Importance of Tasting Room Activities and Staff Training in Emerging Wine Regions: The Case of Northern Virginia
This chapter explores the perspectives of winery owners and operators regarding training for tasting room staff in the emerging US wine region of Northern Virginia. It examines the extent to which winery leaders believe training for tasting room staff is important, what training is essential, and the barriers to providing training. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in person with owners or operators of 12 Northern Virginia wineries. Wineries were selected by judgment sampling, and data were analyzed using an inductive approach. Wine tourism is crucial for direct-to-consumer sales, and training tasting room staff is an important factor in leveraging wine tourism activities. Many methods are implemented by wineries to train staff, and shadowing and tasting are the most common. Wine knowledge is not a required element driving the hiring process, as it is considered something that can be taught. Little training is conducted on sales and professional selling. Time is the main barrier to providing training due to a heavy reliance on part-time staff. Three strategic recommendations with seven tactics are offered to help wineries strengthen their training programs.
KeywordsStaff Tasting room Wine tourism Wine owners Wine operators Training methods Training barriers
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