rjquillin


quality posts: 173 Private Messages rjquillin

We've had some mixed experiences lately. Thought this may be a good place to collect the good, bad and the ugly that we've encountered.

Likely this already exists.
shoot me.

CT

rjquillin


quality posts: 173 Private Messages rjquillin

x-post from the no-date pub

To buy, or not to buy? That is the question for the more than 5 million annual visitors to New York's wineries. Cornell University researchers found that customer service is the most important factor in boosting tasting room sales, but sensory descriptions of what flavors consumers might detect were a turn-off.

Service is key to winery sales

and from a Finger Lakes study

Controlling for variables that affect sales, such as the day of the week or the weather, the researchers found that sales were lower when tasting rooms provided sensory descriptions that consumers might detect, like "notes of peach or lychee," said Mansfield.

it would seem wooters were not well represented.

CT

rjquillin


quality posts: 173 Private Messages rjquillin
cortot20 wrote:Interesting thought, but when we go tasting I'm usually driving so it's a taste and dump. I do usually chat up the folks manning the tasting bar as it typically gets me a lot more pours of different and off menu wines. It also helps if you take notes it tells them they are dealing with someone who takes a little care in their tasting which can build respect.

All that to say, when I go tasting the people and facilities are second to the wine.
CT

rjquillin


quality posts: 173 Private Messages rjquillin
MarkDaSpark wrote:The wine is certainly the most important thing, however, the people and facilities are very important to sales.

We had a very nice experience at Madrigal last month, except for the end. The wines were very good, the person assisting us opened extra bottles, and tasting off their deck was very beautiful.

However, the tasting fee left a very sour taste at the end. Most wineries I've been to will at least allot a portion (and combining our purchases as well) of purchases towards any tasting fees. I think only those that are in high demand (Chateau Montelena for example) have such high levels for purchases. As good as we enjoyed Madrigal's wines, they're were not at that level. And an extremely sour taste was left for those that didn't purchase their minimum of $100.


Concannon is another example. They have a really nice tasting room. However, last year's experience was so much better than last month's, due to the difference in personnel.

Last year, we had extraordinary service. This year, it was somewhat acceptable. While he did find some bottles for us in the back, it was extremely slow service.

Another group came in while we were tasting, so one would expect split attention and some slowness. What I found unacceptable was that he almost seemed to forget about us.

The really sad part was that they departed without buying anything. If I hadn't wanted the bottles I was going to buy, I would have left as well. And I'm in their wine club (and he knew it!).
CT

cmaldoon


quality posts: 62 Private Messages cmaldoon

So many place in Napa these days have very high tasting costs. Madrigal wasn't awful. The $25/ person ($50 for myself and SWMBO) charge was comped completely with $160 of purchase. I'm ok with tasting fees just as long as they are refundable at a certain reasonable level.

On the other side of things. I feel that many patrons force wineries into this. Many people go for a weekend of "tasting" debauchery; they are uninterested in the wines other than as a means to get sloshed and hit on the cuties pouring for them. When SWMBO and I go, we tend to split 1 tasting. That is typically enough for both of us to get a good taste and we're not looking to get sloshed. I do often get better treatment because the staff recognize that I am a contentious consumer but in Napa this doesn't translate. The only thing that translates at most wineries there is $$$.

2014 - 20 Btl. Fjellene (10 bot), Urraca Chard (10 bot)
Last purchase: 5/3/14

2013 - 75 btl. 2012 - 98 btl. 2011 - 112 btl. 2010 - 30 btl.
My Cellar

klezman


quality posts: 122 Private Messages klezman

Agreed with cmaldoon. If a winery won't refund the tasting fees with any bottle purchase then I am not a happy camper. On the flip side they do need to recoup some losses from those who are just there to drink. I try to convey my interest in wine and seriousness with tasting. The swish & spit usually helps, actually.

2014: 28 bottles. Last wine.woot: Scott Harvey Red Re-Mix
2013: 66 bottles, 2012: 91 bottles, 2011: 92 bottles, 2010: 74 bottles, 2009: 30 bottles, 2008: 3 bottles My CT

MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 181 Private Messages MarkDaSpark
cmaldoon wrote:So many place in Napa these days have very high tasting costs. Madrigal wasn't awful. The $25/ person ($50 for myself and SWMBO) charge was comped completely with $160 of purchase. I'm ok with tasting fees just as long as they are refundable at a certain reasonable level.

