Are you letting your customers “behind the velvet rope”?

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Do this…and create fierce brand ambassadors. Seriously.

Because….winemakers are like rockstars.

To your consumers. Absolutely. I’ve witnessed this many, many, many times.

Mysterious, impressive, romantic.

For people IN the wine business, I think it can be easy to forget how exciting, mysterious, interesting and romantic winemaking is to so many consumers. Just visiting a winery is an occasion, a celebration, a unique opportunity to so many consumers and they not only want to taste wine, they want to become a part of your winery’s unique story and family.

Quick story: Back when I was in my first wine job, as the consumer sales specialist for an impressive producing winery, I did a lot of private tastings for new and returning customers. One day, early on in my facilitating these experiences, 4 guests and I were sitting in the dining room of the winery and going through tasting the current release wines when the door opened and our winemaker walked through on his way to the kitchen.

Our conversation proceeded like this:

Me: “That was our winemaker there.”

Guests (with an awed voice): “Oh my gosh, really? How cool!”

Me: “Yes. Would you like to meet him? I can go see if he has a minute.”

Guests (with excited voices): “That would be amazing!”

Behind the “Velvet Rope”

So, I went into the kitchen and told him that I had some new visitors, big fans, sitting in the dining room and could he come out and say hi? He said yes, he’d be glad to.

I swear to you that these guests were so sincerely excited to get to meet him…it wasn’t exactly as if they had met a Beatle but they were pretty delighted. However, when our winemaker asked them if they would like to take a peek into the lab and see what he was working on? Well, I have to tell you, the surprise and delight and excitement was just quite wonderful to witness. Once we were finished in the lab (maybe 20 minutes, total) we continued the tasting back in the dining room and the enthusiasm generated by what just happened was palatable.

Oh, and the sales? Incredible. Wine club sign-ups? Both couples said Hell & Yes.

Brand Ambassadors don’t share discounts…they share EXPERIENCES

Also, how many people do you think they shared this story with? As they opened the bottle of special wine they purchased that day or when they received their first wine club shipment and recalled how they became members of this particular winery, the story would naturally be told.

All of this can be pretty powerful stuff.

Now, I know that it is not always possible for the winemaker to be in the tasting room or participate in private tasting experiences and that’s not really the point of this post. The point I want you take with you and practice is to allow your customers a “step behind the velvet rope” (so to speak). For a customer to be allowed to be a part of your story, whether its through a quick tour during a tasting room visit to see some barrels, a taste of a special wine that’s not on the daily flight and sharing that wine’s particular story, meeting the winemaker or assistant winemaker if they are available, being invited to an exclusive preview of a new wine….these things can be the tipping point that turns an interested enthusiast into a brand ambassador.

 Many “tipping point” opportunities

There are many ways to give customers a look behind the curtain or step behind the velvet rope including cool, storytelling wine club materials, members only access to certain information and wine, surprise & delight loyalty rewards, events and SO much more.

Take action today. Do something to surprise and delight your customers and show them an “inside look” into YOUR romantic, exciting world of winemaking.


If you’re already doing something awesome to give your customers an inside look, share in the comments, please. Sharing creates synergy….and more Rockstar opportunities!

Weekly Wine Feature

What’s In My Glass?


 Not Your Mama’s Chardonnay, Y’All…..

No, Sir. This is NOT your Mother’s chardonnay…..I have a full post featured on the blog HERE about this topic of chardonnay and several excellent chard recommendations but the Soter North Valley Chardonnay is my #1 recommendation for Chardonnay you should put in your glass this weekend. The Soter team makes beautiful wines. I pretty much love everything they make. Their bubbles…OH MY! {I’m staring at a bottle of Soter Vineyards Sparkling Rosé bubbles, through the tinted glass of my wine refrigerator (which lives in my office), right NOW. I must resist temptation….anyway, I digress.} The wines are fantastic. However, the Soter team can still pull a few surprises out of their wheelhouse. I had no idea they were making a chardonnay but I’m super glad they did! The 2011 debut Chardonnay is absolutely delicious. Notes from winemaker, James Cahill: “exotic aromas of lime zest, fresh tropical fruits and honey dominate with subtle notes of toast & vanilla just under the surface. On the palate, citrus and fresh apple linger with a wisp of toast and honey.” YESSSSSSSS. How can you say no? Learn more and order some of that yumminess HERE. At $30 per bottle, it’s a great value for an elegant and tasty wine.

Food Pairing: This wine is so sippable, that you can easily see the bottle disappear sans food. However, I recommend a lovely Parisian tarte of shallots, proscuitto and gruyere cheese or some of the best crusty french bread you can round up at your local bakery, some French butter and a sprinkling of Maldon salt….mmmmm. Some oysters wouldn’t be bad either but start with the bubbles and oysters and then move on to the suggestions above.

Why wait for the weekend? It IS Wine Wednesday, after all? Cheers!

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