Customer Survey Opportunity for Wineries

By: Kathy Kelley

My very first post for this blog focused on using surveys to learn about consumers’ tasting room experiences (  I described a few easy to use and free tools (e.g., that can be used to create a questionnaire.

I feel very strongly about gathering input from consumers about their attitudes and behaviors pertaining to winery tasting rooms in the region and how tasting rooms can encourage repeat visits.  As you know very well, there is limited data available that describes the Pennsylvania wine consumer, impressions of their tasting room visits, and wine preferences.  Collecting this data is essential, as described in an article published by Brian Fletcher on the website: “Market research…is essential to you and your brand’s long-term success…[it] will keep your brand afloat while companies who fail to make research a high priority drown” (

Hence, I have decided to “put my money where my mouth is” and I am creating a survey that tasting room owners/operators can use to collect this valuate data.  But, wait, there’s more…

What I am offering

My offer includes not only the survey questions and gathering responses via my subscription, but I will also send a monthly summary to each participating tasting room that will contain responses specific to their operation.  Because of the potential number of survey responses, I will only be able to provide summary data.  Summary data for each question will look similar to the following image (shown just for demonstration purposes).

Dec_Kathy_summary question

Who might benefit

My thought is that this offer could help a variety of tasting rooms.  For example, those:

  • without a system in place to capture consumer sentiment,
  • who are collecting data from customers but would be interested in learning responses to these additional questions,
  • interested in collecting the data digitally,
  • unable to fully administer a customer satisfaction survey for one reason or another, etc.

Sample questions and limitations

The overall goal of this survey is for owners/operators to learn from visitors what tasting room aspects they find appealing and what components of the experience may need to be reevaluated and enhanced or amended.

I will be working on a draft of questions until the survey launches in late winter 2016, but I have a core list of questions that I feel will benefit a majority of tasting rooms.  They include:

  • date and time of day (morning, afternoon, evening) of their most recent visit to your tasting room,
  • who they visited the tasting room with,
  • if they participated in a tasting, educational event/tour, festival or activity, etc. when at the tasting room,
  • if they made a purchase and what they purchased,
  • how they would rate their overall tasting experience, interaction with tasting room staff, products available for purchase, visual appeal of the tasting room, etc. using scales (e.g. 1 to 5, 1 to 7),
  • their interest in events and activities that you have an interest/ability to offer in the future,
  • if they were a first time visitor, how they learned about your tasting room and what encouraged them to visit,
  • how to encourage repeat visits to your tasting room (e.g. collaboration/cross promoting with other businesses, tasting room only offerings and events), and
  • demographic, socio-economic status of the survey respondent (e.g. age range, sex), and similar questions (e.g. distance traveled from home to visit the tasting room, other businesses that they visited in the area).

After consumers submit their survey they will be directed to your tasting room website, or other URL that you specify.

While each tasting room is unique and I’m sure that it would be preferable for each to have a customized survey, the amount of time to craft several different surveys is beyond what I have available.  But, those willing to participate can chose to remove certain questions and I will work with them to create up to two questions that are specific to their operation.

How to proceed

This first effort will be more of a pilot test to:

  • determine demand for such a tool/service,
  • work out any issues that arise,
  • get a general idea if this is a benefit for tasting rooms, and
  • gage the amount of time I would need to devote to this project each month.

Since this is a new offering, and just with introducing a new good or service in your tasting room, I would like to trial this with 20 tasting rooms.  Though preference will be given to Pennsylvania tasting rooms, if space is available I am willing to include businesses located outside the Commonwealth.

You may indicate your interest in participating by filling out a short survey/online form by Friday, January 15, which you can access by clicking on this link:

Questions ask for your contact information, URL for your tasting room website, location of your primary/main tasting room (if you have more than one), and whether you agree that:

  • you will participate in the pilot test for the entire duration (one year with an estimated start date in late winter) unless a situation occurs that causes me to end the study early,
  • you will be able to delete certain questions and add up to two questions (which I will help you create),
  • responses collected from your tasting room visitors will be kept confidential and that any reports (blog posts, presentations, and similar) developed will be the result of combining data collected from all participating tasting rooms, and
  • tasting room visitors who access the survey will first need to read a consent form and agree to participate in the study before responding to the customer satisfaction survey.

After the 20 tasting rooms have been selected and the final list of questions has been developed, each tasting room will receive a URL to their survey.  The URL can be posted on websites, distributed via email, printed on material that is distributed to tasting room visitors, and so on.

Potential benefits/opportunities that your participant will provide

If you have been reading the marketing blog posts published on this site, you know that researchers from Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey received funding from the USDA Federal State Marketing Improvement Program ( to survey consumers residing in the three state about their wine purchasing and consumption habits.  Though we are still conducting surveys and analyzing data, you can read some of the results by clicking on this link:  Results from this study will further benefit the industry.

I hope that some of you will find this offer interesting and chose to participate.  I think that this is a great opportunity for tasting rooms to learn from visitors and for the wine and grape group at Penn State to learn about potential areas of wine marketing research.  In addition, with the group’s goal of providing information to the industry through Extension efforts, your participation will also allow us to help educate tasting rooms in the region about tasting room visitors’ needs, wants, and interests.  Our hope is that this consumer-based survey can help us tailor ways to help you improve your tasting-room marketing initiatives and increase foot traffic and sales.

If you would like to participate, please click on the following link and complete the survey by Friday, January 15th:

Please contact me at if you have any questions.

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