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!

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!

Hiring the Right Staff

As it comes into the selling season, I thought a quick blog on some of the things to look for when you are hiring new hospitality employees might be helpful. I go into lots and lots of wineries and other businesses and am fascinated by the range of customer service I receive.

When your company is looking for hospitality and/or sales employees it is important that you choose people who not only have good sales skills but also have great people skills. In fact, people skills should be number one on the list of attributes. Someone with good people skills usually is a good sales person.

Good people skills include a genuine interest in the guests: Many people who get into hospitality at wineries are much more interested in wine than they are in the guests.

Well-developed communication skills

These are people who can easily strike up a conversation so that the points they get across are the ones that are of interest to the guests. This means they listen at least as much as they talk.


Applicants should have ability to quickly assess individual guests through what they say, how they say it, facial expressions and body language. The host can treat them in the way they (the guess) want to be treated. If the guest wants to tell you about their interaction with wine, let them. Then give them the information that is relative to their interests.


Being flexible should be a well-honed trait. The employee has to be able to relate to lots of different types of people, some gregarious, some nervous, some wine experts, some who have never had a glass of wine. Each one needs to be dealt with differently. The employee should be adaptable to provide the individual experience that most guests wants.

Gentle Persuasion

The employee should be able to convince the guest of the value of the product (remember that value does not necessarily mean price) based on an understanding of the guests’ wants and needs. I say gentle persuasion because even if the guests do not buy (this time) we want them to come back or to tell their friends.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Perking Up Your Email Subject Lines

I received an email from a winery, the other day. As I receive lots of emails from wineries, I don’t always read them right away. However, the subject line caught my attention.

Email subject lines are not always designed to make you open them. Here are a few from wineries that have popped up in my Inbox lately:

• Spring Release Weekend • Need To Restock Your Wine Supply? • Have You Tried Our Selections? • Easter Wine Release • It’s Spring, Save 15%… • “Spring Release • One Day Sale • April Events

If I were a follower of any of these wineries I may well check out the offering (if I had the time). However, if it was not a winery I was particularly familiar with or did not usually buy from, I may not bother to even look.

However, I did get an email from a winery that caught my attention and I opened it to read the post. What I saw was, “We Climbed 1,400 Feet…” which was all that would fit into the size of my Inbox. However it was enough to make me want to find out what the people had climbed 1400 feet for. The whole subject line was: “We Climbed 1,400 Feet for the Best Pinot…” The post was about a vineyard that the winery in questions bought grapes from. The vineyard was at a 1,400 feet elevation. The post went on to describe the family who own the vineyard as well as the location (the facing, cool temps, bright light, etc.). Good job on the subject line and the post! It made me more interested in your winery.

An interesting subject line may bring (should bring) more guests to your site and possibly to your winery. Think about what you can say that is different. Some of the ideas for subject lines that encourage people to open the email include:

  • Make readers curious: See what we have in store for you
  • Alliteration: Catch a compelling Cab
  • Mystery: It’s all over on June 5th
  • Retarget: You missed a great wine (this is for people who abandon their cart)

Start thinking about email subject lines that can improve your sales and increase the connections between you and your customers.

A tip of the glass from me to you!