Over the last 12 months we’ve seen a shift in the way that wineries in the region are operating, in that they are now for the most part charging tasting fees for guests. We personally are not against a redeemable tasting fee to be charged by wineries as we generally buy wine when we go tasting and if we don’t then it gets us off the hook of a ‘pity buy’ where we buy the cheapest wine to avoid that guilty feeling we get for not purchasing. We generally disagree with a tasting fee that is not redeemable on purchases unless an additional experience or product is being provided.
What is a tasting fee?
One of the best arguments for having a tasting fee is a psychological one. People find more value in something they have to pay for and this perceived value can have an impact on sales.
But for the most part, tasting fees cover the cost of the wine being tasted.
Wineries are after all a business and a lot of wine can be consumed in a cellar door. Particularly for smaller wineries, charging can help offset this cost.
What does all of this mean for our guests?
For 95% of you this won’t change a thing as almost everyone that joins us on tour usually purchases a bottle or 2 at each stop, for the 5% who don’t purchase wines (and believe us we absolutely don’t mind one bit) we think it’s fair for the wineries to pass on some of the costs they incur for providing you a sample of their range of wines & someone dedicated to you for the duration of the tasting. You can expect to pay around $5 - $10 per winery to taste the wines if you don't buy anything.
I’ve paid for a wine tour with you guys, why should I have to pay more for tasting fees?
This is a good question and if we weren’t in the industry ourselves one that we would probably ask also.
We have given a huge amount of thought as to how to manage this within our own business and have come to a simple conclusion – we simply can’t include the cost of tasting fees for our guests with our current fee structure – since we began in 2017 our costs have gradually increased with all of our running costs such as fuel, registration, insurance, marketing and wages – we have however, never increased the rates for our guests and in fact we have slightly reduced the costs to make it a more affordable option for guests to have a private bespoke tour.
If we were to include tasting fees, we would not be able to plan every tour according to our guest’s requirements and change the plan throughout the day to add in more stops as necessary. We think we have been nailing the private bespoke tours with how flexible we are and we don’t want to change that. By reading some of the awesome reviews we have had since our inception it’s pretty clear you don’t want us to change either.
Another big point to make is all the wineries have different tasting fees and if we were to include the cost of tastings we would either be under or (more likely) overcharging you – if you buy wine throughout the day, which the vast majority of you do, you would effectively be paying us for something that you wouldn’t or shouldn’t be charged for anyway and we don’t want that, that’s some extra $$’s your could have spent on another bottle!
What we will do is continue to deliver amazing customer experience and highly personalised tours to our guests and will work with each and every one of you in planning your day out, we will let you know which venues have tasting fees and (whenever possible) what they are so you can budget and plan for this in advance.
Anyone who knows us or who has joined us on tour before would know we LOVE Margaret River & the wineries we visit so regularly, we want to continue supporting them & we would love it if you would too, if you need help shipping wine home just let us know.
We'd love to hear your thoughts & feedback on this matter if you have anything to add!