Getting The Most Out of Your Events

As event season is already upon us, it’s important that we are ready to ensure the success of the events we work hard to produce. Here are a few tips when hosting events.

Create An Atmosphere

You want your guests to associate your winery with good wine, pleasant people and a great atmosphere. Guests attend your events to taste wine in a comfortable atmosphere.

Owners and staff – to create atmosphere:

  • Keep smiling
  • Be real
  • If you don’t like people, stay in the cellar.

Think About Your Attitude

  • If you are in a bad mood or impatient with guests, even if you try to hide it, your guests will feel it.
  • It’s okay to have an attitude as long as it is a good one.
  • Practice being patient for three weeks before the event.

Sales Tips

  • Spend 18 seconds with each guest (or group) giving them your full attention. It may not seem like a long time, but it is longer than you think.
  • Tell guests you are glad they came to the event.
  • Give each guest or group a snippet of information that gives them reasons to buy the wine.
  • Have plenty of staff on hand. Waiting makes people irritable…
  • Irritable people usually don’t buy wine.

Things to Remember

  • Smile constantly even if you think no one is looking.
  • Keep the bathrooms clean.
  • If there is a problem with a guest handle it quickly.
  • Keep the grounds and winery tidy.
  • Don’t put the food next to the bathrooms and don’t put the wine tasting next to the band.

Other tips

  • Consider giving each attendee an order form. It saves time at the cash register. Your guests can decide what they want and complete the form (with their name and phone number before they get to the cash register. They give the cashier the form to ring up the wine they have ordered.
  • The guests then take the form marked paid and their receipt to where the wine is being distributed. The packer packs the wine and keeps the order form (they keep their receipt.) If there are any problems you have a record of their order.

Have great events and sell lots of wine.

A tip of the glass from me to you!


Selling to Different Generations (Part Two)

Last week I presented tips on selling to the Silent Generation and Boomers. Today we examine selling to the younger generations – Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

Gen X

Gen X sometimes seems to get lost between Baby Boomers and Millennials. However, it is time to start paying attention as according to American Express, “Gen X controls 31% of the total income dollar in the U.S. economy.”

With this generation it is important to be authentic as they can easily spot when you are trying to pull the wool over their eyes or charging more than they think your products are worth.

Gen X also is looking for security for themselves and their families as they cruise into middle age. When they buy, they want to be reassured that they are making a sensible purchase. They don’t mind paying the price, as long as they are convinced that the product is worth it.


The Millennials are ‘the why generation.’ They want to know why they should buy the product and how it will benefit them. The story that you tell them about your products and company is as important (if not more important) than the product itself.

Telling them why you choose to do what you do is an important part of the sales process. To quote Simon Sinek, who wrote the book, “Starting With Why,” when you tell someone What and How, you educate them; when you tell them Why, you inspire them.

When someone is inspired, they are much more likely to buy.

Millennials are on the phone much of time, so encourage them to give you their cell number so you may text them (not too often). They will also respond to emails, if (and it’s a big if) you have a strong subject line. Additionally, blogging is a great way to keep up with Millennials.

Gen Z

The leading edge of Gen Z is now old enough to drink and buy wine. This is a different generation as they are more ethnically diverse. By 2020, Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers. This generation is more cost conscious and they like to feel and see what they are buying in person, rather than do all their buying on line. They are willing to spend money on products, but want to know that they are worth what they are paying. They also are concerned with ecology. This generation also likes to multi-task and their attention span is about 7 seconds. When speaking to this generation, present your main points to them quickly.

While every generation is different, we all have one thing in common: We want to be treated well and appreciated. Do that, and you won’t go wrong.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Selling to Different Generations (Part One)

 One of the most important aspects of creating converts (those customers who spread the word of your winery far and wide) is creating a connection with them during their first visit. When you do, they will return and end up as converts to your winery and your brand.

Just as people are different, so are the generations. Today’s blog delves into what the different generations want and gives some general ideas of how to connect with them.

