dear winery owner….

imagesI love visiting wineries!! Probably the best part about visiting local (as in BC) wineries is that wines are available that you can’t get in any stores. Usually, this is the only wine I buy when I visit a winery since, living withing spitting distance of fifty-five bazgagillion grapes means I have a good selection of wine when I want to buy it any other day.

But, since I drove to your little (or big) square of neatly-rowed and nicely outfitted piece of heaven I expect you to show a little excitement about me showing up!! Funnily enough, this is a 50/50 transaction, Mr Winery Guy.

Last weekend we had company and were staying out at Shuswap Lake. A group of us decided to take advantage of the cooler weather and head out to 4 wineries on Saturday.  Our lovely guests are wine lovers as well and visit wineries themselves. None of us is a newbie drinker, all of us are a bit adventurous when it comes to our wine tastes and all four of us had a pretty disappointing experience…

Saturday, in August, around Shuswap Lake is PRIME TOURIST SEASON, Wine Buddy. This means that if you want to get the most out of your fancy tasting room you built, and all your signage from the highway to your door (sometimes 20km off the beaten path) you should pay someone THAT LIKES PEOPLE to interact with me when I show up!!

Now, I had already been to all of the wineries that I brought my guests to that day. I had already had in-depth conversations with each winery owner time and time again, both at their establishment and at festivals. So, I was not looking for any surprises. I got a surprise though – at one tasting room I actually knew more about one of the wines than the employee did. And when I asked her to elaborate on the process and the story behind the wine, giving her an opportunity to share the anecdote behind its creation, and possibly create a sale, she said there was no story,

“It’s just a name they made up,” she said.

Uhhh… that’s not actually true. But I kept my wine-stained lips shut.

If I drive up to your door, it’s not to buy wine for dinner that night, Mr Grape Squisher. I can buy wine lots and lots of places. I can buy your wine a good number of places. In fact, I can probably even try your wine other places, thanks to Discover Wines and other local stores. If I drive up to your door, especially in a group, it’s to have a local winery experience.

I want a Disneyland feeling when I leave.

Tell me about the winery, the owners, the wine maker. Gauge my interest. Tell me a story about the wine, about your winery dog or donkey. Ask me questions about what I like and if I’ve been before. God, hire someone who smiles at least.

Send me home with a little card that tells me the best thing to serve my bottle with. Have a special deal for visitors. Does your wife always make a borstch to have with that red? Have the recipe card on the counter.

I will buy a wine that I can take home and relate a story to when I serve it. Every time. I am a sucker like that.

One out of four of our visits was worth the drive. That’s it. Once again, the family at Ovino Winery in Tappen was manning their own tasting room and their passion showed through. We had a great time, My daughter was allowed to wander around taking pictures while we sampled, they had wine jellies for sale – made from their grapes – and we heard lots of great stories. He even gave my friend directions on how to fortify wine! We had a ball. That is how it’s done. It’s called customer service, Mr Acidity and Bouquet… we left feeling like we had a mutual exchange. He knew a little about us, enjoyed our visit and looked us in the eye. We knew a little about him, enjoyed our visit and bought a case of wine.

If you spend the money to build a tasting room, Mr Wine in the Hell Bother, spend the money to staff it well. Especially during prime time!

I won’t go back to the other wineries again. There are lots of tasting rooms in BC now. The competition is stiff. You need to bring your A-game.

Sincerely, Ms Wine Would I Buy Your Wine


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. sipsinthecity
    Aug 20, 2015 @ 17:14:10

    ps – this is how a tasting, done right, looks!!



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