The Wandering Wino Blog

I've often said there are two kinds of people in the world; "those that get it," and "those that don't." Those of us that do "get it," have fallen into the other box at times. These are called our stupid moments in life, or as I like to play my "man card" as a momentary laps of reason. Most of a single year between my 19th birthday and 20th was also in the "those that don't" bucket.

I've seen some posts recently relating to social media which can be a form of customer service, and those that get it and those that don't. Gary Vaynurchuck from Wine Library TV and Daily Grape essentially shared about how business people need to be listening more. I also read something from Matthew Liberty on his experience with someone, that I'm guessing owns a winery, whom dropped numerous F-bombs in a restaurant, local to his own business, in a setting of multiple people, including a child and an elderly couple. The story went on that when he answered his cell phone loudly, that he used his name. I'm just guessing his name is part of the name of the winery, but I really do not know for certain.

Steve Hiemoff recently posted on his blog about how a friend of his, whom is a regular at a chain steak house, tweeted a request for a porterhouse and to meet him at the airport. It was a joke on his part but was shocked to see a man with a bag of food for him. The blog post seems to side with the fact the man has 100k followers on twitter as the reason for the airport delivery. I simply suggest, that restaurant "gets it."

I'm no social media expert. In fact, I hope to build up to a social media novice soon. Something I do have experience in is customer service. I tweeted recently on how some businesses seem to use Twitter, and even Facebook to some extent, as if they were an island and everyone should just flock to them like Jesus on the mount. They "don't get it."  Photo credit to Evengi dinev 

 They post things entirely on their business and never talk with others, connect, "like," or even comment. I often chat with others about wine. When someone mentions a type of wine they like, I often think of places I've experienced a similar good or even great wine. I have no financial motive to share some great places that offer that same varietal to them other than the fact that I'm trying to connect. If I'm lucky, maybe I get one more hit on my website. 

In many cases if I know the winery or any other business is on Twitter I will loop them into the conversation so the person I'm communicating with can simply know quickly who I'm refrencing, They can quickly get to their website, contact information, etc if they choose.If they ask a question I do not know the answer to, the refrenced business can chime in......if they "get it.'Eberle "gets it" and so does Jimmy!

These guys above from Eberle "get it!"

I just say what I like plain and simple. It also just so happens to be an unintentional lob pitch for the winery to crack it out of the park if they choose. I say its great, because I think it is, and now all they have to do is say something nice and engage, and maybe obtain a sale. If not at that moment, down the road simply because the person received a suggestion from someone who has no motive to benefit, and the winery responded with simple kindness, and maybe even a little something called customer service.


Take a swing

What blows me away, is when I lob a pitch like this up to any business, and they do not have the sense to take a swing with a response back to the interested person I've engaged. It's like striking out looking. This makes the business look bad, and maybe even a little bad on me despite the fact i do not represent them in any way other than I like their restaurant, hotel, wine or whatever.  

I got involved with social media fairly recently, and while I may have a lot to learn, it seems so many other businesses get involved and do not event attempt to learn what they should be doing. Try something like reading the book "Crush It!" or get on to blogs of professionals (marketing)  and see what they are doing, or even hire someone like a Rick Bakas type that knows and will tell you "how to" for your business. I believe the business that gets involved with a blind eye and do not have any sense what so ever, only damage their brand and business. They appear cocky and uncaring to those with the money to buy their products. In my view, perception is reality for the consumer.

I've worked the restaurant business several years and seen how treating people can make 110% of the difference . A very close friend of mine works at a very high end restaurant in Texas. There is no doubt in my mind they serve some of the best steaks in the country. The Texas restaurant scene is very competitive and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure the steak houses in Texas have to be exceptional, especially the ones on a high level to survive. 

