Fundamentals Notebook: Food Strategies to Boost an Excellent Customer Experience

In the upcoming July/August issue of Vintner, we explore what wineries are doing with food to boost customer experience. Offering a selection of food and being strategic about it in a tasting room setting can be paramount for a customer in a tasting experience. Not all responses could make it into the magazine, so we will share some insights online as well. 

The J Wilkes tasting room in Santa Barbara, California offers a variety of tasting boards to pair with its wine, including assorted cheeses, charcuterie, and Mediterranean, with a vegetarian option in the works. Olives and warm bread are another option that has been offered as well as a variety of sandwiches, and even wine and chocolate pairings are available.

The menus at the winery have wine pairing recommendations for customers. The food is on full display to customers as they enter the tasting room. The prep kitchen is just off the bar so guests are able to see any food that comes out.

Menus have color photos, and the TV menu in the tasting room has photos on it as well.

Staff are trained and knowledgeable about pairings.

“Not only do they study and sample the pairings, we have Brand Ambassador Wes Hagen to help with education and answer any questions they may have,” said Jerry Ferraro, Direct-to-Consumer Sales and Marketing Director at J Wilkes.

Staff have a series of questions they ask the guests.

“When we mention a pairing, we do so with the energy and knowledge to entice guests,” Ferraro said.

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