Surveys: What Your Customers Want

When it comes to surveys, a winery has many options. One of the main advantages of surveys is that you can find out what customers are thinking about your wines, about the winery experience, and about the wines that they prefer.

While you can glean this from simply having conversations with your customers in your tasting room or occasionally via email, it’s hard to document them all and have a solid compiliation of data on which to base important decisions.

It’s not hard to set up a survey. But the real question is when to do it, how often to do it, and what questions to ask. And this requires a firm grasp on what information you need.

  • Are the sales of your Chardonnay are falling, and you don’t quite know why, considering it’s the same wine you’ve been making for years. What is the problem?
  • Are people’s tastes changing? If so, to what? Is your competition increasing? From who?
  • Is your price point too high?
  • Did you undergo a label change that somehow is turning people off?

A survey can provide answers to these questions. And if you also ask their age, income, location,  and other wine preferences, perhaps you can narrow it down to discover the changing nature of wine purchases by your customers.

Probably the best and most widely used survey company is Survey Monkey. You could ask your wine club members, your customers (if you have their email addresses –which you should have), and even a sheet listing how to get the survey in your tasting room.

It might be a good idea to reward people who answer the survey. Perhaps after they have completed the survey, offer them a 10% off coupon on their next purchase. Or simply thank them for helping you to provide better wines and service in the future.

Whether it is about declining sales, or simply customer wine preferences, sending out a survey now and then is a good idea. You don’t want to send out too many, but perhaps once a year is a good frequency. Or have an ongoing survey that new customers can respond to whenever they like.

  • Here are some things to ask that would benefit you on all surveys: age, gender, income level, location, favorite wines.
  • For wine club members, you could ask what benefits they enjoy, what wines they would like to see you produce, what suggestions they have to make the club even better, would they like to make individual choices for wines or have the winery select them. Also greater or lesser frequency might be important.
  • A tasting room customer could be asked how they enjoyed their experience in the tasting room, what they would like to enjoy (tours, education, food pairings, etc.). Ask if they were offered a membership in the wine club, what would they like to become a member.
  • You could ask them how often they drink wine, whether they drink wine only with food or on other occasions too, where they buy their wines, their preferred wine prices. Do they buy special wines for special occasions?

Keep in mind that you will only get a small percentage of people returning the survey. If you are clear in the purpose of the survey and can show the recipient how it will benefit them, you could get a response of 40 to 50%, though that is on the high side. It should increase if you offered them, for instance, a 10% discount on their next purchase.  Don’t make the questionnaire too long or your response rate will be reduced.

But this is a great way to find out who your customers and potential customers are. And by keeping in touch with them, they will remember your name, and even buy your wines in the store when they are faced with so many unfamiliar labels.


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