The Importance of the Winery Tasting Room by (PB)
The wine tasting venue for wineries is an important marketing tool. The way it is staffed can help or hurt the wineries ability to sell wine.
I am currently in LA visiting grandchildren and took a trip out to Ojai stopping at the Ojai Winery tasting venue. On entering, there were numerous patrons at the bar having a pretty good time. I immediately commenced scanning the wines on display but also scoping out the tasting bar looking for the host/hostess. Eventually the hostess, exhibited a presence conveying a demeanor that my wife and I were some tourists looking for free wine. This of course is admittedly also a presumptuous assessment on my part but being the consumer--MY assessment counts. (smiles)
She tossed a sheet in front of me saying, "Here's the flight, it's $15 which is waived with a two bottle purchase." Fair enough except that the 2 wines I was interested in were not on the predetermined tasting flight. Had I been able to taste the wines I was interested in I more than likely would have purchased them for about $40 each. On a previous trip out to Santa Barbara a couple years ago, I had a great time with the good folks at Jaffurs and Stolpman wineries. The two wines I was interested in were from the grapes of vineyards that these two wineries also used. But they were not on the pre-determined 6 wine flight. So instead, of dropping about $100, given the bad vibe of the place, I walked out.
I have been to tasting rooms throughout Napa, Temecula, Sonoma, and numerous states and countries and rarely encounter the "reception" I perceived on this unfortunate occasion.
So--bottom line--I have not tasted an Ojai wine and am not likely to. I would humbly inform wineries and tasting rooms that the host or hostess plays a grand role in marketing for the winery and you never know who may walk through your door.