The Grapevine

Helping Your Wine Shop Clients Overcome Fear of Commitment

December 22nd, 2015

I may not be a huge fan of Wine Spectator, but I do love nearly everything Matt Kramer writes. He hits the nail on the head again with this article on our changing attitudes toward wine. Here’s what it means for your wine shop. [level-members]

In a nutshell, the incredible array of choices available to us as wine drinkers has ruined wine for us.

That’s overstating the case, of course, but it does create a sort of modern detachment that encourages us to play the field, so to speak. Like the proverbial young philanderer, we can’t commit to a wine because there are so many other wines to choose from.

That can be a tough nut to crack as a wine shop owner. On the one hand, you don’t want to stifle your clients – in fact, you want to help them avoid falling into the rut of drinking the same old wine, week after week.

On the other hand, you don’t want to paralyze them, either. As great as it sounds to have endless choice, at some point, that choice paralyzes us. Worse, it frequently makes us less satisfied with the choice we do finally make. There’s always that lingering doubt: could we have done better?

That means editing your shop selections pretty ruthlessly. There’s no need to have 50 different bottles of Chianti at roughly the same price. One or two will do, with the same number of selections in 4 or 5 price ranges.

The idea is that you become the guide – or “curator” if you’re audience includes lots of hipsters. (They seem to LOVE that word, for some reason.) – and you make the tough choices for your clients.

Leave them with the easy choices and they’ll return again and again.

Here’s the Matt Kramer column that brought this to mind. He covers more ground you may find interesting.