The Grapevine

Wine Shop Marketing Tips: You’re Drinking it Wrong, Or How to Help Your Customers Enjoy Wine More

October 8th, 2014

We recently came across an interview with Jeff Siegel in Bottom Line Personal (the August 1, 2014 issue) with some great tips on enjoying wine more. Helping your clients is a great way to increase your engagement with them, increase the pleasure they derive from their purchases, and, with luck, encourage more spending in your shop.[level-members]

Top of Jeff Siegel’s list is temperature control and we couldn’t agree me. Most people serve whites too cold and reds to warm. The whites are less of a problem, since they can warm up in the glass if you’re at all patient. But reds aren’t getting any cooler unless you happen to be drinking and dining in a meat locker.

“Room temperature” is often the guide for red wine, and that’s great, but it really refers to room temperature before modern HVAC technology existed. Red wines typically do best at 64 degrees or so. Most houses are much warmer than that.

Second suggestion is to not drink wine from cheap glassware at home. I admit, I love a rustic red in a jelly jar out on the patio for a fall picnic, but indoors, good glassware is a must. You don’t have to break the bank, either. Riedel and others make great everyday stemware for less than $10 each. Encourage your customers to invest.

Two other suggestions we can run through quickly – store the wine properly (a corollary to serving at the right temperature) and forget sniffing the cork when the waiter presents it. It tells you nothing.

Siegel’s last two suggests are wonderful, both for the wine drinker and the wine retailer: Break out of your rut and forget wine review scores. Experiment as much as you can to develop your own palate. And use reviewer scores only as a guideline. As you develop your own tastes you may find that you frequently agree – or don’t – with a particular reviewer. Use that as a basis for future exploration. And encourage them to ask you about new wines. (And be sure you begin to note what their preferences are so you don’t recommend a fruit bomb to someone who prefers more austere wines.)