Would you like to increase your winery tasting room revenue?   With wine country visits increasing during the fall, now is the time to make the most of sales opportunities and increase your bottom line.  Here are four simple ideas to boost tasting room revenue:

Increase sales to existing customers

This is the easiest way to increase revenue.  The familiar 80/20 rule applies in the tasting room; 80% of wine is purchased by 20% of your customers. Take your customer contact list (that list is GOLD by the way), and look at each customer individually. Determine what wines your best customers purchase on a regular basis.  Then send them an email with a special discount on a half case or case of their favorite wines.

Personalize the email by using customer’s names so it doesn’t look like a mass email.  Make the discount offer time sensitive; e.g., “Order in the next two weeks and receive a 20% discount.”  The text of the email could state, “We need to make room for the 2012 vintage and thought of you since Vignoles is one of your favorites. Order in the next two weeks, and receive a 20% discount on a half case or case.”  This provides the customer with a great incentive to schedule a trip to your winery in the near future.

Increase the number of visitors

Competition is fierce and wineries are springing up right and left.  Are you making it easy for visitors to find your winery?  Is the winery Calendar of Events updated on your website?  Is your website mobile friendly?  Are winery hours listed on the home page? Are winery hours also posted at the winery entrance?  (If it is after hours and the “closed” sign is up, make sure the open hours are visible.)  In addition, does the local Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce have your schedule of events?  Is the schedule of events on the free Calendar of Event listings; state wine association websites, state tourism websites, regional travel publications, Midwest Wine Press, and my favorite,  www.localwineevents.com?

Localwinevents.com is the world’s largest calendar of food and beverage events where consumers can find information about events in their area.  Below is a screen shot of the Local Wine Event’s listing for the upcoming Hermann Holiday Fare Wine Trail event in November.


Generate sales from all visitors

There are winery visitors who will sample a complete list of wines without making a single purchase.  Maybe this is the effect of the economy, but you can’t afford to do business this way any longer.  Winery costs are increasing, not decreasing.  Consequently, more wineries are starting to charge a tasting fee because it makes good business sense.  He is an example:   Consider a winery that gets 1,000 visitors per month and charges $5 to taste. That equals $5,000 per month or $60,000 per year revenue.

Many wineries charge a flat tasting fee and apply the fee towards the purchase of wine or offer a discount on the purchase of a bottle. Train your tasting room staff to politely share the details and benefits of the tasting fee before the tasting begins. Below is an example of a tasting fee coupon from Adam Puchta Winery. With the purchase of a $5 tasting, visitors receive this coupon for a 10% discount on a bottle of wine. Winery owner Tim Puchta says the program is successful, generating income that he normally wouldn’t have in these challenging economic times.



Train your tasting room staff to sell wine

Wine knowledge is important but that is not what really sells wine. Creating perceived value for the customer is what sells wine.  Form a relationship with customers by asking questions and really listening to their answers. Understand customer needs and connect with them emotionally.  How will your wine make their life better? Paint a picture for them, “This is the perfect wine to enjoy with friends on Saturday afternoon after the kid’s soccer game.” Being interested in their lives builds trust and respect.  Sales will increase if tasting room staff are likable and empathetic.  Guests will leave with a bottle or a case of wine and a warm fuzzy feeling about their experience.  Lastly, sign customers up for the winery mailing list so they know about upcoming winery specials and events.

Now is the time to take action. Focus on these ideas and increase tasting room revenue this season. For more marketing ideas for increasing your tasting room revenue please call me at 314-795-9770 or email me at patty@pattyheldconsulting.com.  This story recently appeared in Midwest Wine Press, the online publication for the Midwest wine industry.