Questions To Ask A Customer Who Doesn't Know What They Want
Posted by DMV Distributing on October 24, 2018
Customers who are new to wine often don't know what they want to drink. They look at the menu or stare at the bottles and pick what's obvious, what has the prettiest label, or what everyone else orders.
While random guessing occasionally leads to a happy accident or an unexpected surprise, many people find better results when they understand the differences between various wines. Asking the right questions leads to good discussions and recommendations that help your customers become informed.
Have you ever had wine before?
There's a first time for everything, and that includes drinking wine. If they've had wine before, ask them when, why, and what they liked or didn't like about it. This generates conversation that could help you give them a solid recommendation.
If they've never tried wine, ask them more generically what they think about certain flavors and various types of food.
Do you like red or white?
Red and white wine are made differently. It's not just the color that separates these two wines, it's the fermenting process. When white wine is made, strained juice is fermented in a stainless steel vat. The result is a delicate wine with nutty but subtle flavors. When red wine is made, the fermented juice contains skins, stems, and big bits of grapes. Red is fermented in oak casks. The result is a full-bodied, deep red liquid.
Oftentimes, people who are new to wine enjoy white first and red second, because the former often has a stronger flavor than the latter. If the customer isn't sure, recommend a crisp white wine to be on the safe side.
Dry or sweet?
Dry or sweet is usually a matter of personal preference. People who like sweet things often (but not always) like sweet wines. People who like savory things often (but not always) like dry wines.
If a customer isn't sure whether they like sweet or dry wines, recommend a semi-dry wine to cover your bases. If the customer wants to know the difference between the flavors, explain that sweet wine contains more sugars, and dry wine contains less sugar because the sugars were fermented.
What are you pairing with this wine?
For a customer who likes red and white wine, ask them what kind of food they'll be eating. Matching wine to food is an excellent way to draw out certain flavors. Doing this improves the drinking and eating experience of the customer.
Even if they're not drinking the wine with a specific meal, you can still ask them what type of foods they eat the most. They might tell you that they're vegetarians or that they eat a lot of fish. Use this information to pick out the right wine for the customer.
Do you prefer room-temperature or cool wine?
Different wines are best served at different temperatures. For example, apple wine is best served cool. A dessert wine like moscato tastes better at room temperature.
Some people like only cold drinks, while others prefer their drinks at room temperature. Once you know the customer's preferences, direct them to wines that are best served at the temperature they prefer.
What's your price range?
While price range isn't king when it comes to wine selection, it narrows the possible choices and eliminates some contenders right away. Remember that DMV Distributing delivers amazing value to customers by negotiating reasonable prices with wine vendors around the world. No matter what your customer's price range is, you'll be able to give them the best wine at the best price every time.
Ultimately, there's no right or wrong line of questioning when you're trying to help a customer pick a wine. What you recommend will have more to do with nuance, instinct, and subtle cues from the customer.
Since you're also a wine lover, be prepared with a mental list of your favorite types. This way you can easily suggest one of your go-to wines when a customer seems really stuck.
For more information about wine, contact DMV Distributing.