Tasting Room 101

I created this site, as a proof of concept after reading a discussion on the Virginia Wine Industry page on Facebook. It was a discussion on how knowledgeable tasting room staff should be. Apparently, an employee at a tasting room, was overheard telling a customer that Norton was the Virginia State grape. I envision this site, along with it's sister page, www.winefestivals101.com, to be a useful source of information for tasting room managers, and their staff. If allowed to evolve, I would love to see some you-tube videos, links to great reference material, and templates of inforation sheets that could be filled out by the winery, for use by their trasting room staff, for training and reference.

This site was created to try to help wineries run a successful Tasting Room.

Below is a list of items that we will be discussing:


Getting There

Curb Appeal



The Tasting

The Notebook

While it is obvious that the tasting room staff is not expected to remember all the details of the winery, wines or area, they should have a ready reference guide to be able to look up the information quickly and easily. By having a standard reference, it will help that all staff relays the same information to the customers. This notebook should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. A good idea would be to review it the first of every month, for any recent additions, changes or deletions. Those changes should also be conveyed to the staff.

  • Reference Notebook
    A winery/event notebook should contain, at a minimum:
    Nice additions are:
    An example Table of contents can be found

    The Tasting Sheet

    It's just a glass, or is it?

    Opening A bottle

    Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? This should be done with confidence and style. It should dot look like the pourer is wrestling a pig.



    Wine Club

    Online Sales



    Certifications In WIne

    The following information was copied from http://vawineindustry.blogspot.com/2017/08/certifications-in-wine.html on 8/23/2017.

    August 23, 2017
    One of the great things about the industry we are involved in is that we get to expand our knowledge base about a subject that we are all passionate about, wine. No doubt, the longer you are in the industry, the more about the topic you will learn. Some of us are also looking to find a way to advance our careers while continuing on our journey of wine discovery. Professional certifications are seen as a way to fill both of these desires at the same time.

    In the world of wine, there are three certification bodies that are deemed at the top of the field and the most respected:

    The Society of Wine Educators (SWE), The Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS). Each offers multiple levels of certification but the question is, which one is right for me? Each organization is geared towards a different segment of the market and each has a different methodology of presenting the material to be mastered in order to achieve a specific certification. Let's take a look at each one.

    The Society of Wine Educators (www.societyofwineeducators.org) is an organization based out of Washington D.C. and offers five different certifications: Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator, Certified Specialist of Spirits, Certified Spirits Educator, and Hospitality/Beverage Specialist. As one might expect from the name, these certifications are geared toward those people that are in a role where educating their audience is their primary goal. These include those folks working in tasting rooms and retail shops as well as those on the distribution side of things. Study guides are available from the SWE for all of their exams but the learning of the material is entirely self paced. You must be dedicated enough to put in the time yourself to be prepared to pass the exam(s). The exams are offered at locations around the country through out the year. They also put on an annual conference where Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and leaders of the wine industry present wines and topics relevant to today's wine professional.

    The Wine and Spirits Education Trust (www.wsetglobal.com) is located in London, England and is a globally recognized wine and spirits certification organization. Their offerings range from the home enthusiast up through the highest levels of wine and spirits education. While providing an excellent grounding in wine, these certifications are geared for those in retail operations, distribution and import/export aspects of wine. Offered as discrete courses, their Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 certifications include classroom education as well as book study. An individual can jump in at any level that fits their comfort or knowledge level. Their level 4 or Diploma of Fine Wine is a two year course of study that incorporates six separate modules. It is also generally regarded as the preparatory track for the prestigious Master of Wine certification.

    The Court of Master Sommeliers (www.mastersommeliers.org) is also originally from the United Kingdom but now has offices in North America as well. It is focused on beverage knowledge and service in the hotel and restaurant industries. There are four levels of certification culminating in the Master Sommelier exam. All of their certifications include class work as well as self study. The courses and exams are offered in select cities at various times through out the year. One must start at the beginning level and work through in order and cannot call themselves a Certified Sommelier until they have successfully completed the Certified Sommelier or second level examination.