Ginger G: Have working in a winery and now owning a wine touring company…they must charge for the overhead…not everyone buys the wine…but tastings should be reasonable between the $5-$10 range pp. Most wineries here in Temecula give 5-6 tastings which equals to a full glass of wine.
Rebecca S: I think that most wineries around the Yamhill Valley are charging now and most between $5-$10. The key is, as Ginger puts it, that you have to cover costs if a sale isn’t made. Most people will refund the tasting fee with a purchase, except for special events where a lot of food is served or other things like live music have to be paid for. Keeping a tasting room open is VERY expensive. I think that a lot of consumers don’t have any idea how expensive a proposition making wine or running a winery, or even a retail wine shop is for that matter.
As someone who has done it in many different fashions… One way to put it into perspective is to realize that for every bottle you open, you have to sell at least 3 to pay for the bottle you opened and the person pouring it. And you still haven’t “made” a penny! That is just a sort of average idea of it. It doesn’t necessarily apply across the board. For very small producers it can actually be worse.
I had a wine bar that did tastings. It was a $5 tasting fee and we usually had about 10 different wines open. At one point I would get the same locals coming in night after night and all they ever wanted to do was a “tasting”. They never bought a bottle… just sat there drinking and eating the freebies at the bar. I finally had to stop doing it because I was losing a ton of money…
And from your wine 101er that can’t help it as it’s my blog:
Eve: Knowing many of you, on both ends of this discussion, I offer up my humble opinions.
Some consumers do take advantage of the deals being offered. A “tasting” may be expected to be guaranteed by a taster that may not be familiar enough with a varietal to know if it fits their tastes or not. That’s why they call it a tasting people! You are paying for a taste; not any more than that. Learn a little, be open-minded, or just order what you always do by the full glass or bottle and skip the tasting flights.
You know the free food samples offered at the end of the aisles at Costco? Do you teach your children that one sample is enough? Did your parents teach you that? Then why would you frequent a Happy Hour for a full meal for yourself, or gasp if this didn’t happen to me, with your underage child? Think about what you are teaching here. If food is offered at a tasting; one time through is enough. If you want more, order and pay for it.
Wine bars, wineries, on the other hand, need to throw that sucker out! You are only one step away from owning a regular bar when you own a wine bar. Bartenders have to do it and so will you. I recall being acosted, in the restroom, at a private event. When it threw me off my game, which is hard to do, I decided to leave but not before I reported it to the person in charge. Lo and behold I came to find out that this wasn’t the person’s first offense. And that by “offending” me they were only proving that they were indeed, causing a true loss in business.
Customers must communicate what they expect (and behave properly) before they order wine…and proprietors need only listen (and behave accordingly)…