Working a cellar door isn’t just pouring wine and making up terms for how the wine smells and tastes, well hopefully it isn’t. I want knowledge, real knowledge, more than I could get myself if I read the tasting notes in front of me.
Firstly, make people with little wine knowledge feel comfortable. There are no dumb questions, it’s not the fault of wine-initiates they haven’t been exposed to much wine before, smile and politely explain it. The ability to describe complex wine terms in simple language is important, and something I may lack! Never forget, if you can turn someone who doesn’t drink wine into someone that does, that’s a new customer. It also probably make their day more enjoyable.
I also want to know what was happening that year. Most vineyards have roughly 10 bottles of wine on tasting, describing the seasons for these shouldn’t be too challenging, and weather is something that makes a hell of a difference to how the wines turn out!
Helpfulness. If I do ask a difficult question (remembering I’m not being difficult, I genuinely want to know), I really really appreciate it when the staff member goes to the effort of finding out for me. I understand the practicalities of having a room full of people and not being able to answer straight away, but a few times I’ve been asked for my email address and had the question answered later when there has been time. It’s this sort of assistance that makes me want to go back to cellar doors again, and buy the wine again.
Finally, please drink and like the wine. Not just because through your wine allowance you get some for free, but because it’s good wine and you like it. If you don’t like wine, it really comes across and doesn’t make people want to buy it.