Yes I run wine trail tours around Chicago and yes the quality of the wine that my clients and guests taste is important.
But more important to their overall experience and perception of the tour are several other factors and as we begin our sixth season of hosting wine tours around Chicago, I want to review the inputs that make for a successful day in Wine Country.
> My guests are seldom wine snobs. They want to enjoy wine but in a social setting with their friends and relatives. They can distinguish good wine from bad wine and they have preferences for what they like. But overall they do not know the difference between varietals, technical terms, or complex descriptors of the wines they are tasting.
> The tasting room rep is the most important part of their experience. Even if the winery has great wines, if the tasting room rep lacks personality, is brusque, or gives minimal service, the guests will notice and mention it after leaving. Most importantly, in this day of online reviews, it will come back to haunt your winery at some point and eventually have an impact on your sales.
> Make sure your tasting room staff understand your wines and how they are different than the other wineries we visit on our trail. They should be able to talk about what makes your wines special without knocking the other wineries we will visit. My guests will figure that out which wines they like the best and they will vote with their wallets!
> Your bathroom is an important selling point for my guests. Keep it clean and check it often during the day. I know you are busy but if your bathroom is a messy, what does that say about the sanitation in the cellar and barrel room?
> Keep the tour running on time. The next tasting room manager will get mad at me if I am late or cannot hold to my original schedule. So be in tune with the needs of the tour operator and timings!
That's all for now. I can't wait for the weather to warm up and to take my guests to Wine Country around Chicago!