A Happy Wine Club Family

While reading winery websites, which I do often, I notice that wineries refer to their wine club members as part of the family. If that’s true, when was the last time you called wine club members without having something specific to tell them?

Most of us like to hear from our friends and family. Are you doing that with your wine club family? Once in a while give your members a call. Let them know that you like to check in with them to see how things are going. You may add that as a wine club member s/he is part of the family and families call each other.

Always identify yourself with your name and the name of the winery before you ask for the person to whom you wish to speak. Once you have the person on the line ask if this is a good time for them to chat. Then let them know that you called to say hi and ask how they are. Ask about their spouse, significant other or pet, if you have that type of information.

You may want to ask if they have drunk any great wine lately, then take the opportunity to ask if they are receiving their shipments in good order. Be ready with a list of the wines that the member particularly likes, in case s/he is interested in purchasing.

Know which events the member attended so you may ask the member how they enjoyed themselves and solicit feedback about the event, what they liked or what they didn’t.

Give them the opportunity to provide you with any feedback they want.

Listen hard and be aware of their tone of voice and demeanor as well as their answers. Let the member guide the conversation if you sense that is what they want. Are the answers short? They may be in a hurry.  If so, bring the conversation to a close.

You may come across a small number of people who don’t want to talk to you, but they will be few and far between. So give it a try – and let me know how it works.

Slainte!  (To your health!) – Scotland


Working in a Wine Wonderland!

Okay, we’re through one holiday and onto the main event for wine sales. It’s a great time to be selling wine as your customers dust off their best wine glasses in preparation for the festivities. In honor of the holidays, I have in my blog today a holiday song for all the people who sell wine.  From the winery and tasting room to the retail stores – this is for you.


A Case for the Holidays

(sung to the tune of Walking In A Winter Wonderland)


Registers ring, are you listenin’

Down the bar, the wine is glistenin’

Visitor’s drinking great wines 

And everything’s fine

Watching cases flying out the door…


Take a look around your tasting room and retail store. Think in terms not only of putting together gift baskets of wine but baskets of non-wine items. Perhaps a wine enthusiast starter kit complete with a good corkscrew, glasses, a drip ring, aerator, a book on wine or pairing and, of course, a couple of bottles of wine.

I am noticing more emails lately from wineries, most of them offering large discounts and/or free shipping.  Instead of always offering discounts (we don’t want to train people to buy only when wine is on sale) what can you offer as a value add?  For example, anyone who purchases two cases of wine gets a free wine tasting with food pairing for four or six people. Naturally it is subject to some restrictions, for instance:

Not good on holidays or holiday weekends.

Date must be mutually agreeable.

The tasting must be reserved one or two weeks ahead.

Expiry date.


The great thing about this kind of add-on is it brings customers back to the winery and they bring their wine-drinking friends with them (Woo Hoo!). There are lots of things you can do that add value to the transaction and bring people back to the winery.

So let’s start singing… Registers ring, are you listenin’…

How many grapes to make a barrel of wine?

Most of us enjoy passing along bits of information that our family, friends and even strangers may not know. It’s fun to be able to say, “Did you know that…” and relay factoids to others, making them more knowledgeable and making us the experts. I have to say that this is something I enjoy. In fact it runs in my family. Most of my cousins are addicted to trivia games and being members of pub quiz team.

It also appeals to many visitors to your tasting room.

Shown below are some trivial wine facts I came across, years ago. I don’t know where it originally comes from, so if you know please let me know too, as I like to give credit to those who deserve it.

I suggest that you have this information available in the tasting room.  If it’s in the budget, have it put onto laminated cards with your logo and winery contact information on one side and the trivia on the other. This is the type of information people tend to keep. Even if it’s stuck away in a drawer, when they come across it, they’ll possibly take it out for a few days before it goes back in the drawer. They will, however, remember their visit to your winery.

Check the Internet under Wine Trivia for more facts to interest your visitors and give them something to remember you by.


One Acre of Land Averages:

Five (5) tons of grapes -10,000 pounds

13.51 barrels of wine at 7,552 oz/ea

797 gallons of wine at 128 oz/ea

3, 958 bottles of wine at 25.6 oz/ea

15,940 glasses of wine at 6.4 oz/ea


One Barrel of Wine Contains:

740 lbs of grapes and 59 gallons of wine

24.6 cases of wine

295 bottles of wine

1,180 glasses of wine


One Case of Wine Contains

30 lbs (approx) of grapes (480 oz)

307.2 ounces of wine

12 bottles of wine

48 glasses of wine


One Bottle of Wine Contains:

750 ml of liquid

2.4 lbs of grapes

25.6 oz of wine (a bottle of wine is 4/5s of a quart)

4 glasses of wine (6.4 oz)


Oogy Wawa! (Zulu) – To Your Health!

