Experts Weigh in on the Joys of Working in a Wine Tasting Room – Okanagan Taste
Photo: Darren Robinson Photography
The view at Clos du Soleil Winery in Keremeos.
Every winery is looking for you.
Not just to buy wine, but to pour it into the culinary travelers who will soon be descending on the region. After a two-year hiatus, many (wineries) are probably preparing their itineraries.
If you’re wondering what it’s like to work in a tasting room, give it a try this year. The 2022 season could be a phenomenal opportunity to tap into emerging post- (or close to post-) pandemic trends: small, local, tasty destinations.
First, invest in a class or two. Check out Wine Plus+ or Fine Vintage, or sign up for the Wines of BC Ambassador program presented by Winegrowers of British Columbia.
Meanwhile, a handful of people from the winery answered the question, “why work in a tasting room?”.
Lisa Baxter-Burke, who recently joined Blasted Church near Okanagan Falls as an experience leader, sums it all up.
“If you still want to find a job, why not talk about wine every day? ” She says. “So hang out by the pool after work!”
Cindy Bode of Monte Creek Winery in Kamloops shares the sentiment.
“Working in a tasting room is such a fun experience. You meet different types of people and you can talk about wine,” says Bode. “I really enjoy working and sharing my love for the people, the place and the products we produce and sell.”
Michael Clark, co-owner and general manager of Clos du Soleil in Keremeos, says the winery’s customers are often on vacation, so they are happy and relaxed.
“And there aren’t many jobs with customers who arrive smiling and then keep smiling as they open their wallets to take home a bottle or two. Everyone in the Similkameen is so proud of this beautiful area, spectacular scenery and uniqueness Pouring wine in a tasting room here will give you the pleasure of introducing people to an amazing valley that I think is even more beautiful than the Okanagan.
From Vancouver Island’s Blue Grouse, Pamela Sanderson provides a good checklist.
“Working in a tasting room is the perfect job for anyone who is passionate about food and wine and socializes with people,” she says. “It’s above all a question of hospitality and sharing a passion with interested customers. The work is very physical, but very rewarding and most tasting rooms offer attractive salaries, flexible hours and often tips.
According to Trevor Allen, assistant general manager of Township 7, which has wineries in Penticton and Langley, the experience between staff and guests is paramount.
“It’s such a nice subject, and ultimately you share a mutual love affair with wine,” he says. “We encourage our staff to be genuine and friendly, and no one gets a script. If you are passionate about creating an exceptional experience, engaging all of our guests’ senses, you will have fun and they will have incredible memories.”
Robbie Hundertmark, estate sommelier at TIME Family of Wines, says working in a tasting room is the best way to benefit from an industry that loves the Okanagan as much as you do.
“The wine industry is all about a sense of place, and there’s no better place to be than here. You’re a problem solver and an educator, an artist and an ambassador. You’re here to loving what you do and showing people why they should too. It’s one of the only jobs in retail where no one is upset to visit you and where everyone wants to have a good time.”
Can’t choose a winery? Apply your passion to promoting them all at a store like the BC Wine Information Center in Penticton, and you won’t have to choose.