Everybody who comes out of a winery either has had a good or bad experience. The experience the customer has will determine if they come back to that winery and what they tell their friends about the winery. Customers can sometimes be responsible for their own experience, but often the winery is in control of the experience, so there are certain things that can be done to provide a good experience.
Let’s start by looking at what makes a customer have a bad experience. One of the primary problems encountered, which sometimes the winery cannot control, is overcrowding at the winery. If the customer cannot even get to the tasting bar, that is the start of a bad experience. We have been to wineries which are three deep at the tasting bar and have attempted to do a tasting. Often we’ll have a little patience but when it starts becoming like a nightclub and you’re fighting to get a drink, it’s time to call it quits. We have seen some wineries try to improve this situation with different methods like opening up other areas for tasting, providing tastings on a patio, or even going to an appointment system.
If the tasting room isn’t crowded, the next major problem is when you cannot get the attention of the tasting guides. I have walked into a couple tasting rooms that had at least four tasting guides who may or may not have been currently helping a couple of people. While standing there waiting for someone to acknowledge my presence and not getting any recognition for a number of minutes, I have walked out resulting in the winery losing money on a tasting and a possible wine purchase. Correcting this is a simple matter of the tasting guides being trained to recognize when people enter the tasting room and acknowledging them. A tasting guide should have the ability to handle more than one tasting at the same time.
A major factor in getting a good experience is the atmosphere of the tasting room. A beautifully decorated tasting room with tables and lots of room welcoming the customer in is the start to a good experience. Providing attentive tasting guides and a thorough tasting should end with happy customers and a good experience.
However even a great tasting room can result in a bad experience by the actions of the employees as described previously. But the opposite is also true where a modest looking tasting room can turn into a great experience just by the employees. A great personality in a tasting guide, along with being informative about the wines, goes a long way to making a good experience turn into a great experience.
There are other people who can provide a great experience than just the tasting guides. Owners or winemakers who are able to be present at the winery to welcome their guests and interact with them goes a long way to making a person have a great experience. That makes a person feel like they have found a home and are being treated well, and more often than not, turns the great experience into a purchase.
As we have seen, there are many factors that can result in a customer having a bad, good, or great experience when visiting a winery. But in the end, nobody can deny that visiting a winery is all about the experience.