The San Diego International Wine Show was held last weekend, April 26 & 27 in Del Mar, California.
I was invited to attend as both a member of the Press and as a presenter. Not quite sure which role was more fun!
This was the third year for the event and this time they did, indeed, go international, with wineries and wines from Spain, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Chile, Argentina and, of course, France. Local representation included Napa, Sonoma, Temecula and San Diego.
For those of you who attended my seminar, "There's No Place Like Rhone!" I say thank you and hope you enjoyed such an abbreviated visit to this truly wonderful part of the wine world. Forty-five minutes goes way to fast.
If you'd like to know more about the Rhone Valley, please visit my Student Resources page where you'll find all kinds of links and information on the wines and food of the region.
I'd also like to thank KK LaFournaise for wrangling me into doing this, Donato Santarsieri, and Live Fit Magazine for their wonderful, live coverage of the event. Check out their YouTube page for a full recap.
So, what should my topics be for next year?
For me, one of the best things I do as a Wine Educator, is to work with Tasting room staff.
Often referred to as “servers” or ”pourers”, these important members of a winery’s front line are so much more.
Yes, one of the main parts of the job is to pour wine samples for visitors and be pleasant and hospitable, but when a team member loves and excels in their position they are part Host/Ambassador/Educator/Entertainer/Phycologist and Salesperson.
Welcoming every person who comes through the door and making them feel at home is common sense. Unfortunately, some establishments go only this far and then drop the ball.
An ‘Ambassador’ can tell you what’s going on in the area; where to eat; who has the best picnic spots; talk about other things to do while you visit their part of the world. Yes, there is apparently more to do out there besides visit wineries!
Wine ‘education’ is so important, and I know I’m biased in this department, but how can you expect your team to sell your product if they don’t know anything about it? The person who takes your order at Starbuck’s is well versed in coffee and your staff should be schooled in the basics of wine so they can be confident to answer any and all questions that come their way.
And with that confidence will come the freedom to ‘entertain’ your guests with stories and humor making each visitor feel special.
The ‘phycologist’ will know just the right questions to ask as well as have the patience to listen to your customers in order to ‘feel out’ their preferences and experience with wine. By doing so, the tasting can be tailored to their needs and your staff can suggest the right products. This makes them better ‘salespeople’ without having to badger customers with endless suggestions that don’t interest or appeal to them. Finding the right service, like a Wine Club membership or free shipping, shows that you listened to the individual needs of your guest.
So next time you’re swirling your sample at the tasting room bar, don’t forget to take a moment and smile at your ‘server’.
Wine lover, educator and writer.