Data Collection

Is Data Collection a Priority? After meeting someone for the first time and enjoying the experience, it’s natural to ask for contact information so that we can keep in touch and hopefully see them again. This is true in our personal lives, so why not in the tasting room? When guests come to our winery, our intention is to make sure they have a good experience, learn about our brand and our wines, and make a purchase. If we’ve done our job right, they’ve had a great time and want to become a customer, so why wouldn’t we invite them… Read more »

Where Are You From?

So, Where Are You From? How many times does a wine country visitor hear: “Where are you from?” And how often does our tasting room staff ask it in a day, a weekend, a week…? It’s not that finding out where a person is from is not important; it’s all in the how we find out. Eventually we do need to find out where they are from – to see if they are from a state we can ship wine to – but everyone asks where they are from as an icebreaker so that gets old fast. And, we don’t… Read more »

Leveraging your Wine Club

Leveraging Your Wine Club Benefits into More Sales Is your tasting room staff missing more than half of their opportunities to make a sale? From over 1,500 mystery shops conducted by the WISE Academy over the last five years, we have seen some major progress in the wine industry Direct-to-Consumer guest experience – which is often a winery’s fastest growing channel with the highest profit margin. Five years ago, when we first started tracking mystery shopping results, only 20% of the time did Tasting Room staff ask for the order, make an attempt to sell wine.  Today on average 50%… Read more »

Time to Shine

It’s Time to Shine It’s that time of year again.  With Memorial Day behind us the busy season begins again.  Visitor traffic will build each month from now through harvest.  And if we are ready – really ready – more visitors will drive exponentially more sales through our tasting room.  It’s the time to create lots of new long-term relationships.  It’s time to shine. Here is our Top Ten checklist to prepare handling the crowds, create lasting memories for guests, and capitalize on the potential dollars walking in the tasting room doors. Get Ready! Staff Up. Think in terms of… Read more »

One Size Does Not Fit All

One Size Does Not Fit All Golden Rule Who hasn’t heard of the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have others do unto you? Most companies try to provide good customer service by encouraging their employees to model the Golden Rule – to treat others as you would like to be treated. But in a luxury industry like wine, we’ve got to go beyond that and look to high-end retailers and service providers like Nordstrom’s, Tiffany’s, Ritz-Carlton, etc. for examples of truly phenomenal service. Successful wineries have learned that it isn’t enough to just be polite or… Read more »

Your Score

What’s Your Score? How do you know if your tasting room team is winning or losing? Are you even keeping score? How do you know whether you’re “meeting your numbers” if you don’t really understand what those numbers mean? Most winery executives know their direct-to-consumer (DtC) sales numbers and probably their tasting room traffic count, the size of their wine club and/or average dollars spent per tasting room visitor. All this information is interesting and important, but it is not actionable. For example, knowing the number of dollars spent per visitor year over year is interesting to track: If you… Read more »

Visual Merchandising

Visual Merchandising        What does our tasting room say about our brand? The tasting room is the mirror and reflects the company’s standards, brand, and image. Creating an environment that not only reflects this but also will attract, engage, and motivate the customer towards making a purchase is largely reliant on effective visual merchandising. Visual merchandising utilizes displays, color, lighting, smells, sounds, digital technology and interactive elements to catch customers’ attention and persuade them to make purchases. It’s a mix of art, inspiration, space planning and thoughtful attention to detail. It is part of “silent selling” which, along with presentation of… Read more »

Seasonal vs Permanent Staff

Seasonal Temps or Permanent Staff – Do Your Guests Know?      Staffing a tasting room is always a challenge as is getting the right balance of full time, part time and temporary staff. There are many pros and cons of tasting room staffing options, but chances are, you will have a mix of staff at any given time based on your company’s goals, visitor traffic and policies. Each one of our team members – whether permanent or temporary – represents our brand, our policies and our service standards. We want these to be presented by different staff the same way, with… Read more »

Guest Journey

Choreographing Guest Journey  Some say the quality and impact of the experiences you offer your guests matter more these days than having a best-in-class wine. Everything matters – from the moment guests drive onto the property until they leave.  Successful wineries actually choreograph this guest journey experience. For a memorable guest experience and a positive reflection of your brand, you have to step back and literally look at the path the guests take from the moment they approach your property through the tasting experience from a fresh, consumer point of view.  Creating this path or map is called a Customer Journey… Read more »


SWOT, Won’t You? With the New Year fast approaching, we have a fresh slate and a chance to start the year off right. As the saying goes “If you don’t know where you’re going, any bus will take you there.” Even if our organization is clear on where we are going, we will still need a reality check and team buy-in about on how to get there. Strategic planning – or an annual strategic tune up – is essential and the foundation to this is an unbiased evaluation of our current reality. We’ve found one of the best ways to… Read more »