We’ve trained our beloved fans to enjoy virtual tastings as they shelter in place. But will they still want these virtual experiences once the pandemic passes? Some probably will, so will you be there for them?
What would it take for your winery to continue to offer virtual tastings? Do you have the staff, technology, and a plan in place?
Our Tasting Room Comes to You
One scenario: Through your website and social media platforms, you offer at-home tasting kits of 4 or 6 bottles of wine. You might offer a couple of different options and price ranges, and a pick-your-own-selection option. When their wine arrives, the buyer can book a virtual tasting with someone from the winery—preferably someone knowledgeable about the wines, comfortable on camera, good with customers, and able to sell more wine when the tasting concludes. Each shipment might include Repour Winesavers*, since you’re asking folks to open all the wines at once.
Ideally, you’d book the tasting a couple weeks after the wine arrives, so it has time to recover from any transportation bottle shock. (There are enough hurdles to overcome in virtual tastings; you want the wine to taste its best. And, let’s just hope none of the bottles are corked.)
Does this scenario sound doable? Are you doing it already? If not, think about adding this to your business model asap.
Building Customer Relationships
A virtual tasting may have its challenges, but consider the benefits. You have the chance for a one-on-one tasting with one or more people interested enough in your wines to buy the tasting kit and book a virtual tasting. This is huge! Think about how many choices every wine buyer has—and they picked you!
Your gracious hospitality can shine through a virtual tasting via Zoom just the same as it does when you host folks in person in your tasting room. Take advantage of this opportunity. Skillfully lead the tasting, listen to what the tasters says about the wine, what questions they ask, and adapt your conversation to fit their needs and make them feel comfortable. This is their tasting, and you’re building a long lasting relationship.
Remember the Goal – Sell More Wine
Remember to talk about how wines can evolve once the cork is pulled. If Repour Winesavers* are included with the tasting kit, be sure to explain how to use them and why they are important to preserve the freshness of the wine. At the end of the tasting, just as in the tasting room, ask if they’d like to order more of any of the wines they tasted. Maybe sell them wines they didn’t get to try now that you better understand their palate preferences.
In a couple weeks, follow up with an email, text, or call. See if they have any questions about the wines, and ask again if they want to order more wine. These high-touch efforts build solid relationships that can last decades.
What Do We Charge?
Should you charge for the virtual tasting? Or offer any price incentives for the tasting kits, or if they order more wine during the virtual tasting?
Those questions can only be answered by you reflecting on your business model, your competition, and what you want to do long term. Virtual tasting may be around for a long time, so how you set up your initial pricing structure might be tough to change in the future.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to explore or reexamine your virtual tasting room. It might be awhile before volumes of wine buyers return to the brick and mortar version.
*Maximum Value Marketing has no affiliation with Repour Winesavers. We just find their product useful if you don’t own a Coravin, or another type of wine preserver.