Starting with the oldest generation, known as the Silent Generation. While the youngest of this generation is in its mid 70’s, they still consider themselves interesting and interested in what you have to say (if you show interest in them). 

•  They look to you for information presented simply and directly

•  Use language that is more professional than casual

•  Take some time to get to know them so they can connect with you

•  They may seem old to you, but that is not how they feel about themselves.

Next up are the Baby Boomers. This is the generation born after WWII. The oldest of them are 73 and the youngest in their late 50s. While they may not be buying as much as they used to, they are still a very viable market.

As with every generation, Baby Boomers are different from one another. However, there are things you can do or say that will resonate and create a relationship.

•  Most Boomers use digital devices frequently. They are interested in modern     products, services, and means of communication. Tell them about your latest     innovation in winemaking or your wine club.

•  Consider email as a primary form of communication as 95% of Boomers use email regularly. They find it an easy way to communicate and receive communication.

•  Boomers not only want to know about the products, they also want to know who     you are (personally and/or the winery) and what you stand for. A personal       relationship is all part of the journey to the sale for Boomers.

Next week we follow up with Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Brand Ambassadors

No winery can have too many brand ambassadors. People who will tell the world about your wine. Usually, we think of brand ambassadors as customers who are connected to your winery and love your wines. However, all your winery employees should be brand ambassadors for your company, for the wines and for the service you provide.

To create effective brand ambassadors it’s important to train your employees in how they can be effective in this role. After all, your employees know the business, they know their jobs and if their friends and neighbors are looking for ideas for what wines to buy, or where to take visiting guests wine tasting, who better to ask than someone who works in the industry and lives on the same street.

With the right information and training your employees can be a great addition to your marketing and public relations efforts. It is up to management to train employees in the arts of brand ambassadorship.


Does everyone who works for you – from the cellar crew and office staff to the hospitality staff and part time workers (either tasting room or crush) who work occasionally – have all the information they need to become a brand ambassador? In training sessions ask the staff members to write down the mission and vision of the company. Or ask the staff to answer two questions:

  • Who are we?
  • What do we do?

Collect the statements they have written and read them out loud (without identifying the writers).

This will give you a good idea of everyone’s interpretation of your mission and vision statements.

Encourage a Social Presence

Hold a social media training session with guidelines that provide the information on what may or may not be shared on social media. Encourage your employees, in their role as brand ambassadors, to post information about exciting, interesting or funny things that have happened at the winery.

  • Share information
  • Put out one email each week (or more if needed) keeping everyone up to date on what is happening in the company (photos, news, videos, etc.) Employees can share this information with their followers.

If you have a blog or other content you post to your customers, feature information about individual employees as they are more likely to share this information with friends and family.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Reading Body Language

I found an interesting article from Entrepreneur online this week. Written by Travis Bradberry, the article discusses how we learn more through body language than we can through what people tell us verbally.

There is lots of useful information for all of us who have any dealings with people. For instance, according to research conducted through UCLA “… only 7% of communication is based on the words we say. 38% comes from tone of voice and the remaining 55% comes from body language.”

Here are some of the things that you should be looking for when you are interacting with guests, co-workers, friends and family:

Crossed Arms & Legs: Suggest the person is resistant to your ideas. Psychologically, crossed legs or arms signal that the person is emotionally or physically blocked from what is in front of them. According the researchers this is not intentional, which is why it is so revealing.

Look for Genuine Smiles: A genuine smile reaches the eyes and causes the skin around the eyes to crinkle. If those crinkles aren’t there, the person may just be being polite, but not really engaged or agreeing.

Eye Contact: Too little eye contact can mean that you have lost people’s interest. If they are busy looking around when you are talking, you may be giving them too much information and they are getting bored. If so ask them a question.

On the other hand, because many of us were told to look our parents in the eye when we were young (they told us they could tell when we were lying), people may hold eye contact longer than it is comfortable in an attempt to cover up the fact that they are not being completely honest with you.

