here are the Key Performance Indicators… Read more »

What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story? The hospitality industry – hotels, restaurants, and wineries – often uses mystery shopping as a tool to measure our service experiences in unbiased ways. It helps us understand what our customers perceive and experience, as well as what they understand about our brand. Statistics  WISE provides mystery shopping as a service, but we also do many informal shops when friends or family from out of the area come to visit. So by both anecdotal insights and from 4,000+ results of WISE shops, we see that while EVERY winery has a compelling brand story, tasting room staff are… Read more »

Wine Club: How I’ll Spend My Summer Vacation

Wine Club: How I’ll Spend My Summer Vacation The last spring wine club shipment is finally out the door. Woohoo, it’s time to plan our summer vacation. Let’s have that well-deserved umbrella drink and relax for a while – at least an hour! OK, now that we’re all refreshed and ready to go, here’s what we want to do for our wine club this summer: Review our Data and Plan for Next Year What happened with our club this spring? How was our successful ship rate versus our number of members? What was our average order value? Where can we… Read more »


Onboarding Winners We’ve hired the best candidates for our tasting room and now we’re ready for high season, right? Not quite – our work is not done until we onboard them properly. This goes far beyond having the new hires shadow our best staff members. There are best practices we should to follow to make sure our newbies learn our brand and procedures, and stay excited to work for us and take care of our guests. Imagine two guys starting out at two different wineries on the same day. They leave the house in the morning – kiss the spouse,… Read more »

Hiring Winners

Hiring Winners High season is almost here!  It’s time to hire our team of All Stars to care for our guests who will be arriving soon.  Although it’s tempting to simply put out an ad like the one we ran last year, there is a better way to approach the hiring process to be sure we are hiring right.  Here are the steps that will help us get the results we want. Step One – The bottom line:  Get off autopilot.  Analyze the organization, department and position.  When you have an opening, don’t assume you should fill the exact same… Read more »

Planning Staffing

Planning Staffing for Busy Time Before we know it, busy season will be upon us.  Most wineries will be looking to add staff to accommodate summer visitors.  Now is the time to begin the planning process for hiring and onboarding an All-Star Team. We need to get management to view staffing as a variable cost.  If we work exclusively with a headcount cap, we’ll end up with insufficient staffing.  We need to justify staffing decisions based on sales dollars per labor hour, new club sign-ups per labor hour, visitors per labor hour.   We also need to measure average order value,… Read more »