A Magnificent California Winery

This past weekend I had one of the best times at a winery that I’ve ever had. Mind you, it’s only the third time that I’ve actually been to a winery in seven years. But it really was a great time.

We live in California – Southern California – so we’re not going to drive up to world-famous Napa and back on a Sunday. But the beautiful Temecula region is close enough for a day trip. (For the record, our tasting and drive home were about six hours apart. Please don’t drink and drive.)

Google Didn’t Say It Was the Best, but the Top Searches Results Did

In the morning we knew we wanted to go to Temecula, but where was another matter entirely. Searching for “Temecula Wineries” and “best wine tasting in Temecula” only served to confuse me more, especially as I know a bit about SEO. But I did find a few review sites with links to the various wineries’ pages. We chose our eventual destination based on a preponderance of good reviews and a website that made it look like the winery had it all together. An easy to find phone number with a call answered by a real person (on the premises!) made us excited to book our walking and tasting tour.

A Great Guide

As excited as we were by the website, we were amazed to find that it was beautifully representative of the real estate. It was pretty as a postcard, even with throngs of wine limos and busses parked outside. We quickly, gladly paid our fee and waited by the landmark for our guide.

I’ll change her name to Carol for the story. She was awesome. She offered so much information that we felt attached to the wines before we even tasted them. A sip wasn’t just about flavor, it was a story, a skill, a passion. She shared what bordered on the edge of trade secrets in order for us to appreciate their craft. Did I tell you I loved the gewürztraminer? Or how divine this merlot was?

I felt whatever the price of our humble ticket, we were educated way beyond its value. After the tour was just about over we were seated in a room with some big round tables to learn about hors d’oeuvre pairings. This time there was an unexpected rosé that really knocked our socks off.

Why We Missed Once

Carol was great, and we would support this winery solely based on her personality. And if we ever found out she wasn’t there, we’d drink someone else’s substandard wine (if just once) so that we could hear her spiel. But we didn’t get on an email marketing list. If there was one on the wine club information she pointed out, we will never know. The wine glasses and hors d’oeuvres were right in front of us, but the literature was in the middle of a large table. By the time we would have noticed them, we were engrossed in great conversation with our new friends.

I can’t help but wonder how it would have been different if the pretty flyers were within reading distance as opposed to an awkward long stretch just to touch it. I could have read it while we were sitting – between tastes, of course.

A Few Bottles for Next Year… How About an Email Deal Too?

After a walk on the beautiful grounds, we decided to visit the shop to buy a few bottles for New Year’s. Again, we encountered a great person to help us with that. But we didn’t leave the counter on anyone’s email marketing list. Is there a form at the bottom of our bags? I don’t know, but by the time I break open the bottles on December 31, filling out a form or logging on to a website will be far from my mind.

I wonder if there had been some compelling offer to give up my email address, how quickly it would be theirs. Five percent off would have been great. Even the promise of email discounts in the future would have been enough for me to give up my ATM pin and email address.

Let’s Wash Down That Great Wine with Dinner!

Before we departed, we put the bottles in the back of the car and decided to eat the great food we heard so much about. We left refreshed and refined, but still not on their email marketing list. Was there a section to fill out on the comment card tucked in the check presenter? I’ll never know. Everything was so nice, we never gave filling it out a thought. We were selfish in enjoying the moment.

We Were There for a Birthday This Time – Email Us to Come Do It Again

I wonder again if there could have been some incentive that would have gently nudged us to fill out a comment card and leave our information. A birthday club? I think I’d be thrilled to get a birthday email offering a free dessert. Surely giving up a five dollar dessert would be a great trade for the winery if we came back and spent a few hundred dollars all over again. I don’t think I would have wanted the server to sell us on it, but if I opened the check presenter and saw a birthday cake graphic on the left, I’d have bit.

Do You Want the Name of the Winery?

They missed a chance for our email address three times, but we will be back. Everything was great: the place, the food, the people were so top notch that we don’t need an email reminder to come back. Or do we? How long will this great, satisfied feeling last? See how Benchmark Email can improve your winery email marketing.

As for the name of the winery… ah, I just can’t say it. Everyone was so wonderful, that I’d never risk troubling any employee. They were all gold, email list or not. I will offer you a good hint though, so that you can find it for yourself: there are a few vines on the property!