I’ve just returned from vacation and have so many experiences to report, it’s a bit overwhelming. If you follow me on Yelp, you can see some of my personal reviews in coming days. Today’s post, though, is dedicated to my winetasting adventure in Virginia’s wine country. Yeah, I didn’t know they had one either, but they do, and I have the bottles of wine to prove it!
One thing that remained a constant: Surprises, both good and bad. Our journey took us through roughly 600 miles and 15 vineyards for winetasting. Because we were in Virginia, I must say they’re not all lined up side by side like Napa or other places. Instead, there could be 10-20 miles between them, tucked away on a meandering road that would take an hour to travel. A few times, we drove like crazy, only to find a place serving a day we weren’t visiting, or worse, closed down for good. Sadly, signage, brochures, placards, and websites were not always accurate and sometimes our wild goose chase resulted in parched throats.
Some things of note:
- One vineyard employee acted like she was taking cheese from her own private stash in order to honor the Foursquare offer we checked in with.
- At another vineyard, the lady pouring made every attempt to be rude, first by ignoring our arrival, and secondly, but leaving the room to talk shop (loudly) with a fellow employee, halfway through our tasting. Each wine she poured, she seemed entirely put out, bored and peeved. We ended up not even finishing the tasting, the experience was so awful and uncomfortable. Oddly, we were the only guests there. A tactical error to be sure, because up to this point, we had purchased wine at EVERY stop.
- The very next vineyard went overboard in a great way: Pearmund Cellars made us feel right at home, welcome and special. They let us keep a glass at no charge, gave us their premium tasting for the price of their simple version, shared terrific recipes using their wines, and let us linger well past closing time. The experience between this place and the former was night and day. Oh, and he gave us dark chocolate with the port – oh my.
- Of all the places we ventured, only one place shared cheese to pair with the wine. I believe the mouth is stronger than the mind in this capacity, so when the lady at Fox Meadow Winery brought little plates of cheese out for us, I was pretty happy. Most was local cheese, which REALLY made me happy.
- Of all the places we visited, only two had offers through Foursquare, and in both cases, the counter people had no idea what Foursquare was, let alone how to comply with the offer. Talk to each other, people.
- More than half were on Facebook, but upon looking them up, most were set up as personal pages instead of Fan Pages – oops!
- Only a smidgen were on Twitter and not one “Yelp” sticker was spotted.
Overall, a great trip through the Virgina wine country and quite a few lessons learned. If you’re venturing into such an area, call ahead of time to make sure they’re open. It’s too bad these places aren’t using social media just a bit more because in many ways, it would be easier to tell this story if they were. If you’re a business like the ones mentioned, make sure you are using all points of social media that your guests might use. I was pretty surprised that nearly every checkin on Foursquare showed others before me, plus the location. I’m taking a stab here, but it seems the winetasting crowd has some tech savvy people with a little disposable income. Tap into that, and you could create quite a loyal base of wine purchasers from as far away as say, Boulder, Colorado 🙂
Oh, and if you don’t like people or are just a rude individual, do your business a favor and keep yourself away from customers. It’s bad form to do otherwise.