On the other side of things. I feel that many patrons force wineries into this. Many people go for a weekend of "tasting" debauchery; they are uninterested in the wines other than as a means to get sloshed and hit on the cuties pouring for them. When SWMBO and I go, we tend to split 1 tasting. That is typically enough for both of us to get a good taste and we're not looking to get sloshed. I do often get better treatment because the staff recognize that I am a contentious consumer but in Napa this doesn't translate. The only thing that translates at most wineries there is $$$.



The main problem to me, is that they knew we were Wooters, knew we weren't there to just drink, knew that we would report back to the Wine.Woot community.

Like you, I have no problem with tasting fees, it's just that Madrigal was ridiculous. Especially with the amount of wine we did buy.

$25 was more than any other place I've gone, and I would never go there again. It's not worth it.


Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

cmaldoon


quality posts: 62 Private Messages cmaldoon
MarkDaSpark wrote:The main problem to me, is that they knew we were Wooters, knew we weren't there to just drink, knew that we would report back to the Wine.Woot community.

Like you, I have no problem with tasting fees, it's just that Madrigal was ridiculous. Especially with the amount of wine we did buy.

$25 was more than any other place I've gone, and I would never go there again. It's not worth it.



I quite agree that it was high. Too high. Most wineries should be able to defray costs with a $10 or less tasting fee. On the other hand, a tasting fee becomes a "discount" if they refund it with purchase and you consider it a sunk cost.

On the other hand, you have to consider the business case... $25 per tasting brings in a lot of revenue throughout the year. Even if they don't sell all the wine they can make decent money and the PN offload the remaining wine on outlets like woot and grocery outlet.

I don't like it but I understand it. Kinda like Ty Caton and his exorbitant prices and tons of discounts.

2014 - 20 Btl. Fjellene (10 bot), Urraca Chard (10 bot)
Last purchase: 5/3/14

2013 - 75 btl. 2012 - 98 btl. 2011 - 112 btl. 2010 - 30 btl.
My Cellar

MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 181 Private Messages MarkDaSpark
cmaldoon wrote:I quite agree that it was high. Too high. Most wineries should be able to defray costs with a $10 or less tasting fee. On the other hand, a tasting fee becomes a "discount" if they refund it with purchase and you consider it a sunk cost.

On the other hand, you have to consider the business case... $25 per tasting brings in a lot of revenue throughout the year. Even if they don't sell all the wine they can make decent money and the PN offload the remaining wine on outlets like woot and grocery outlet.

I don't like it but I understand it. Kinda like Ty Caton and his exorbitant prices and tons of discounts.



Except Ty has won awards. AND applies all of the tasting fee when you buy. And there's no minimum, like at Madrigal.


Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

rjquillin


quality posts: 173 Private Messages rjquillin
MarkDaSpark wrote:Except Ty has won awards. AND applies all of the tasting fee when you buy. And there's no minimum, like at Madrigal.

He's also had some pretty awesome TR closeout discounts too.

CT

noslensj


quality posts: 42 Private Messages noslensj

I've wondered about tasting room profitability. From past discussions I recall that a bottle of wine that costs ~$20 at your local wine store netted the winery less than half that amount; the rest is markup through the distribution channel. And that same economic calculus makes a site line wine.woot an attractive alternative.

But at the tasting room they are usually selling the wine for the same price, or more, than it can be had at a local distributor. So it seems to me there is a pretty fair margin for them to work with.

If that is correct, fully crediting the tasting fee against any purchase shouldn't be a big deal. By all means charge a tasting fee to keep from just giving away wine for free. But they should be trying to turn that tasting into a sale.

cortot20


quality posts: 139 Private Messages cortot20
noslensj wrote:I've wondered about tasting room profitability. From past discussions I recall that a bottle of wine that costs ~$20 at your local wine store netted the winery less than half that amount; the rest is markup through the distribution channel. And that same economic calculus makes a site line wine.woot an attractive alternative.

But at the tasting room they are usually selling the wine for the same price, or more, than it can be had at a local distributor. So it seems to me there is a pretty fair margin for them to work with.

If that is correct, fully crediting the tasting fee against any purchase shouldn't be a big deal. By all means charge a tasting fee to keep from just giving away wine for free. But they should be trying to turn that tasting into a sale.



