Vin Vino Wine in Palo Alto, CA is a well-respected shop catering to a well-educated audience. Read more about how the shop has been so successful for so long. [level-members]
Their big claim to fame is their wine bar, which cycles through just about everything in the shop over time, allowing customers to taste really great wines and, as importantly, to sample wines they might not otherwise try.
The shop isn’t running itself out of business offering all these free pours. Customers pay for the 2.5 ounce samples either individually or in flights.
The shop has small tables scattered about where patrons can engage in serious wine contemplation, or just enjoy a glass or two with friends. Upstairs, there is space for larger groups and private functions. A wall-mounted chalkboard announces the tasting lineup.
Definitely a worthwhile idea, even where space is tight. (Though state regulations vary and this exact approach may not be permissible in your location.)
Even if this is not an approach you can take, it’s worth noting that setting yourself apart from the competition has to be your top marketing priority for maximizing revenue and profit. Selling in a commodity business is a very difficult, very low margin path.