It’s simple: Wineries are missing out on opportunities to SELL.
Here’s the truth: Tasting room staff could be doing a lot more to win customers over and generate future sales.
The key to generating sales is to engage with the customer. It makes all the difference in the world.
Here are a few tips to help guests purchase a bottle of wine or bring ‘em back for more:
1. Create a Great Experience.
A likeable employee paired with a great story can sell wine. There’s no doubt about it.
In fact, there’s no bigger turn off than tasting room staff that don’t even pretend to care. Why? Because the majority of people visit a winery for the experience. Whoever you have behind the counter needs to be knowledgeable about the wine and be able to sense customer needs. In other words, they need to know the difference between a customer who is looking to drink and a customer looking to taste.
Then, employees need to know how to relate and entertain. It’s their job to create lasting impressions, so make sure you hire someone capable!
As a customer, if I enjoy my experience, I will either return, tell my friends, or do both. Word of mouth is key in the wine industry.
2. Ask People to Join Your Mailing List.
Not everybody is ready to join your wine club or buy a bottle on their first visit. However, if you can keep in touch… your chances of making a sale (or several) significantly improves.
Do you have their information to keep in touch? If not, you’re missing out on big opportunities to SELL!
Each day, you should be signing up visitors for your mailing list and it’s easier to do than you think. Because your newsletter offers lots of secret insider information such as access to VIP parties, wine knowledge to impress your friends, and great deals… it’s a no-brainer that everyone would want to be on your list, right?
Well, it’s your friendly employee’s job, now that they are best friends with your latest customer, to sweet talk the benefits of being on the mailing list. Still having trouble building your list? How about trading in that “free” take-home wine glass for a customer email address?
3. Connect Online.
If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, make sure your tasting room guests know it! Post signs where people can see, add it to the bottom (or top) of your tasting menu, on the tasting counter, and maybe even the wine label.
Once you have that, make sure employees mention your presence. Why not offer a check-in special on FourSquare as well?
Instead of telling just one person how much they’ve enjoyed your winery, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare enable your customers to tell hundreds (if not thousands) of people at the same time… all about your wines! Don’t miss this opportunity!
4. Offer discounts for a future visit.
They’re here now and you definitely want your satisfied customers to return. How about offering discounts on the next wine purchase? Or maybe a limited-time 2 for 1 tasting on the next visit? Of course, an email or mailing address would be a nice exchange, don’t you think?
Remember, it’s all about engaging, so make sure you connect with your guests before they leave the tasting room… so you can keep them as customers! It’s not difficult.
What does your winery do to increase tasting room sales?
(photo via Rutherford Hill)
We had the great opportunity to visit the Nelson wine region on a recent trip to New Zealand.
First of all, it is important to know there are 10 wine regions in New Zealand. Yes, there are wineries in almost all corners of the country!
The Nelson wine region is located on the north tip of the South Island and enjoys a very sunny, maritime climate.
It comes as no surprise that, due to great weather conditions combined with passionate winemaking, Nelson is producing highly distinctive, premium quality wines.
And I really love the fact that many winemakers are adventuresome enough to explore different grape varieties too, considering that Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Noir account for over 80% of the region’s grapes.
Here are the Top 4 wineries we enjoyed in Nelson:
Not only does Milcrest Estate produce superb wines, but they own a beautiful and luxurious B&B right in the middle of their vineyard!
This is by far the best spot to stay and set as your base when visiting the Nelson wine region.
The owner, Terry Milton, is very friendly and knowledgeable about the grape varieties, which wineries are worth a visit, as well as the region in general.
And this is also one of the reasons I recommend making Milcrest Estate your first stop; you’ll gain a lot of valuable information from Terry.
Milcrest Estate’s new Chardonnay is phenomenal, flowery on the nose, with hints of vanilla and oak. But their fine aromatic Pinot Gris is a true masterpiece.
Milcrest Estate website: www.milcrestestate.co.nz
Golden Hills Estates
On our visit to Golden Hills Estates we got a chance to meet the owner, Jeff Marr, who told us about his wines and beautiful property on the Waimea Plains.
Marr’s passion in wine making is very obvious and his vast knowledge on the terroir of Nelson has allowed him to be somewhat adventuresome in trying different grape varieties to make wine.
Not only does Golden Hills Estates produce great Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Gris, but two wonderful wines we got to try as well were the 2008 Merlot and the 2009 Dolcetto.
Golden Hills Estates website: www.goldenhillsestates.co.nz
Started over 30 years ago, Neudorf is one of the oldest vineyards in Nelson.
It is also, perhaps, the most internationally known Nelson winery. Their wines have earned not only Neudorf, but the entire Nelson region, worldwide recognition.
Today, Neudorf exports their wines to 16 different countries and many grace the menus at some of the finest restaurants around the world.
If you visit Neudorf, I would strongly suggest you try their Moutere collection. Their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are top-de-tops.
Neudorf Vineyards website: www.neudorf.co.nz
What I loved about this unique award-winning winery, besides their great wines, is their emphasis on utilizing sustainable methods in winemaking.