They make a ton on it. I was in Santa Barbara this weekend. Tasting fees were all in the 10-12 dollar range for 5 1 ounce pours . So your paying the equivalent of $10-12 a glass of wine. Of the 5 places we stopped the average bottle price was probably about $35. If they are getting a full five glasses from an average $35 dollar bottle at $10 a piece then they have just sold that bottle for $50 really.

Since they are not paying any distribution costs on it but just some slightly above minimum wage chatty person they get a huge chunk of that as direct profit.
Of the five places we went on the urban wine trail today here was the break down of comps.
Jaffur- $10 -comp 1 tasting for every two bottles purchased
Municipal winemakers -$12 - no comps
River bench - $10 - 1 tasting comped for every 3 bottles purchased
Blair fox family cellars - $10 - no comps
Grassini - $10 - didn't like the wines didn't even ask.

For the first time I walked away with zero bottles from an afternoon of winetasting.
I think I'll head past SB next time and into Santa ynez next time to avoid the crowds and get some tasting room personnel who are empowered to wheel and deal a little bit.

CT

MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 181 Private Messages MarkDaSpark
cortot20 wrote:They make a ton on it. I was in Santa Barbara this weekend. Tasting fees were all in the 10-12 dollar range for 5 1 ounce pours . So your paying the equivalent of $10-12 a glass of wine. Of the 5 places we stopped the average bottle price was probably about $35. If they are getting a full five glasses from an average $35 dollar bottle at $10 a piece then they have just sold that bottle for $50 really.

Since they are not paying any distribution costs on it but just some slightly above minimum wage chatty person they get a huge chunk of that as direct profit.
Of the five places we went on the urban wine trail today here was the break down of comps.
Jaffur- $10 -comp 1 tasting for every two bottles purchased
Municipal winemakers -$12 - no comps
River bench - $10 - 1 tasting comped for every 3 bottles purchased
Blair fox family cellars - $10 - no comps
Grassini - $10 - didn't like the wines didn't even ask.

For the first time I walked away with zero bottles from an afternoon of winetasting.
I think I'll head past SB next time and into Santa ynez next time to avoid the crowds and get some tasting room personnel who are empowered to wheel and deal a little bit.



Ouch! Jaffurs is usually pretty good vino ... no bites there for you?

And told you to go to Kalyra.


Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

ERMD


quality posts: 1 Private Messages ERMD
cortot20 wrote:They make a ton on it. I was in Santa Barbara this weekend. Tasting fees were all in the 10-12 dollar range for 5 1 ounce pours . So your paying the equivalent of $10-12 a glass of wine. Of the 5 places we stopped the average bottle price was probably about $35. If they are getting a full five glasses from an average $35 dollar bottle at $10 a piece then they have just sold that bottle for $50 really.

Since they are not paying any distribution costs on it but just some slightly above minimum wage chatty person they get a huge chunk of that as direct profit.
Of the five places we went on the urban wine trail today here was the break down of comps.
Jaffur- $10 -comp 1 tasting for every two bottles purchased
Municipal winemakers -$12 - no comps
River bench - $10 - 1 tasting comped for every 3 bottles purchased
Blair fox family cellars - $10 - no comps
Grassini - $10 - didn't like the wines didn't even ask.

For the first time I walked away with zero bottles from an afternoon of winetasting.
I think I'll head past SB next time and into Santa ynez next time to avoid the crowds and get some tasting room personnel who are empowered to wheel and deal a little bit.


Ouch... No jaffurs

losthighwayz


quality posts: 59 Private Messages losthighwayz

Tasting Room experience is everything to me. One bad experience and that winery can be rest assured I will never be back. My rationale is simple: there are dozens, sometimes hundreds, of wineries in any given AVA vying for my business. It is my money (and it is not a chunk of change) being thrown around so the leadt I expect is cordial treatment regardless of the winery's pedigree. I have found that "respected" wineries, whatever that means, tend to have the worst customer service and vice versa which is why I always visit wineries off the beaten path AND why I avoid Napa at all cost (yes, there are a few exceptions but I am not making a trip just for those). Sonoma wineries trump Napa in terms of customer service. I am with Adam on the tadting fee refund. If I buy wine then I expect a courtesy refund. Yes, I said expect because again, I am not only putting down at least $30 for a bottle but the winery should be smart enough to know they are investing in my future business!