From the book “Toasts” by Jennifer Rahel Conover

Color Me Interested

I have been researching color lately and how color affects buying. On the website, infoplease I came across an article by a bloke named David Johnson about Color Psychology. The article talks about different colors and how they make us feel. Mr. Johnson also reminds us…”in Western societies, the meanings of colors change over the years.” So it’s good to keep up on how colors are perceived.

Mr. Johnson explains how different colors are perceived. Purple for example connotes luxury, wealth and sophistication, though because purple is rare in nature it can appear artificial.  In tasting rooms purple may well make a great spot color.

Brown is another interesting color and in the article it said that light brown implies genuineness.  As the buzzword this year is authentic, light brown would be a good color to use.  Think about a tan paper for your tasting notes.

One thing I found quite fascinating is how the color yellow affects people. Mr. Johnson states, “While it is considered an optimistic color, people lose their tempers more often in yellow rooms, and babies cry more. It is the most difficult color for the eye to take in.

Who would have thought!  Well perhaps lots of people, but not me.

There is a lot to consider about colors when designing a label, repainting your tasting room or choosing paper for your collateral materials.  I intend to continue with my research and will be posting more blogs about the use of color.

In the meantime, a tip of the glass from me to you!

Getting More Out Of Your Holiday Open House

Thanksgiving weekend is a great weekend for an open house, assuming of course that your part of the country is not in the midst of a mammoth snowstorm. Putting snow storms and similar cataclysmic weather conditions to one side, how do you make the most out of your open house? The answer is… advance planning.

•           Set goals:

Create specific goals and objectives. How much wine do you want to sell – dollar amounts and number of cases? Which wines are in plentiful supply? Make selling a certain number of cases of these wines a goal. Put these goals in writing and distribute them to your staff. They need to have a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish. Work with staff to help them achieve these goals.

Set goals too for the number of attendees (aka guests) and who these attendees will be.

Are you looking to attract new people or inviting current customers only? You can always encourage current customers to bring friends with them.

•           Have plenty of help

Figure out exactly how many people you need in each position, counting in stand-ins to fill in during breaks. Once you know the number of people you need, add three more.  Enough staff members make guests feel well taken care of. This will pay of in the short-term in increased sales and in the long-term through fostering connection and loyalty.

Create job descriptions for each job. Distribute these to staff so they know what is expected of them.  Create a position for a trouble-shooter – the go-to person in case of an emergency or minor mishap. Have someone on hand that knows CPR and basic first aid.

Most importantly, make it easy for guests to buy.

•           Have more than one cash register

•           Provide order forms that can be completed before the guests get to the cash register.

•           If there is a line at the cash register, have someone talking to guests in line.

•      Have a fulfillment area for purchases. Guests may take the order from (stamped paid).

A few basics:

•      Promote your open house in every way you can.

•      Join with other wineries and promote together.

•       Include food as an element of the event.

•       Make activities part of the festivities.

Make it a fun, profitable weekend that will reap rewards for years to come.

Salud! (To Your Health) – Spain

Selling for Holidays

What are you doing for the holidays?

More importantly, what have you done for the holidays to promote sales?

Here are a few ideas to make your holidays merry and bright, and to make you thankful:

Create a holiday display in your tasting room – a table set for a holiday dinner complete with wine, wine glasses and other items that will encourage people to buy from your winery.

If you don’t have the room for a table, add some packages wrapped in festive paper and finished with ribbon. Add a label or signage that says (for example) Gift Pack – Two Bottles of Wine and a Corkscrew or Three Bottle Gift Pack with Glasses.

Develop a printed/email brochure presenting the different gift packs that you will not only sell but also wrap and send with a gift card. Send the brochure out via email and have it in the tasting room. Anyone who buys wine should get a copy of the brochure with their purchase (whether they take it with them or have it shipped).

Add some counter cards to display tables reminding visitors that wine or case club memberships make perfect gifts for their friends, clients and for themselves. – After all, they deserve it, too.

It’s a good time to send an email reminding customers that wine makes a welcome corporate gift. You might suggest to customers to send corporate or business gifts as a New Year’s gift. The wine gets there a little later and the gift is not one of many received all at the same time.

Think of items you sell that would be appropriate for people who don’t drink.

Put packages together that consist of a private tasting for four (or any number you choose) consisting of a tour and a wine and cheese tasting and a bottle of wine for the participants to take home with them.

There are many ways to increase sales at this time of year. What are you doing to make sure your customers have a very happy holiday?

Santanka Nu! (To Your Health!) – Iceland

Tasting With All The Senses

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