Rather than thinking about your retail area as a tasting room, think of it as a sensory space, a place where visitors can come and use all their senses when enjoying the wine.
Creating a sensory space takes nothing more that you are already using, you merely focus on each one of the senses separately.
Touch: It’s not only the feel of the wine in the mouth, but the feel of a cool bar top or the wine glass in your hand when you come in from the heat. Let’s not forget the different textures and feel of gift items.
See: The look of the space, the shape of the glasses and the color of the wine in the glass all make an impression on visitors. Keep things neat and clean at all times, especially the bathrooms.
Smell: The smell of the wine is an important component of appreciating the wine so make sure that nothing interferes with the visitor’s ability to pick out the different aromas in the wine. Some wineries have scented gift items too close to the tasting counter, if you sell those types of items, put some distance between them and the wine tasting area.
Taste: Ask your visitors what they taste in the wine rather than telling them what they should taste. If they get some of the flavors commonly found in that varietal (even if they are not in the tasting notes) congratulate them on their abilities. We want to encourage visitors so they will want to do this again. The easier way to encourage someone is to tell the they are good at it.
Hear: Keep a glass behind the bar filled with water, juice or anything non-alcoholic and when you have poured the first taste, clink glasses with your visitors. Clinking glasses is a sign of friendship, fellowship and celebration, it connects us to our visitors and makes the feel more at home.
Think about other things you can do to create a sensory space that accentuates the experience through all the senses.
“Dreams give one wings. Dare to soar and succeed.” Anon