Education for a Successful Tasting Room Staff

Being able to connect with a consumer on a deeper level can mean having your tasting room staff be able to show they have a knowledgeable base on your products and wine in general.
​Joey Dahlin, the general manager at Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room & Osteria in Old Town Cottonwood, Arizona, pointed out that having basic wine knowledge is helpful, but whether ​someone is a ​Sommelier or knows nothing about wine, ​they train ​an employee the same way so ​they can know everything about ​Merkin’s wine.
​”Our story is a part of our mission statement,” Dahlin said. “I also hand out information about our winemaker and our vineyards, which has the type of varietal grown there and the year planted.”
Tech sheets about each of Merkin’s wines are also on hand and printed out for staff to learn from and share with consumers.
These tech sheets have what varietal is in the wine, where it was grown, the elevation and soil of the vineyard along with the process of making the wine, the alcohol percentage, and the tasting notes of the wine.
“Our staff also has access to tour the vineyards and winemaking facility to get a good sense of where it all started, so they can pass that story onto the guests,” Dahlin pointed out.
All of ​the winery’s tasting room servers have table service experience​ as well​.
​”​Because we’re a restaurant and tasting room, having table service experience is very important to accomplish the goals of the job​,” Dahlin said.​

Photos courtesy Merkin Vineyards

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