In fact, their multi-level winery (built on a hillside) is gravity-fed, which allows the wine to evolve from grape to bottle in a process driven by gravity.
The owners of Woollaston Estates also share their passion and love of art. There is a modern sculpture with a shape of an “X” at the front of the winery (I guess “X” marks the spot), and there is also a modern art gallery right next to the Cellar Door.
My favorite here is their 2006 Pinot Noir.
Woollaston Estates website: www.woollaston.co.nz
Other Activities in Nelson
Nelson has many art galleries including the works of traditional and contemporary Maori craftspeople, as well as other international artists.
If you have time, visit Höglund Art Glass, a very colorful and elegant hand blown art glass gallery.
If you love hiking or sea-kayaking on clear ocean waters, you should visit Abel Tasman National Park.
And last but not least, prepare for the Rugby World Cup in 2011 because Nelson is one of the host cities! And if this doesn’t sound exciting enough, you should know that countries like USA, Russia, and Italy will be playing in Nelson.
The Hotel: Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa
The Location: When we’re visiting wine country, we want to stay somewhere boasting location, location, location.
Located in close proximity to downtown Napa (by car) and a skip away from Highway 29, the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa is nestled at the southern end of the valley. Hwy 29, by the way, is main road running through Napa Valley wine country.
A trip to the wineries is quick and easy; simply hop on the highway and drive north. Within minutes, you’ll be awe-struck as you drive past never-ending vineyards, many of which you’ll recognize (Robert Mondavi or St. Supéry, anyone?)!
We found the Napa Marriott Hotel to be a great place to unwind after an arduous day tasting so many wonderful wines.
California casual and very laid-back means there was nothing pretentious or snobby about the hotel.
It was each to his/her own as couples and families alike quietly relaxed beneath the shady porches as they dissected their day.
Some even connected with other guests to pass along handy Napa wine tasting tips.
There’s a $7 million renovation happening as the Napa Marriott brings their 247 rooms up-to-date.
We stayed in the renovated part of the hotel which was elegantly modern and very comfortable.
Our spacious junior suite was a fabulous break from the real world… as if just being in Napa wasn’t already enough.
The suite is comprised of a bathroom (with 2 doors), bedroom, living room area, and a wet bar/kitchenette that has a fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, and sink.
Let’s not forget to mention ample storage space with two large closets… I like to think of it somewhere to store all that wine so it doesn’t sit in your car!
Typical of Marriott hotels, our King-sized cloud in the sky (the bed) gave me the best nights of sleep I had in weeks. The mattress was cushy and the bedding out-of-this-world.
I’ve never been inclined to actually buy what they sell in those hotel catalogs, but I’m seriously contemplating the down comforter and duvet.
Each morning I’d step into the hotel slippers, wrap myself in the plush bathrobe, brew a cup of coffee, and read the paper on the couch before making my way to the Concierge Lounge for breakfast.
Oh, the life!
If you really want to know… The bathroom was big (sorry, no Jacuzzi tub to brag about) and the Bath & Body products smelled divine.
If you need to dry your hair, you won’t find one of those sorry-excuse-for-a-hair-dryer things permanently mounted next to the sink. Instead, check in the closet and you’ll find a real hairdryer with real power and a retractable cord (oh so up-to-date!) hanging in its own black bag. This may not sound like a big deal, but if you have a lot of hair, it’ll make you a happy camper when time is precious in the morning.
Concierge Lounge: If you can upgrade to get Concierge Lounge access, it’ll be well worth the money by breakfast! Not only is the lounge a great place to relax, they also serve:
- Continental breakfast- Eggs, oatmeal, delicious fruit, and fresh squeezed orange juice are a few of the highlights.
- Wine and appetizers- If you don’t get enough wine visiting the vineyards, they serve wines (from Beaulieu Vineyards when we visited) along with cheeses and a different featured dish each night (one night it was pasta with a chicken marinara sauce).
- Dessert- Stop by before you go to bed for some sweets (chocolate cake both nights during our stay), fresh strawberries, popcorn, or pretzels.
- Always available- Bottled water, sodas, Starbucks coffee, and Tazo tea.
There’s also a pool area, fitness center, and the world-class Spa at Napa Valley Marriott. Check out our video for more…
With over 400 wineries in Napa Valley, a visit to the region can overwhelm even the most distinguished wine drinkers!
Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your Napa wine tasting experience:
Start your trip at the Napa Visitor Information Center.
If you don’t know which questions to ask, they do. You’ll leave with brochures, wine tasting coupons (a huge bonus!), and well-highlighted maps to get you started on your Napa wine tasting adventure.
At the very least, know which type of vineyards you want to visit.
With limited tasting time in Napa, nobody wants to spend their time at all the wrong wineries!
It’s okay to share tastings.
Not everyone wants to have their very own! Sometimes it’s nice to share a tasting and be able to check out that extra winery rather than overindulge at one or two. Less is more, right?