Charging for tasting samples

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Wine tourism is a rapidly growing business in this country. A staggering 25% of all tourists who arrive in this country visit a winery. That’s great for brand-building and for cash flow. Tourists can have wine sent back home by specialist companies like NZ Wine Home and they do, in large quantities.

An increasing number of cellar door outlets now charge for wine samples. I was told,

“the people who expect to pay for samples are the ones that we want as customers. They are more likely to buy our wine from the cellar door and when they return home.”

I have no argument with that, especially if the cost of samples is deducted from any purchase.

If charging for samples encourages the “right sort” of customers as well as a little extra revenue why doesn’t every winery do it?

Cellar door outlets cannot charge for samples unless they have an on-sale licence, which is expensive and in some cases impractical. The law makes no distinction between restaurants and cellar doors, in fact, to earn an on-sale licence cellar doors are required to serve food.

That is simply too restrictive.

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