Cellar Door Purchases
Buying Wine at the Cellar Door
There is usually no pressure to buy – if you can buy, then because of the time spent in entertaining you, the winery will appreciate it. Naturally you need to be impressed with the wine in order to do so. You might take a bottle or two with you or make up an order of a six pack or dozen and have the wines freighted home to you. If you have travelled to the region by aircraft then it is probably a good idea to let them know that you have travelled a long way and you are flying back home – you will look out for their wines when you get home. Plenty of wineries have certain rare wines only available from their cellar door and these wines are not released into distribution around the retail and restaurant trade. Have a pen with you and mark off the wines you like on the list that will be provided to you. In some regions that are close to a large population, there are ominous looking signs up at the entrance which advise that a tasting fee is payable, this fee being refunded off any purchases. In these regions there have been problems because the wines are expensive, the winery sells out, and they don’t want to dispense the wines free of charge to visitors who are there for a social occasion only. If you see such a sign and you are interested in the wine, and you have travelled some distance so you are not able to buy wine, go in and explain that to the staff – they are delighted to see someone from afar who is genuinely interested to learn about their wine – the fee will be waived – “It is merely to keep out the local free-loading drunks” I was told.
Wineries generally charge the recommended retail price whereas the big liquor retailers who buy in large volumes often have lower prices – so you will often see a mainstream wine from a large producer at a cheaper price in the shop back home. Winery cellar doors will usually offer a discount on a larger purchase and also free freight. Increasingly large and also smaller wineries offer special wines at the cellar door – both limited availability wines as well as special wines only sold direct from the winery. Often these wines are sought after and sell out readily. Many wineries have a cellar door retail Wine Club for the availability of their special wines.
Do Wines Taste Better at the Cellar Door?
The most memorable experiences with wine for most people usually include a tasting at the winery. The atmosphere is romantic, you receive special attention, and the wines are fresh and in good condition. When you get a bottle of the same wine back at home, it may not taste as good. It is mostly to do with your mood. Expecting to relive a past magic moment after a hard day in the office is difficult – give the wine a chance. Relax yourself, and serve it in extra good glasses!
Visiting the “Cellar Door” and Wine Regions
- Wine regions are usually pretty places also with great restaurants and accommodation
- Plan your trip
- It’s best to make bookings, particularly if you are part of a larger group (when it is usually a necessity)
- Be gracious. Cellar door staff are usually passionate about their wines. If you don’t like a wine quietly tip it out and move on to the next taste
- Ask the staff to suggest the wines for you to try
- There is usually no pressure to buy, although premium wineries near a large city may charge a tasting fee that is refundable from wine purchases but making a purchase does show appreciation. Usually wineries have certain special wines available that you cannot buy from a retailer