One of the things that visitors most comment on and it is most appreciate when they visit wine country (regardless of where the wine country is) is the impression that everyone gets along well and that we all like each other. Much of that is due to the fact that tasting room staff members give customers tips on other wineries to visit. However, we have to consider when in the visit we give referrals and to which wineries.
Here are some guidelines to follow when giving referrals.
- If customers ask for referrals to other wineries in your area, wait until after the tasting is complete and they have made their buying decisions before you give them referrals.
- If they ask for referrals to other wineries early on in their visit, the tasting room personnel may say, “Let me think about it for a little while. Once I know more about your tastes in wine I will be better able to give you referrals.”
- Refer wineries that also refer your winery to their customers.
- Refer wineries that produce different varietals than you sell.
- Only refer wineries that you have visited. It is important that you know the customers will be treated well when they visit these wineries. If they are badly treated it is likely that the customers will blame you rather than the winery that did not meet their expectations
- Tell customers to let the wineries you have referred to let them know who sent them. You may say, “Please tell them that (host’s name) from (winery name) sent you and says hi.”
Additionally, if a guest asks about a winery that you cannot recommend (for any reason), explain that you haven’t been there or tasted their wines for quite a while for ages and so cannot say. Then continue to list the wineries you are comfortable recommending. Do not say anything negative about any other wineries.
A tip of the glass from me to you!