Wine and Customer Service

You may recall that I posted one of my folksy reviews of a favorite wine, Latah Creek's Maywine
some while back.

Saturday, I had the thrilling opportunity to visit Latah Creek Winery's tasting room, and OH! What fun! It was my first visit to a tasting room, and I had expectations, but I was wrong. So let's have a little compare-and-contrast talk about wine...and customer service.

When my youngest son and his darling were here last summer, we stopped in a cute little wine bar in Sandpoint, Idaho. The lady who waited on us was clearly rather disdainful of people who were so ignorant about wines. i.e. US. My son asked a question about the difference between two wines with similar names and her answer was icy with distaste. Well, pardon the heck right out of me. We did not stay for more wine, or food, or anything else. We didn't buy anything from the gift area, we just finished what we had ordered and spent our fun money elsewhere.

The place in Sandpoint was not a tasting room. It was a wine bar. I had never been to a tasting room, and I expected it would probably be even stuffier than the wine bar was. Who would take wine more seriously than the people who work so hard to make it?

The experience in the tasting room at Latah Creek was entirely different. When Sweet Hubs candidly said that he prefers wines that could be confused with Kool-Aid, the staff didn't even arch an eyebrow. We had fun sampling our picks from the tasting list. We chatted happily with the two women who were helping us. We explained that we were not only looking for wines that WE like, we are also stocking a variety of choices for our guests.

They were friendly, professional, informative when asked a question without appearing to be superior to a couple of rednecks like us.

And we went home with 12 bottles of Latah Creek wines plus a few trifles thrown in for fun.

Every wine I tasted was delicious and of course, some suited me more than others did. Being more of a cook that a wine aficianado, I found myself mentally pairing different wines with things I might make for dinner. Mike's Reserve Red would be wonderful with my elk stew and some rustic bread. :-)
Sweet Hubs' favorite was their Muscat Canelli, and I can imagine serving this with some smoked trout (freshly caught, of course!) and mushroom rice pilaf.

So to make it short: the experience in Sandpoint was no fun, mildly insulting (if I cared about her opinion, that is) and off-putting enough to make me take my dollars somewhere else. The "quick trip" in Spokane Valley to Latah Creek's tasting room, where I intended only to pick up a couple of bottles, yielded a case of wine and a loyal customer.

If you owned those two businesses, which would you rather hear?

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