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Back To Sonoma And The Dry Creek Valley

My last post was about the powerful human connection that our host at Unti Vineyards, (near Healdsburg, CA), George Unti, created with us and how it resulted in an emotion-driven urge to purchase more wine than we originally thought we might come away with. George established a Relation-Sip with us. I’d now like to share a contrasting experience we had that same day with another winery which shall remain un-named. Here we had what I’d like to call a Relation-Slip.

Attractive, but…I’m Just Not Feeling It

Our next stop on that sunny Easter Sunday was at another breathtakingly picturesque and well-renowned winery. It was early afternoon and by then our group was ready for a nibble. So after the initial “hellos” we asked if there was a charcuterie or cheese platter to enjoy with our tastings. The slightly sarcastic answer: “Not unless you brought some!” set the tone for my experience. To be sure, the wines were very interesting and of good quality and their patio overlooking the vineyard, bathed in warm afternoon California sunshine, was simply spectacular. But this was just tasting, there would be no Relation-Sip here. There was no connection. Though I enjoyed them, I didn’t feel any need or desire to bring home any wines from that winery. It was a little like when you meet someone at a party and you have a nice generic discussion about the weather. Meh.

I later learned that a Prohibition-era law strictly regulates a winery’s ability to sell food so not all of them go through the arduous permitting process to do so, though they do welcome guests to bring along their own picnic or snacks.

Are you looking for a Relation-Sip with your visitors?

Do you own or manage a winery and/or a tasting room? Who have you recruited to serve your customers? Are they the effervescent, chatty types who love to connect with people? Or are they precise,  highly skilled scientific technicians maybe even with some sommelier training? Or maybe they’re the polite yet reserved types who will wait to be approached before interacting with your customers. How are your team members relating to your customers? Are they really connecting with them? Or just going through the motions, awaiting the end of their shift?

Direct-to-Consumer sales can easily be a winery’s greatest profit centre. Yet a surprising number of winemakers aren’t equipping their tasting room teams with the skills they need to make it happen. Your customers all have different personalities (and needs), and if your team members are skilled at reading them, they will have an easier time making that human connection and building that Relation-Sip (and not a Relation-Slip!) which will definitely lead to more sales, guaranteed!

By the way, I train and coach winery staff to help build a tasting room team that is results-oriented, collaborative, productive and well-balanced so they can connect better with any type of customer – and sell more wine!

Drop me a line or leave a comment below and let’s talk more!

Warm cheers!

Rolling hills and glorious vineyards in the Sonoma Valley, California

Gorgeous Italianate patio, with view of the sun-drenched vineyards

A house perched atop a vineyard in Dry Creek Valley