"The older I get the better I was"

cortot20


quality posts: 139 Private Messages cortot20
MarkDaSpark wrote:Ouch! Jaffurs is usually pretty good vino ... no bites there for you?

And told you to go to Kalyra.



The wine was excellent I just didn't see enough value to make a purchase. If the comps were one to one I probably would have come home with two bottles.

Based in research and location I had already ruled out Kalyra. Maybe I'll hit it next time I'm up here. I was more interested in the places I had already picked out. Most of which had really nice wines, just the tasting fee non comps and crowds leant to me not buying much. I did buy two bottles at municipal but I had a giftcard to use. I got a 2013 bright white dry Riesling and the 2012 Grenache.

CT

trifecta


quality posts: 72 Private Messages trifecta
losthighwayz wrote:Tasting Room experience is everything to me. One bad experience and that winery can be rest assured I will never be back. My rationale is simple: there are dozens, sometimes hundreds, of wineries in any given AVA vying for my business. It is my money (and it is not a chunk of change) being thrown around so the leadt I expect is cordial treatment regardless of the winery's pedigree. I have found that "respected" wineries, whatever that means, tend to have the worst customer service and vice versa which is why I always visit wineries off the beaten path AND why I avoid Napa at all cost (yes, there are a few exceptions but I am not making a trip just for those). Sonoma wineries trump Napa in terms of customer service. I am with Adam on the tadting fee refund. If I buy wine then I expect a courtesy refund. Yes, I said expect because again, I am not only putting down at least $30 for a bottle but the winery should be smart enough to know they are investing in my future business!



+1 on all counts.

losthighwayz


quality posts: 59 Private Messages losthighwayz
cortot20 wrote:The wine was excellent I just didn't see enough value to make a purchase. If the comps were one to one I probably would have come home with two bottles.

Based in research and location I had already ruled out Kalyra. Maybe I'll hit it next time I'm up here. I was more interested in the places I had already picked out. Most of which had really nice wines, just the tasting fee non comps and crowds leant to me not buying much. I did buy two bottles at municipal but I had a giftcard to use. I got a 2013 bright white dry Riesling and the 2012 Grenache.



Not a fan of Kalyra. My dad used to be a club member and I never had one I enjoyed.

"The older I get the better I was"

tytiger58


quality posts: 74 Private Messages tytiger58
cortot20 wrote:They make a ton on it. I was in Santa Barbara this weekend. Tasting fees were all in the 10-12 dollar range for 5 1 ounce pours . So your paying the equivalent of $10-12 a glass of wine. Of the 5 places we stopped the average bottle price was probably about $35. If they are getting a full five glasses from an average $35 dollar bottle at $10 a piece then they have just sold that bottle for $50 really.



I would have to disagree as to a winery making ton's of money from the tasting room. I would think that $35 dollar bottle costs 20 or 25 to make, probably even more.

And I don't think a business would hire some minimum wage kid to handle the cash register and be the face of their company for 8 or 10 hours a day (not good business.

Out of those 5 different bottles used for tastings I doubt they would drain everyone at the end of each day, so unless they have scuba tanks of AR like Ron behind the counter they are dumping wine at the end of the day. Not a good idea to give customers old opened wine the next day when you want to make a sell.

Plus keep the lights on, dump the trash, wash glasses etc etc. I would be surprised if they break even.

What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch? ~ W. C. Fields

“Freedom is something that dies unless it's used” Hunter S Thompson




cortot20


quality posts: 139 Private Messages cortot20
tytiger58 wrote:I would have to disagree as to a winery making ton's of money from the tasting room. I would think that $35 dollar bottle costs 20 or 25 to make, probably even more.

And I don't think a business would hire some minimum wage kid to handle the cash register and be the face of their company for 8 or 10 hours a day (not good business.

Out of those 5 different bottles used for tastings I doubt they would drain everyone at the end of each day, so unless they have scuba tanks of AR like Ron behind the counter they are dumping wine at the end of the day. Not a good idea to give customers old opened wine the next day when you want to make a sell.

Plus keep the lights on, dump the trash, wash glasses etc etc. I would be surprised if they break even.



My points were based actual observations yesterday. Thanks for your thoughts though.
There is a huge difference between tasting rooms at an actual winery and tasting rooms in urban shopping centers like Santa Barbara. I think your points probably hold more true for more rural areas.

