Tasting Room Newsletter December 2012

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  December 3, 2012
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WISE Bites

Silent Selling: It's Louder than You Think

When someone walks into your tasting room, everything they see is a reflection of your brand and what you are selling to your guests. This is called silent selling, and it includes everything from design, merchandising and collateral to signage and other items that encourage guests to make purchases. It's more than pretty displays: It's a subconscious emotional trigger to buy. 
  Tasting Rooms in the Flesh

Wines & Vines and Thomas George Estates host wine student contest winner

On a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon, Sean Tevik, sales manager of Thomas George Estates Winery in Sonoma County's Russian River Valley, hosted Shane Ryan and his girlfriend for a private wine tasting and a picnic lunch.  
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"WISE Bites" continued

Silent selling at its best can transform a shopper into a buyer. It can increase the average dollar amount per sale. Effective silent selling encourages shoppers to buy using basic and accessory items that enhance and extend the use of their purchases through a "story" that sells the concept and product.

How does your tasting room silently sell?

  • Traffic flow. Map your guests' experience from the moment they arrive, through all the steps of their visit until they walk out the door. Ensure every moment is an optimal one.
  • Merchandise selection. Make sure that all items are appropriate for your brand and space. Always be reinforcing the brand story, and buy multiple pieces that tie together in your tasting room.
  • Signage. Signs can help tell/sell your display stories and make it easy for customers to see pricing on key items, get more information, etc. That said, don't overdo it.
  • Ambiance. Keep the five senses in mind when laying out your store. From music to color, the most important thing to consider for each display is what "story" you are telling. Once that is decided, promote up-sells and cross-sells.
By not understanding how the consumer shops, you could fail to maximize the sales per square foot in your shop. Going the extra distance with product displays and merchandising throughout your tasting room can not only impact immediate sales but help you create an identity and ambiance to build a loyal customer base. Remember, your tasting room is the flagship for the entire brand!

Source: WISE Academy,

"Tasting Room in the Flesh" continued

  Sean with guests

Sean (right) shares the sotry of Thomas George Estates Winery with his guests.

The tasting took place in the private library room inside the caves. Most of the beams and furniture have a story to tell and were discovered by Jeremy Baker, the owner of the winery, during shopping trips to recycling and architectural resellers.


The 2009 wines were showing beautifully, and Sean is a master at presenting details.

Wines & Vines presented the picnic, paired with two Pinot Noirs from the estate as well as a rare estate olive oil. The eventful day was a prize for Shane, who placed third in the best wine student competition at the La Soiree event hosted by the French American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco.


Tasting Room manager Adrienne Donnelly shares in the picnic lunch.

Shane put the rest of his aware
a $200 check from Wines & Vinesto good use at the winery. Thanks to Thomas George Estates for hosting the award and for sharing their best wines and hospitality.

Where do I put my purse while tasting?
Counter space is always a challenge, but it becomes worse when you want to store your purse during wine tasting. You need one hand for the wine glass and the other for the tasting sheet-plus, the floor is too risky. I spotted a simple solution at Selby Winery (see photo.)


A truly 'open' tasting room
Welcome to Gracianna Winery where the Amador family makes it easy for visitors to walk from their cars to the tasting room to the adjacent patio. The breezeway provides welcome shade and airflow during the hot summer months.


The tasting room, seen from the south patio, is open and inviting.

Preparing for the CSW exam
The certified specialist in wine (CSW) designation was developed for those who want to further their careers in the wine hospitality industry. Pat Dodd of Gallo said, "We believe the CSW training for our staff is a key factor in our sales success." The Society of Wine Educators offers a comprehensive course of self-study to prepare for the CSW exam, which is designed for the American wine market. Exams are offered at U.S. locations throughout the year. For details call (209) 481-0848 or email.

Vinitech innovations
Vinitech is the European equivalent of North America's Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. The French event has about the same number of exhibitors (600+ booths), but about four times the size and four times the attendance (40,000 industry attendees.) Held in Bordeaux every other year (and in Milan under the name SEMEI during the other years), the event falls at the end of November, when the weather usually blends rain and snow. This year it is cold and semi-sunny
perfect for walking the 1 kilometer-long hall where the non-heavy machinery booths are located. I'll share details and photos in the next eNewsletter. For now I have to go visit Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. Wish me luck!


Please send suggestions to trf@winesandvines.com

Jacques Brix is vice-president and director of sales, west coast for Wines & Vines. This column is based on his personal experiences at winery tasting rooms.

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