When you are interacting with people (especially customers), hone your observation skills and look for signals that might mean that they are uncomfortable, bored or otherwise disengaged. It may be time to ask questions and let them talk for a while to get a better idea of how the interaction is going.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

D.A.R.E. To Sell, Part Two – Tips To Increase Sales Through The Tasting Room

The major focus in wineries is the process of making wine. You put a lot of time and energy into producing the best wines possible and doing a good job of that.

This week’s blog is a follow on from last week’s, which presented the first two parts of the D.A.R.E. acronym (Don’t Assume, and Ask Questions). We talked about the importance of not making assumptions about what brings your guests into your winery, what they know about wine and what will make them buy.

Today I am following up with Reach for the Sale, and Explain Benefits.

Many people who visit wineries may not have the knowledge or the confidence to know how good a wine really is. By going a little further to get the sale we can raise sales considerably. And in these days of an abundance of competition, it is important that you remind guests of how good your wine is.

Reach For The Sale…

By reaching for the sale I mean ensuring that you have given your guests all the reasons why they should buy your wines by reminding them of the things that they may have forgotten or not paid attention to, the first time you said them.

•Review buying reasons and are meaningful to your guests. If something you have said resonated, then be sure to remind them of these things. It could be that it is a varietal that they particularly like, or a wine that fits the meals they enjoy.

• Summarize the value. Remind guests of what is important to them (medals & reviews), wine that ages well or is ready to drink now. A varietal not readily available at other wineries.

Explain Benefits   

There are lots of benefits to your guests for buying your wines. Make sure they know the benefits that are most important to them.

• If price is important to your guests remind them that you have special pricing on six bottle of case purchases or if they join the wine club.

Note: Talk in terms of special or preferential pricing rather than discounts. Discounts tend to lower the value in the minds of consumers, whereas special pricing is more of a bonus for them.

• Let guests know if the wine is only available at the winery or in short supply.

Have a great selling season this year and make every interaction count.*

A tip of the glass from me to you!

*If you are interested in scheduling sales or customer service training for your sales staff, drop me an email at

D.A.R.E. To Sell: Tips to Increase Sales through the Tasting Room

As it is already May and wineries throughout North America are getting busier and busier, it seems like a good time to remind you of methods of interacting with guests that can and will increase sales in your hospitality center.

Many people who work in wineries do so because of their own interests in wine, their desire to be in the industry and of course the advantage of being able to buy wine at less than full price. Conversely, many of your guests may not know a lot or anything about wine so their level of interest in wine may not be as deep. This disparity between what guests want to experience and what we think they want to experience can, many times, lead to a disconnect, which it turn leads to guests leaving without buying anything.

Over the years I have created many handouts to use in my winery training seminars. This handout, D.A.R.E. To Sell is one of my most popular with winery staff. 

D.A.R.E. is an acronym for:

     ● Don’t Assume • Ask Questions • Reach for the Sale • Explain Benefits ●

Don’t Assume … 

   •       …Your guests remember everything you have told them during their visit, even before they leave.

   •       …Guests know a lot about wine in general or your wine in particular.

   •       …Your guests feel comfortable asking questions about the wines or prices of wine.

   •       …Every guest has read the tasting notes or wine club information.

   •       …Guests have faith in their abilities to judge that your wines are worth the price you are charging.

Ask Questions…

•       Questions should be asked of your guests as their visit proceeds. Long before the end of the visit you should know their interest in and relationship with wine .

•   Establish a rapport with guests along the way by creating a personal relationship. People connect first with people, then with the product or company.

   •       Discover what is important to your guests; what they like and what they know.

People come to wineries for all different reasons. Some may be very wine-savvy while others have never stepped inside a winery before.

   •       Allow for a two-way conversation.

   •       Use the information you have collected from your guests to help them create a    closer relationship with wine and your winery.

Next week, part two of D.A.R.E. To Sell: 

Reaching for the Sale

Explain Benefits

A tip of the glass from me to you!