CT

mommadeb1


quality posts: 17 Private Messages mommadeb1
losthighwayz wrote:Tasting Room experience is everything to me. One bad experience and that winery can be rest assured I will never be back. My rationale is simple: there are dozens, sometimes hundreds, of wineries in any given AVA vying for my business. It is my money (and it is not a chunk of change) being thrown around so the leadt I expect is cordial treatment regardless of the winery's pedigree. I have found that "respected" wineries, whatever that means, tend to have the worst customer service and vice versa which is why I always visit wineries off the beaten path AND why I avoid Napa at all cost (yes, there are a few exceptions but I am not making a trip just for those). Sonoma wineries trump Napa in terms of customer service. I am with Adam on the tadting fee refund. If I buy wine then I expect a courtesy refund. Yes, I said expect because again, I am not only putting down at least $30 for a bottle but the winery should be smart enough to know they are investing in my future business!



+1
don't know about which areas to avoid though... I just follow the woot group!

mommadeb1


quality posts: 17 Private Messages mommadeb1
MarkDaSpark wrote:The main problem to me, is that they knew we were Wooters, knew we weren't there to just drink, knew that we would report back to the Wine.Woot community.

Like you, I have no problem with tasting fees, it's just that Madrigal was ridiculous. Especially with the amount of wine we did buy.

$25 was more than any other place I've gone, and I would never go there again. It's not worth it.



I agree!!

rjquillin


quality posts: 173 Private Messages rjquillin
mommadeb1 wrote:+1
don't know about which areas to avoid though... I just follow the woot group!

group errors are still encountered

CT

mommadeb1


quality posts: 17 Private Messages mommadeb1
rjquillin wrote:group errors are still encountered



at least we have fun!!

kylemittskus


quality posts: 230 Private Messages kylemittskus

http://svbwine.blogspot.com/2014/03/eliminating-melon-squeezers.html?spref=tw&m=1

This is a "fun" article.

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

klezman


quality posts: 122 Private Messages klezman

So the article it linked to about the second sale is also critical, I think. If you want me to buy a first time you need to have a wine that I like, that after accounting for the tasting fee is what I feel to be a good/reasonable value. To get a second sale out of me you need to make something that makes me want to come back. Some of that is based on the feeling of the place - am I just dollar signs to you, or do you want to make a repeat customer out of me? Do the tasting room staff have actual wine knowledge or are they just reciting memorized carp? And if you don't waive the tasting fee when I buy a bottle, then you're likely not making a sale. Unless either I absolutely love the wine or it's very well pried.

2014: 28 bottles. Last wine.woot: Scott Harvey Red Re-Mix
2013: 66 bottles, 2012: 91 bottles, 2011: 92 bottles, 2010: 74 bottles, 2009: 30 bottles, 2008: 3 bottles My CT

cortot20


quality posts: 139 Private Messages cortot20
klezman wrote:So the article it linked to about the second sale is also critical, I think. If you want me to buy a first time you need to have a wine that I like, that after accounting for the tasting fee is what I feel to be a good/reasonable value. To get a second sale out of me you need to make something that makes me want to come back. Some of that is based on the feeling of the place - am I just dollar signs to you, or do you want to make a repeat customer out of me? Do the tasting room staff have actual wine knowledge or are they just reciting memorized carp? And if you don't waive the tasting fee when I buy a bottle, then you're likely not making a sale. Unless either I absolutely love the wine or it's very well pried.



The girl who was helping us at riverbench was reading her descriptions of the wines right off of the back label of the bottle. She did try to hide it by putting the bottle down in front of her and then stealing glances down at it. Mid way through her description I would turn the bottle like I was looking at it and it totally jacked her up . It was funny to me.

CT

klezman


quality posts: 122 Private Messages klezman
cortot20 wrote:The girl who was helping us at riverbench was reading her descriptions of the wines right off of the back label of the bottle. She did try to hide it by putting the bottle down in front of her and then stealing glances down at it. Mid way through her description I would turn the bottle like I was looking at it and it totally jacked her up . It was funny to me.



facepalm
or is it: headdesk

2014: 28 bottles. Last wine.woot: Scott Harvey Red Re-Mix
2013: 66 bottles, 2012: 91 bottles, 2011: 92 bottles, 2010: 74 bottles, 2009: 30 bottles, 2008: 3 bottles My CT