Product Secrets for Winemakers

Shhh…I can’t help noticing little product secrets hidden everywhere. This post is for anyone who appreciates a good drop.

I’m confident I hold the world record for the Australian who has visited Bruges the most times. My heart was broken when COVID separated me from la plus belle ville du monde. It was my dream to move there and buy a chocolate shop.

Hunter Valley Map

I’ve traded the 16,791km (10,433 miles) journey to the other side of the world for one closer to home. A mere 250km (152 miles) from Sydney you’ll find the Hunter Valley wine region. It might not be the medieval town of your fairy tale dreams, but it boasts some of the world’s best Shiraz and picturesque scenery.

Call me a dreamer, and maybe I am, but I’ve got a new goal. I want to buy a vineyard.

We’ve visted the Hunter a few times during COVID, and our most recent trip was extra fun renting a house with 15 friends for the weekend.

During tastings at two wineries the power of a great sales pitch was obvious. The first winery was Leogate Estate Wines and the second winery I will leave anonymous as I don’t want one poor experience to tarnish an entire business. To illustrate though, here are our two experiences:

Tasting Host 1:

“This here is our 2020 Brokenback Rosé. Great on a hot summer’s day when you’re drinking in the pool. Don’t be afraid to put it in a big glass and fill it with ice. This is the sort of wine where you fill your glass more than you normally would so you don’t have to get out of the pool as often to refill!”

Tasting Host 2:

“This is the Dalliance. Enjoy.”

What made the first host a better salesperson?

  • he established an immediate connection with our group asking where we were from and why we were visiting
  • personality: down to earth, funny
  • passionate about the wines
  • Told a relatable story for each wine

The host at the second winery might have been just as good, but we’ll never know since he could barely crack a smile. Maybe he was hungover? We had to wait for him to come back outside so we could ask what the Dalliance was – it’s a sparkling chardonnay/pinot noir by the way. Checking their website, it says it is fermented in the traditional “Methode Champenoise” which is when they perform a second fermentation in the bottle. Needless to say, I didn’t purchase it.

At Leogate our host used a wine aerator and he even managed to make that entertaining! I don’t recall seeing an aerator near the POS when we made our purchase though. At the second winery they had aerators on the counter and 4 people who bought wine purchased one for $35 each. This is the worst part of the story, our mate who made zero effort benefited from the work of the better host!

Lesson: the guy at Leogate needs to place some products on his counter!


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