Dear Tasting Room Server,

Absolutely nothing can happen at your winery without you. You are the face that greets every guest as they enter your doors and you are the memory they take with them when they leave. Everyone depends on you and you never disappoint! Guests thrive on your knowledge, soak in your recommendations, and are inspired by your friendly and enthusiastic banter during their visit. Management depends on you to share the winery’s story, inviting guests to not only hear the tale but to be a part of it. You are not just selling wine, you are selling an experience and making it so wonderful that your guests keep coming back time and time again.

Being the professional you are, you are always seeking out ways to elevate the tasting experience. Turning a regular wine tasting into a memorable event takes a certain attention to detail and commitment to master all the elements of the tasting room. When your guests arrive they should feel like they have been welcomed into your home and you are not only their server, but their expert guide who will happily help them discover the wonders of the winery and the amazing wines you represent. In order to be a successful tasting room server and be at the top of your game, make sure you are doing the following:

1. Know your wines! Working in the wine industry is an amazing adventure and from the moment you enter a tasting room you begin to discover that you will NEVER know everything there is to know about wines. BUT, you should always be trying! Start with becoming an expert on the wines you serve, and then expand on that knowledge by visiting other local wineries and learn about the varietals they serve and what is popular with their visitors. Pick the brain of industry experts and seasoned veterans that you come across. From the server that has been in the industry for decades to the wine maker who pours his soul into every wine produced, learn from them!

2. Know your winery’s operating systems. Nothing will sour a tasting experience more than a server who stumbles with assisting a guest or wine club member with a purchase. Take the time to know your Point of Sale system so you can not only complete a simple transaction, but also add discounts, process exchanges, register for events, review wine club status, assist a member with a pick-up and review past orders. Being an expert on the POS not only elevates the guests’ experience, but reduces your stress and frees your time so you can focus on more important tasks, like selling more wine!

3. Take your time! A bustling tasting room can be overwhelming, we get it, but rushing through a transaction only leads to more time consuming problems. When it gets a little stressful, take a deep breath, put a smile on your face and resume the task at hand. If it is going to take an extra minute or two, communicate with your guests that there will be a short delay. Most of the time your guests will be understanding and appreciate you letting them know. Taking the extra minute to make sure you are processing a transaction correctly, or answering a question as detailed as possible will save you much more time in the long run. Do it right the first time so you don’t spend double the time fixing it later!

4. Communicate. Seriously, talk to everyone. Make sure your co-workers are in the loop of what you’re doing especially if it will take you away from your post or require them to step in for additional assistance. Talk to your guests and remember that in hospitality there is rarely an instance of too much information. Even if you are super busy with another guest, a quick second making eye contact and letting someone know you will be with them as soon as possible buys you that extra minute you need. It also lets all your guests know that you are aware of them and are working hard to make sure everyone is taken care of.

5. Enjoy what you do. Being a tasting room server is one of the best jobs in wine country. You have the opportunity to meet amazing people from all over the world. You get to share your passion and love for wine with guests that are eager to listen and learn. You are in a thriving and growing industry that offers so many opportunities to its members. Take all these fabulous things and enjoy the awesome position you are in and let that joy come across to your guests. Enjoy the tasting experience with each guest as if it were your first time as well. Make connections with members so that you can genuinely welcome them back during every visit. Let your enthusiasm and energy pour from you and your sales and customer service ratings will soar!