When guests walk into that restaurant, not only are they quickly greeted, but they get a very warm, friendly, and personal greeting if they've been in before. Those that work there, and the management in particular, remember everyones names, what they like, how they like it, and so much more. The stories of examples I could share would go on for days of just how far they will go out of their way for their loyal customers. The new ones, well, they want to get to know them the same way. There is no shortage of top steak houses in Texas and it would be very easy for customers to eat at the competitors down the street. Forget the fact that their food/service in my opinion exceeds that of their competition, they understand it is so much more than just those things. 

So guess what? They are blowing it up in a rough economy. The last time I was there, I walked in at 9:30 PM on a Wednessday night and it was packed to the walls when they charge around $30-$60 for a steak ala carte. You know they are doing somethings very, very, right. If you're a regular they know your name, what you like to eat, how it is cooked, what you like to drink, and maybe even your birthday, anniversary......and I haven't even gotten started on the depth that they can and do go for some of their guests. That is why they  "get it."   

I can only hope to do it with half the execution they have in my business. I try and I see many others like my buddys steak house trying. A winemaker recently told me that it is an absolute highlight to work a job like he has talking with guests all day, pouring his wines, and always trying to have his "A game'" because he "gets it." He understands that a good or even great wine with a bad experience will have a hit on his business. People want to have fun and remember that they were treated well. When I visited another tasting room for the first time that is way off the beaten path, and they were nice, and offered a barrel tasting, well I felt special. Guess what? I joined the wine club and walked away with a case of wine. That was six years ago and I'm still a member. When I drink their wine it transforms me back to my great experiences at the winery. I tell others about them too, and I'll do it again......Caparone!

So in the end does it matter if it's in person or in social media? In my humble opinion, I say It is both. I asked a question recently if you receive a poor or even rude customer service experience in a tasting room that has exceptional wines, would you give a second try? 4 out of 5 said no.

Seems like something to consider when running a business. It's not just about a 95 point wine score, room reservations, wine club members, or taking a food order. It is how people are made to feel when they walk into the business. When a person walks into a restaurant, hotel, or winery and they are made to feel special, well, guess what? Everybody wins! 

No business is without bad experiences, including the best places on earth. I'm sure somewhere, someone, didn't have fun at Disneyland; here are just some places that "get it" on customer service.

  • Eberle (Paso Robles,CA)
  • Andrew Murray Vineyards (Los Olivos, CA)
  • Tobin James (Paso Robles, CA)
  • Saarloos & Sons (Los Olivos, CA)
  • Buttonwood Farm (Santa Ynez, CA)
  • Riverbench (Santa Maria Valley, CA)
  • Brian Carter Cellars (Woodinville WA)
  • Zenaida (Paso Robles, CA)
  • Alexandria Nichole  (Woodinville, WA)
  • Kenneth Volk (Santa Maria Valley/Paso Robles, CA)
  • Tercero (Los Olivos, CA)
  • Stillwaters (Paso Robles?Templeton, CA)
  • Ampelos (Lompoc/Sta Rita Hills, CA)
  • Caparone (Paso Robles, CA)
  • Al Biernats (Dallas, TX)
  • Sterling (Calistoga/Napa, CA)
  • Oreana (Downtown Santa Barbara, CA)
  • Mortons 
  • Mondo (Paso Robles, CA)
  • Carr (Downtown Santa Barbara, CA)
  • There are more, but I've got to stop somewhere


  • Brad Fuller
    Posted Saturday 03 September 2011 06:14
    Great article! Thank you for the inclusion. We all work hard at Al Biernat's to try and "get it"!
  • Beau
    Posted Thursday 01 December 2011 19:01
    Another good one, Shawn. I hope this post spreads around on twitter, facebook, etc. Some folks need to literally be shaken away and told "YOU DON'T GET IT"..
  • Wandering WIno
    Posted Friday 02 December 2011 05:56
    Thanks so much! I really appreciate it! It's unfortunate that many seem to be stuck in a different time, and have their own idea of what something should be, instead of spending some time to investigate. Thanks for your post!

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