Thursday, May 17, 2012

Must I Buy Some Wine?

Guests frequently ask me whether they are obligated to buy wine when visiting a winery.  The short answer is, "No."  The long answers is, "It depends."

Wineries want to sell wine through their tasting rooms, but you should never feel compelled to buy wine.  However, there are some instances where you might want to thank the tasting room staff and the winery for taking the time to pour wines for you by buying a bottle or two.

If you visit a tasting room that is open for visitors to drop in, you should not feel obligated to buy any wine.  You have probably paid a tasting fee, and these wineries are very accustomed to having visitors not buy wine.  If you feel you have received exceptional service from the tasting room staff, give him/her a tip.  He/she will be pleasantly surprised.

The same applies to many of the wineries that require appointments to taste.  These wineries see a good number of people every day and know that not everyone will want to buy wine.

Where it gets murky is when you make an appointment to visit a small winery where the owner or staff takes time out of her/his schedule to spend some time with you.  Many of these wineries do not charge for tastings or have a minimum tasting fee.  Some see very few visitors and are opening wines just for you.  Here, you might want to buy some wine as a way to thank the winery for the time and effort to see you.  I have been in many wineries where I wasn't crazy about the wine but felt like I needed to buy a bottle or two.  If you don't really like the wine, give it as a gift!

I hope this is helpful.  If any readers have views on this subject, please comment.

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