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 »

Driving Qualified Traffic

Driving Qualified Traffic More quality, not quantity please. It’s November.  Harvest is wrapping up.  Visitor traffic is slowing way down. Now what? How are we going to drive winter tasting room sales with so little traffic? Remember the number of visitors doesn’t matter nearly as much as the quality of the traffic. Qualified traffic refers to visitors with a propensity to buy now, to buy again later (provided they had a great experience) and even to become loyal ambassadors and help spread the word about our winery and wines. They’re customers who are more likely to be interested in our… Read more »

Beyond the Pour

Beyond the Pour Pour & Ignore The phrase “pour and ignore” is not how you want people to refer to your tasting room experiences. Sure, on a busy weekend afternoon, it becomes a challenge to give each customer undivided attention, but this should be the exception not the rule. We know from hundreds of mystery shops that there is a huge correlation between the guest satisfaction and the interaction the guests have with winery staff, so more needs to be done in the tasting room than just pouring wine.  Merely Monologue A vast number of enthusiastic tasting room staff has… Read more »

Front vs Backstage

Front Stage vs. Backstage We often talk about the Disney concept of “Everything Speaks” – a concept that suggests that service is manifested everywhere your organization touches the customer. These touch points affect the customers’ perception of your brand and puts them in a mood or a frame of mind that can affect their experience at your winery. Every minor detail within these touch points says something about you or your winery to your guests – ‘everything speaks.’ Another concept we often talk about at WISE is Front Stage versus Backstage. Think of the guest experience as a theatrical production…. Read more »