This is a topic I felt so passionately about I needed to wait for the creativity to hit me for the best way to deliver what will be a fun but sensitive topic. I recently visited a vineyard here in Virginia (formerly Upper Shirley plantation) currently known as Upper Shirley Vineyards and received less than impressive service. This was my second time visiting the winery and both times I witnessed the manager (or maybe he was the owner) walk around to greet all the tables around us except ours.
My friend and I were the only people of color in the bar/restaurant area (there weren’t even any black employees). We were not greeted warmly like the guest around us at other tables and our waitress acted as if when we ordered our food and wine that it was no absolutely no rush. Basically— sis took an hour to bring us everything. Literally.
This annoyed me but instead of bothering to make a fuss— because sadly this is nothing new I thought I would ask the wine friends what are some things they look for in a good winery visit. I pray many wineries around the world read this and get their act together!
Welcoming & Knowledgeable Staff
This was the #1 answer I received on the gram when I posted this question. Educate your staff to know the wines, the history, and details about the process. But more importantly make sure they are kind and love people. Wine is a connector of persons. Don’t let your staff ruin that.
Tour of the Property
Most people visiting the winery want to feel it inside and out. They don’t just want to taste the grapes. They want to see where they’re grown, touch the vines, and not just hear the history but feel apart of it. Take interest in making your space beautiful.
When tasters come to have a great experience we want to spend money! Have the wines readily available so we can take them back home to relive the experience. A cute little store with wine trinkets wouldn’t hurt either. 😉
Events & Entertainment
Create an experience around your wine! You make a Pinot and so do a million other people. What sets your Pinot apart? Change the way I experience your Pinot and I’ll buy it forever. 🥰
Ship it… Ship it Good!
Purchasing your wine is one thing but not having to worry about how to get it back home is a whole other story. Bless your wine friends and make sure you can send the wine right to their door. This will also eliminate the decision process- now I can buy them all!
Great food for pairing
Do not have me try 10 different vintages with no menu in sight. The charcuterie is great but invest in a brick oven so I can soak up some of this wine with a good pizza. (shout out to Charles Krug for getting me right in Napa)
Diversity In Staff
If you’re a winery owner and you’ve never read “Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria” you should read it. When your staff lacks diversity your customer base most likely will too. Who’s going to go back and invite a more diverse community to your space if there’s no diversity on your team? In this year 2019 not only is there no excuse but it’s sad.
Partnering with diverse influencers is another great way to shake up your customer base. Wine lovers come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Do better with diversity & inclusion.
Teach your staff how to really tell your story. A good story is what will keep your tasters engaged and give them something to share when they go home. A good story = word of mouth. Then everyone will want to visit your winery!
Cute Winery Dog
While I’ve yet to meet a winery dog I can call friend, I totally understood this response when it popped into the comments. Make sure she’s absolutely adorable and thinks people are adorable too!
Make sure your wine is at its best and ready to serve. The wine friends also requested healthy pours. Don’t be stingy.
Experience is everything.
Your biggest focus should be how your customer is experiencing your wine + your brand. Put effort into making each customer feel special and your efforts in diversity & inclusion will go along way.
Cheers 🥂 to everyone getting right!