over-the-bar

Cellar Door Etiquette 101

July 10, 2017 Jenny Semmler

When you visit a cellar door you are coming for more than just wine tasting. You are wanting an experience, to seek out the hidden gems, to learn something. At cellar door we want you to have the best time possible, and to fall in love with one or more of our wines.

Our cellar door is truly unique as it is located right in the heart of the cellar. You can see the winemakers and cellar hands busy at work, or catch the wines slumbering in their barrels. The cellar is dark, cool and rich with the scent of oak and wine. 

So when you visit, how do you make sure that you have the best experience? Here are some tips.

Before you come

We know that people who visit our cellar door are looking for a unique experience, one that you cannot get by simply visiting a bottleshop or ordering online. To get the most out of your visit we suggest you prepare yourself in the following ways.

Set the mood. If you are visiting with friends decide who will be your designated driver, and whether you want to take it in a leisurely manner, or whether you have a schedule to accomodate everyone’s visitation wish-list. 

Prepare your children. If you have children, it’s wise to visit when they are content and relaxed. We are located only a few minutes from both Barmera Playspace and Monash Playground, and many parents pop in on the way to or from. I used to pack a Fun Pack, containing a snack and a drink, and some activities such as colouring, a book, their favourite toys or an electronic game. If your child needs a low stimulation environment or has special needs, please ring ahead so we can book a suitable time-slot. If your child is hyper-alert, we ask that one adult be prepared to supervise. Our cellar door is located on a farm, and we want your child to be safe! 

Prepare yourself.The winery and cellar door is a sensory place. It is good manners to wear unscented cosmetics and deodorants so that the winemakers and other patrons can appreciate the aromas and flavours of the wine. Even if you cannot smell the scent yourself, cosmetics and deodorants can easily overwhelm the senses. 

No pre-loading please. Cellar door staff are obliged to provide responsible service of alcohol. If you’ve already visited a few places and are showing signs of being worse for wear, we suggest that you stop for a coffee break or a meal before visiting. Of course, we know that you might want to visit several more wineries after visiting us, so pace yourself so you remain tidy and responsible.

 

While you are there

We welcome you and your friends and family, and we are interested in the stories of the places you have been and your activities while you visit our beautiful Riverland. We will try and tailor your tasting to your preferences, so we will ask a few questions about your experience. Sometimes, when we are very busy, we may have to spread ourselves a little thinner, but we would still love to get to know you!

Give us honest feedback. If you really love a wine, that’s great for us to know! If you find a wine isn’t to your taste, we would like to know that as well. We will ask you what you would change so we can pour a wine more to your taste. You may prefer the wine were sweeter, or less sharp, or more robust. If you can’t think of the words to describe what you find appealing or not, that’s OK, you can tell us about your favourite wine. We will try to translate that into a suggestion from our own portfolio.

Trust your own judgement. We have tasting notes available for each wine, together with a list of some of their awards, because some people like to read about the wines as they taste. In the end, however, you will be more satisfied if you are guided by your own experience and preferences. 

Ask the questions that are burning on your lips. There are no dumb questions. Our cellar door staff have an intimate knowledge of the wines, the winemaking (all done on site) and the vineyards (both in the Riverland), so they will do their best to answer. 

Target the wines you might like to try. Our cellar door staff will ask you your preferences and make suggestions so that we not only meet our responsible service obligations, but so that we can match wine to your taste. Our staff will guide you through the portfolio, and may suggest limiting the number of pours you taste. This is so everyone at cellar door has a wonderful time. The staff may refuse to pour if they believe you are becoming unruly or affected by alcohol. We have a plentiful supply of fresh water, and encourage you to use our spittoon to avoid this problem. We are happy to call a taxi for you if you like, and your car will be secure in our carpark until you pick it up. 

Enjoy our garden area. We are happy for you to have your picnic in our garden, or to enjoy a glass of wine there. Sadly, we don't serve food except when we have an event.

Refrain from smoking please! We have a no smoking policy that applies throughout the winery, but also the grounds and vineyard. Smoke can interfere with the sensory analysis of wine, and of course, smoking is forbidden in public buildings. We also have to consider the safety aspects of ignition sources around the winery, such as cardboard, oak and alcohol. Did you know that cigarette butts degrade extremely slowly in the soil? To protect our certified organic vineyards we have decided to extend the no-smoking policy throughout all our vineyards.

Take the opportunity to buy a bottle of wine if you really like it. We don’t expect it, but it is a nice gesture by you to show appreciation for the time we have taken to be with you, and you get to take some delicious wine home with you. Our wine is specialist, so you won’t find it at Dan Murphy’s or The Booze Brothers, but we will tell you where you can buy it near you. We also understand that everyone has a budget, so you may like to rummage in our bin end display for oddments and cleanskins. Of course, our website is online everywhere, and stocks our complete range. If you would like to become a Cellar Friend, then pop your details onto our mailing list. We promise we won’t share your information, and we won't spam you relentlessly. We do a newsletter about every 6-8 weeks, with news, recipes, competitions and Friends Only offers on wine, events and so on. We only have one sale a year, our Empty the Bath Sale, and the only way you will hear about it is via our newsletter, Facebook page or Twiitter. 

When you leave

We love meeting people from all around Australia who visit our cellar door, and we also love to make our visitors feel welcome in the region. Your desiccated (dry) driver may like to look through the tourist information we have to plan other places to visit. 

Tell us how long you will be here, and what you are interested in. We will try to suggest our places, events and activities that may interest you while you are in the Riverland. We have a reasonably good idea of the wines made by other wineries in the region and will be happy to refer you on. We can also suggest places to eat and sleep if needed. 

Leave a review! Sign our guest book in cellar door, or leave a review on Trip Advisor, Facebook or any of your other favourite travel apps. We value honest feedback. We would love to have a dedicated cellar door, but for the foreseeable future we will remain within the cellar with its industrial decor and multi-purpose floorspace. Tell us what you think about our wines, our sustainable straw-bale winery and our dedicated hard-working cellar personnel, as well as your overall experience. We can’t monitor every reviewing website, but we will try to keep improving everything we do.

Be careful on the road when you drive away. Our cellar door is in a quiet location and our road spills onto a high speed road. We are happy for you to enjoy the scenery in our garden before heading off on the next part of your trip. Take care on the road and we look forward to seeing you again.

 


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