We often get asked if we have a tasting room or plan on having one. In fact at the last event we did one woman reacted like we’d lost a loved one when we said: “no”. “Oh, well maybe some day you will, just hang in there” she said.
I have really mixed feelings about the tasting room idea. Well mixed in that I’m 5% for it and 95% against it. It would be nice to have the additional sales outlet and it would probably let us grow sales faster. It would also be nice to have a place to meet friends and host events that wasn’t restricted to the space in our backyard. It would also be great to have a venue where we could feature the art of some of our friends.
The 95%? Well I got this as the lead paragraph in an email this morning from a local winery, I changed some of the names to ‘Blah’ to protect the guilty:
“Why not start the holiday weekend early with us today during our “Time for Wine” Blah Series?! We have “The Chris Blah Band” playing today and “Carlos Blah Music Trio” will be playing on Sunday for “Groovin’ in the Blah.” Don’t forget about scheduling a VIP tour and tasting or playing a game of bocce ball!”
One word, as an after thought about wine. It’s not even directly about wine, it’s about scheduling a VIP tour. That just isn’t our gig. We didn’t start making wine to play bocce ball and groove in the blah. We make wine to make great wine and share it with friends.
That’s a great risk of a tasting room. The venue and the sales from it start to drive what the winery does and the wine you make. The tasting room manager is sure to come to you and say things like: “An $11 Chardonnay would be great, and why don’t we get some of that Almond Champagne.” If someone told me I needed to make an $11 Chardonnay and Almond Champagne I’d kick them in the shin, not go along with the idea.
“Let’s host bridezilla” comes next and then you find yourself avoiding your own facility because you hate everyone hanging out there. So don’t shed a tear when we say “no we don’t have a tasting room”. There’s a reason we don’t. We like our customers, we consider them friends, and we want to keep it that way.