Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story When we were young, one of the first things we asked our parents was ‘Tell me a story.’  After all these years, that hasn’t changed and we all are still entertained by great stories.  Harnessing the power of a story to make guests fall in love with your brand is a WISE trait of successful tasting room employees. There is a legendary story about a wine called Black Chicken. It’s a great story about the owner of Biale winery, Aldo Biale. During the 1950s and early 1960s, Aldo’s family grew fruits and vegetables and sold and… Read more »

One Fish Two Fish

One Fish. Two Fish. Green Fish. We can’t help but be constantly reminded that we aren’t the only winery in our region. We simply cannot get away from each other, but that’s actually a good thing.  We don’t go to a mall because they have one good store, we go for the selection of many good stores. So as an industry, we’re stronger and more interesting together as a region, offering a delicious discretionary item to enhance the enjoyment of life.  Wineries are forever both competing with and complementing each other, whether to raise awareness for a specific region or… Read more »

In The Swim

In the Swim Picture this for just a moment – our tasting room team is rocking it and the Yelp reviews are glowing.  Customer satisfaction, sales, and conversions to wine club and email list are off the charts.  Is this our lucky day, just a dream too good to be true, or is it the result of our careful planning and impeccable execution? We all want a process to ensure that we get these results consistently.  To make that happen, look no further than the nearest swimming pool.  The concept is simple: have a laser focus on one event/ experience/… Read more »

Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now? Magical moments happen all the time during WISE Academy classes.  WISE instructors are privileged to hear the hopes and dreams and frustrations of our students.  While we hold these specific confidences sacred (what happens in WISE stays in WISE), we encourage everyone to share the general lessons.  With that spirit we want to share the key requests that we hear time and time again.  It seems sometimes that you all (tasting room team members and winery owners or executives) don’t talk to each other as much as you should to accomplish the goals you have… Read more »

Sink or Swim

Sink or Swim? By now, most wineries are fully staffed with not only year-round staff but also seasonal ‘temp’ staff. It’s a busy time in the tasting room and there are plenty of moving parts. Each one of our team members – whether permanent or temporary – represents our brand. We want it to be presented by different staff the same way, with the same vision or ‘voice’ and standards. Our guests aren’t going to know – and frankly shouldn’t know – what type of staff member they are interacting with. We need to help our staff be a successful,… Read more »

Tours

Tours While it might not be brain surgery, being a winery tour guide is still a pretty important and impressive job. Tasting room associates and tour guides are the ‘front line’, the face of the brand and often the first interaction guests have with our brand, wines and winery. A winery tour guide is seen as a professional wine educator and most people are not only in awe of all the knowledge a guide has, but they look to the guide as an expert. A tour guide is tasked with introducing – or reinforcing – the brand and being the… Read more »

Tasting Room Roadmap

Tasting Room Roadmap to Success Do you go to the beach and not bring a towel? We’re ready for summer – are you? After thousands of mystery shops, we’ve learned a lot (and are still learning). Based on our findings, we have come up with some best practices for the tasting room that can be used as a roadmap to success this season. Five tips to tasting room success: 1. Don’t Let Your Backstage Show Backstage refers to the ‘performance’ concept of where the “front stage” is the guest experience – everything the guest sees, hears, touches, smells – and… Read more »

Decrease Hiring Mistakes

Decrease Hiring Mistakes – Get an All-Star Team It’s hiring season in the wine industry and it’s time to get all team members on board and ready for the high season. Ideally every winery wants to have an All-Star team, but how do you hire these superstars? Qualifications You probably have a tasting room associate job description that’s been used for a while. To raise the bar, it’s important to start fresh. Think about the All-Star team you’re trying to build. What do the great staff members have in common? When considering these qualifications, think about them from three different… Read more »

Incentive Compensation Program

Incentive Compensation Programs Often we are asked about tasting room staff incentives for wineries and best practices for a program. An Incentive Compensation Program (ICP) is a tool used to motivate and compensate a sales professional to meet goals or metrics – over a specific period of time – to help achieve business goals. When well designed, an ICP should pay for itself.  Based on the many conversations and our research, here are five tips for designing a program that works. Reward the Right Things – Tie incentive compensation to all the key performance aspects of the Tasting Room Professional’s job. A… Read more »

Down Time

The Lowdown on Down Time Tasting Room Managers all know this drill.  It’s been a crazy busy day up until now, and the staff is finally catching their breath.  Or it’s been a very slow day with few visitors and our staff is simply standing at the bar.  Of course, this is exactly when we will receive a surprise visit from our winery executives. General Managers go crazy when they see staff standing around – they see it as a cocktail party. But the correct perspective is they should be thinking of it as a fire station.  We need our… Read more »