Recently I visited Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Indiana.  Wow.  This is the first time I have visited a tasting room that did everything right.  It is as if they read all my articles and taken all my VESTA marketing classes.  If you know me, I am very big on great customer service and theirs rocked.

The grounds were spectacular with paths lined with stunning perennial and annual plants, each with a sign denoting the type of plant.  A landscaped outdoor seating area overlooked a pond surrounded by more picnic tables inviting visitors to enjoy a bottle of wine in a beautiful setting.

Oliver Winery Grounds

Oliver Winery – Beautifully Landscaped Grounds


When I finally made it to the entrance, I was greeted by a smiling women with a name tag who invited me to take a free winery tour, taste wine or just meander in the shop.  She mentioned that there was a tasting fee of $5 for 8 tastes.  I didn’t have to wander around and try to figure out what my options were.  The tasting room was very busy so positioning someone at the entrance was very smart.

Oliver Winery Greeter

Oliver Winery – Greeter Monica

Why is a greeter important?  Since it was a Saturday, the tasting room was extremely busy, which is a good thing.  If you don’t have a designated greeter, visitors can come in and get ignored by tasting room staff because they are busy taking care of other guests.  Staff may not mean to ignore guests, but if they are doing their job, serving samples or ringing up sales, they sometimes can’t help it.

Staff can use the 10-4 rule of customer service; 10 feet out make eye contact with the visitor, smile and nod head to acknowledge them, then 4 feet out engage in conversation.  But, on busy days, this rule might be impossible to practice.  That’s why the door greeter is an effective method of customer engagement.

Visitors have many winery options, so if they made it to your front door, make sure you engage them immediately.  Tell them the spiel; what’s going on (music on the deck), tasting options(if you charge a tasting fee, do it in an upbeat positive manner), what time winery tour starts and you will have a better chance of making a sale.

Recently, I was at a local winery, and ran into friends, and asked how their winery visit was.  They said they couldn’t get anyone to wait on them so they left.  It was a busy wine trail event weekend but still, that is not good customer service and that couple will not return to that winery.

Review sites and social media make is very easy for visitors to post a positive or negative review or experience immediately.  Hire a friendly, smiling greeter and position them right at the winery entrance and see your sales and positive online reviews increase.

Contact me to schedule a customer service training session for your staff before the busy fall season.