Wine Tastings are Bullshit (lets start wine drinking!)
Wine tastings are bullshit. They take all the fun out of drinking wine. Designed to help introduce wine drinkers to a winery's offering (or whatever selection of offerings) they have combined with typical wine marketing to provide nothing of value to the consumers. They really don't have to be like that though, and once we know the problems we can make wine DRINKING a hell of a lot more fun.
The main problem with wine tastings, is actually how me market and talk about wine. What wineries often do to entice people to drink their wine is not connecting with the the consumers. Wine reviews and critics got the best of the wine industry, and how they talk about wines became how a lot of wineries present their wine. Those notes can be detailed and scientific, or elaborate and poetic, but the end result is the same. They just overwhelm the consumer.
Even worse, the consumers do not just feel overwhelmed by wine tastings, they can often feel stupid. They feel like they are being tested, and that if they cannot actually taste what you are describing then there must be something wrong with them or the wine. If a consumer feels stupid, or thinks there is something wrong then they are not going to buy. Worse still, this is the least accommodating way to welcome novice consumers. How can you expect a return from the consumers if they are put off by the experience of buying?
We are all told that to truly appreciate wine we must understand the nuances of wine tastes. We must become educated on what wine is about, what the different smells, tastes, and textures are. In reality the language used to describe wine is in a constant state of being made up as it goes along. It evolves with the time and is full of buzzwords that winos pick up on, intended to sell more wine. In reality what the wine drinker experiences is totally subjective, whether they know about wine or not.
Still many wineries persist with the very bland, totally rehashed, redone, simple, and unoriginal wine tastings that they have been doing for years. People come in, they try some wine, and some of them buy the wine. Some consumers are excited by wine tastings, but it is usually in the context of trying to do something extraordinary. People are on vacations, or getting away for the day, on a countryside adventure, or just doing something fun. Then we sit them down with something akin to an exam, giving them all too little product to make a truly informed opinion, and way too many options for them to actually buy something. What is it for?
Essentially what wineries are doing is hedging their bets. You might not like one wine, but if they have six wines there is a greater chance you WILL like something on offer. This does not really match the reality of what a product portfolio should be for a business, or what a product offering should be for a consumer. If the goal is to get the buyer to buy as much wine as possible then the goal should be matching wines with the occasion. Hard to do that AT the winery, sure, but not impossible.
Creating a welcoming, pleasant, and enjoyable experience for a consumer is key in any industry, and wine makers should take note. To creating a lasting relationship with the consumer it is best to offer them something unique, something that will endear them to you. For many consumers their first visit to a winery, their first wine tasting is itself endearing, but after that it becomes repetitive and the feelings are lost. Creating an atmosphere where they can really connect with the winery, enjoy themselves, or unwind, connect with someone, or even just have a casual drink, is a much more effective way of getting them to come back.
A glass can do what a sip cannot
At Vynl, our small and private events have been focused on the fact that wine is a personal experience for each person, and in doing so we noticed something really interesting. When somebody is really into a wine, they will drink more of it. Shocking right? All we did was open our events and turn them from wine tasting to wine drinking events, and people could decide for themselves what they liked, what they did not, and were not afraid to help themselves to more of what they loved.
While we cannot say with scientific certainty just yet, this observation has led us to believe that a great experience will endear a wine to the consumer, to a memory they are creating right there, and something they will seek out in the future. It is the beginning of a long term relationship that cannot be possible to create with two or three measly little sips. Nor would you want that memory to slip away as the consumer moves on to wines they may or may not even like. It is a tricky situation, but surely there must be a better way to entice consumers to try more, try often, and enjoy the wine in their own way without having to test them.