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Compiled by Rob Arnold - RCA CONSULTING

Developing your Cellar Door experience to a world class standard




Create Certainty Around Your Offering


  • The tasting experiences you offer as part of your cellar door experience should ultimately be as well known as the name of your brand. 

  • Potential customers should be aware of this through your website, social media and any other platforms you make use of. Your tasting experiences essentially form your product and customers need to be excited about experiencing your product.

  • Your staff should also be completely informed on what each experience entails as well as to what extent they can be manipulated. 

  • Upon arrival at your cellar door - these options should be immediately available to customers without a staff member having to explain them. 

  • Think of them almost as a sub-brand.

  • Try and provide an incentive behind purchasing wine in terms of a reduced or nullified tasting cost and make this clear to customers at the outset. 





Bookings or No Bookings?


  • If you provide seated tasting experiences it is suggested that one do take bookings to avoid any disappointment.

  • The formality of a booking also adds to the anticipation of the experience itself.

  • The booking process itself needs to be seamless.

  • If you provide a contact number & email address on your website, they need to answered and replied to as a matter of urgency.

  • Nothing screams unprofessional like a ringing phone.

  • Staff taking bookings need to be well trained in telephone manner and the booking procedure. It's not rocket science, just discipline to set the desired expectations. 







  • Customers in general do not pick up on 'subtle' or understated signage. This is because our lives are filled with too much signage and clutter in general.

  • Remember that signage is predominantly for first time customers who have absolutely no idea how to navigate around your property.

  • The lesson here is to make signage alarmingly obvious without diverting from the core feeling of your brand.

  • As a customer, one of the most disconcerting aspects of any new experience is not knowing where to proceed. 

  • It is important that your staff are also constantly encouraged to look out for those customers who have lost their way. 



The Orientation & Vigilance 


  • In the hospitality industry, we as customers unfortunately do judge the book by the cover. The impression that your staff make during their first bit of communication with your customers sets the the tone as well the customers mindset for the balance of their stay. 

  • The orientation of your tasting options and overall experience is the most critical towards increasing sales. The number of occasions where a customer has not tasted a wine (which they would have purchased had they tasted it) as a result of an inadequate orientation would shock many bosses. 

  • A professional orientation of the tasting experience does not have to be long and drawn out but must give the customer a consumate understanding of what the possibilities include. 

  • The somewhat scary reality is that one can change a customer's state of mind almost instantaneously through positive and alert recognition. Vigilance in this regard is key. 

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Making it Interactive - Knowledge


  • One of the most important indicators of a top cellar door experience is the degree to which staff encourage interaction from customers. The process of tasting is more often remembered when it has involved the sharing of insights and opinions on the wine themselves with the tasting host. 

  • Staff need to be trained on how to achieve the desired level of interaction with as many customers as possible. 

  • An interactive approach also enables the tasting host to more quickly learn about the customer and adapt the tasting according to their knowledge and preferences. 

  • It is also critical that your team are supremely versed on the brand story and various wines. 

  • The true professional can adapt their knowledge delivery to suit the type of customer at hand. 





Measuring the Experience


  • To maintain the emphasis on exceeding customer expectation and general standards, it is important that an objective measurement of the experience (from the customers perspective) is carried out on a regular basis. The metric which customers use to evaluate the experience must be in line with what the ultimate customer experience would look like in each respective context.

  • Finally, all tasting room staff must be presented with this feedback. Those who have excelled must be recognised and those which have not need to be assisted on where improvement oppotunities exist.



  • Compiled by Rob Arnold 

RCA operates as a training provider and consultancy to best-in-class hospitality and retail brands. For more information please visit

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