It’s interesting that when I started in the wine industry no one working in a tasting room thought about being tipped by visitors, though it did happen on occasion. These days I am asked quite regularly about whether hospitality employees should accept tips.
I don’t believe a tasting room is a place where tips should be solicited, even with a tip line on the credit card receipt. Nor do I believe that winery employees should expect to be tipped. When a visitor voluntarily offers a tip, an employee should thank the visitor and make it clear that tipping isn’t necessary. However, if the visitor insists, the employee should accept the tip and sincerely thank the visitor. Sometimes visitors want to tip to show their appreciation for the service received.
Wine is a quality product and in many cases not inexpensive. The wine industry should not be the type of business in which customers subsidize employee wages. It would be like seeing a tip jar on the counters at Neiman Marcus or Tiffany’s.
What is done with any tips received is up to the winery. Some wineries combine tips and use them to fund a special treat for hospitality employees, other wineries split them up between the staff or give them to an agreed upon charity. At some wineries the employees keep the tips they are given.
Never expecting a tip makes being offered one even better. So, congratulations to those of you who are offered tips without the visitor thinking it’s expected.
A tip of the glass from me to you!