Simon's Blog: The Tasting Room - Giving Your Wine a Bad Name
January 4th, 2013
I usually spend 40 to 60 hours a week working in the wine business. When I’m not, and I’m on vacation, I often take the time to relax while…touring wine regions! The truth is, it’s a real passion, and I feel like visiting on my own time is just the best way possible to travel, as you meet pretty cool people, and just seize any fun opportunities available, while still having a goal of tasting and getting a hold of the region.
Two weeks ago, I went to Prince Edward County to witness how it has progressed since my last visit two years ago. It’s a really short drive from Montreal, about four hours west, and it’s pretty quiet at this time of the year. The weather was great and people were really welcoming, as they had time to chat about what they are doing.
While simply touring without schedule, I generally don’t mention that I work in the wine business, as I feel it could be a little presumptuous. I also want to enjoy the authentic experience anybody walking in can expect to have.
When touring a remote subregion of PEC, I happened to visit a winery I had heard good things about. On the door, there was a note that read something like, “Welcome! If we’re not in the tasting room at the moment, please ring next door and we’ll be there shortly.” Someone was inside, and the door was unlocked. The owner was there, with an annoyed look on her face. She told us how busy she was and made us feel like we were not welcome. She served us a wine with no label, mentioned she didn’t even know which cuvée it was, then told us how inappropriate it was to come in, taste and then not buy wine. I mean, it's quite hard to make a choice among the different bottlings when you don't even know what you've been tasting...
This kind of experience usually happens to me once or twice per region, and it comes as a really deep disappointment. Nowadays, making good wine, especially in an emerging wine region, is not enough. You need to create a buzz about it; you need sleek and intelligent marketing and communications around your products. And the first and most direct contact you’ll have with your clients is at the winery’s tasting room, where people come to live an exciting experience. Clients become incredible brand ambassadors, as they build memories around your wine and their experience. They trade their time for good moments, and I feel like you should treat them with regards, as wine is all about sharing.
Simon Gaudreault is a sommelier in Montreal and the co-author of a book on Canadian wines: "Vins et vignobles du Canada: Coups de coeur pour des vins d'ici."Comments