In our WISE Academy Tasting Room Professional class, one of the exercises we do is to have attendees list all the roles they play in their tasting room jobs besides server/host. The ones we hear most frequently are educator, storyteller and concierge, followed by bouncer, therapist, babysitter and dishwasher. What we usually don’t hear is team member. This is a critical role that we play every day, and yet we don’t give it much thought. It’s what we each bring to the job—the “I” we bring to work and how we get along with our coworkers—that can make the difference between a joyous job experience versus something to be dreaded. And our guests can tell the difference between an atmosphere where everyone happily works together and one where there is tension.
Consider this story we heard recently from a graduate:
I was going through a review with a staff member and had worked really hard to try to get the right points across. This staff member was awesome with the guests. They would just melt like butter in his hands, and because of his gifts of wowing the guests he was also an awesome salesperson.
The downside of this staff member is that he was very condescending to his coworkers and treated them with disdain. So much so that he was actually isolating himself from most of them.
We spent time talking about how the guests loved him and how he was one of the top performers, and then I drew the conversation to the complaints I had received from his coworkers and how they wished to avoid him. I wasn’t sure how he was going to respond. I half expected him to say that they didn’t accomplish the work that he did etc.…
I presented the concerns to him and asked if he could think of ways to turn the situation around. As we talked he came up with the answer: “I need to start treating my coworkers the same as I treat our guests.” He got the message. He worked it out and actually became a very well-liked member of our staff.
Often times we are so fired up and busy taking care of guests that we can be short and snap at our coworkers, really not meaning to be rude, but just trying to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Or it could be that we are in a backstage area and it doesn’t seem that we need to keep our front stage makeup on. Whatever the case may be, remember the WISE Platinum Rule: Treat others as they would like to be treated. Great manners count with both our guests and our team.
While visiting California's Central Coast for the WiVi conference held March 15-16, I took the time to visit several wineries in the cities of Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo (the home of Cal Poly, which has a great program for wine education). Thanks to the latest El Niño rains, the entire region was green, and the vines were already going through bud break. Read more.
Does your association properly represent all the wineries in your wine region? The Paso Robles Wine Country association has a great online map. Shouldn’t you?
Saucelito Canyon Vineyard has been growing Zinfandel grapes since 1880! The tasting room is gracefully managed by Correne Weaver, a true smiling and engaging hospitality professional who makes you feel comfortable and offers just the right amount of information to keep you coming back. The patio is shaded and inviting, and I had a great visit. Thank you, Correne.
For nearly 40 years, Hope Family Wines has provided several brands from the Paso Robles area. The tasting room bar was made out of recycled shutters—a great idea and designer touch.
Zenaida Cellars had another well-designed tasting room—the front of the counter was covered with photos and blown-up wine labels simply framed.
So how do we become great team players? It starts with each and every one of us every day. Here are some tips for being a great team player that show we know there is an “I” in team:
- Share your knowledge, skills and expertise.
- Support the team’s objectives and participate fully.
- Meet your commitments.
- Support other team members and ask for help when you need it.
- Communicate openly, respectfully and honestly.
- Recognize, respect and seek out diversity.
- Approach conflict constructively and be flexible. Participate actively in decision-making and problem solving, and support the team decision.
- Most importantly, assess your own performance as a team member.
Our guests will get the message that you are a gifted team who genuinely has the utmost respect for each other, and they will want to stay and be a part of that. So bring your very best “I” to your job every day!
Source: WISE Academy,
Wine Industry Metrics
The February 2016 indices for direct-to-consumer shipments and winery jobs were both up in the double-digit ranges. Learn More. It’s a great sign for tasting rooms.
Wines & Vines’ Winery Database
To stay up to date about our most recent winery counts in the United States, make sure to check this page regularly.
Millennials, Baby Boomers
and Wine Consumption
The Wine Market Council recently published its findings about U.S. wine consumption by generation, and millennials have now passed baby boomers. Read more here.
On the Other Hand…
Rob McMillan of Silicon Valley Bank penned his own essay about marketing wine to baby boomers and millennials that is humorous yet realistic. Read it here.
Email Marketing: Does It Work?
Carl Giavanti and Patty Ross co-authored an article about the value of emails in wine promotion. Learn more.
News From Idaho
The Idaho wine industry is doing very well indeed, and the addition of a new AVA will keep the momentum going. This article by Sean Ellis takes a look at the industry’s future.
Meanwhile in California…
In collaboration with Southern Wine & Spirits, Sonoma State University announced the availability of scholarships for students of the Wine Institute. Read more here. The school is also offering a course about state compliance for direct shipping April 8 from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
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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 and events.