In the Yass Valley region, we are blessed with many great cellar door experiences. Based on my own experience over many years of visiting cellar doors, I believe that there are certain cellar door characteristics that inevitably lead to delivering a great experience to us, the consumer.
The people behind the counter will make all the difference to your experience. In many cases in our region, the people who make the wine are likely to be serving the wine, so they will know their stuff. However, any good cellar door staff will also know their stuff. They can tell you about each of the wines on tasting, what to look for in their taste, as well as the journey from vine to bottle, including the grapes, the conditions of the growing season, how and when the grapes were harvested etc.
They will work out pretty quickly what styles of wine you are interested in and focus your attention to styles that match your interest. They will also have the confidence to challenge your taste buds. For example, many times I have heard a customer say “Nope, don’t like Riesling…it’s too sweet!” only to be pleasantly surprised when challenged to taste a crisp, lively and dry Riesling. They nearly always leave with a bottle in their bag.
The cellar door team should also be engaging, interactive and focus at least some attention on YOU. They might be flat out like a lizard drinking, but they can take this all in their stride and treat all of their prospective customers with care and attention. After all, their objective is to understand what YOU like so they can sell YOU more of it.
It also never hurts for the cellar door to sometimes offer up that little bit extra. It might be a quick tour of the winery, a taste from the barrel or a special back vintage, or to crack a funny yarn or two. A friendly dog or a lazy cat can be a plus too.
Then there’s the other side of the coin – Us. It costs money and time to run a cellar door and offer the experience to us. As consumers, we should be prepared for the cellar door team to take us on a journey through the wines of their world. We should appreciate their effort and reward them with a cellar door purchase. Don’t buy what you don’t like, but you should buy what you do, even if it’s a single bottle – your purchase will be well regarded.
So get out about the wonderful cellar doors right across our region. The experiences are great and the rewards are real.