Using Volunteers for Special Events

It’s special event season in some parts of the country, and close to it in others. Wineries are asking friends and family, as well as occasional workers, to man the battle stations during these events. They need extra bodies to check people in, dispense wristbands and glasses, food and in some cases pour wine.

One way or another, you should pay your “volunteers” for their work. When people are paid they are more likely to pay attention to the job and willing to take seriously the training you give them. You are training all your volunteers, aren’t you?

Recently, I had friends who came from out of town to stay with me and attend an event.  They are big wine fans, belong to numerous wine clubs, always join more when they come and buy cases of wine to take home with them. Just the type of people you want at your winery.

They went to a number of wineries and one in particular, from which they were planning on buying at least three cases of wine. They got to this winery about an hour and a quarter before the event ended. As they approached the bar, they noticed that the person behind the bar, who was closest to them, had just poured the last wine out of a bottle of a varietal they were particularly interested in. My friend remarked to her husband that the server had just poured the last of the wine. A gentleman with the winery overheard her and said, “Oh we will open another one.” He then walked on. The server, a volunteer, then said that he wouldn’t open another bottle. When they asked for a different wine, he said that he didn’t have a bottle of that wine open either, and wasn’t going to open another.

My friends left without buying end wine. The winery was down three cases of wine, and who knows how much more for the weekend – as I heard from someone else that he hadn’t been very polite to their party either.

My houseguests came back and told me the story. I have passed the information along to the people who own the winery, and I am sure that they will make it right. But my friends chose not to find the manager or to talk to anyone in the winery, so had it not been for me, the winery would not have found out. They would have just lost a customer.

A tip of the glass from me to you!


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