On our last Long Island winery trip, my significant other and I ventured down to the South Fork where, in contrast to the bustling North Fork, there are very few wineries.   We entered the well-lit tasting room at Channing Daughters Winery, which had a view that would undoubtedly be quite beautiful during a season other than winter.

Although there were others in the tasting room, we were immediately greeted with warmth and enthusiasm.  There were a number of wines on the tasting flight and the person pouring the wine offered an additional pour or two of other wines that were open.  Another winery staff member started speaking with us and ended up taking over the tasting.  He provided equally pleasant conversation and offered some additional wines to try.

We learned a lot about their wines and winemaking process.  When he stepped away for a moment to help another customer, the first staff member immediately came back to offer her assistance to us.  Truly excellent customer service.  The wine was not exactly our style but we were already discussing which bottle we wanted to purchase because we firmly believe in rewarding a fabulous winery experience.

In addition, they made wise suggestions about pairings for the wine.  I ended up deciding on a white wine that we were told pairs well with Thai food.  As a vegetarian, I like these more broad food pairing suggestions (how many times can I hear about pairings with steak and fish – surely wines are more versatile than that).  Plus, you never know what will appeal to your customer – my mother and I go out for Thai food every few months and I typically bring the wine (it did end up pairing quite well).  I’m also a sucker for when they say the wine would be good baked into brownies or paired with anything chocolate.

Toward the end of the tasting, the second person helping us started heading to the back room and said, “Hold on.  I like you guys.” He returned with a freshly baked loaf of bread from a local bakery that they typically provide to wine club members.  I am a huge bread fan (we didn’t dare mention that my significant other is gluten free) and if I wasn’t already going to purchase a bottle of wine, I certainly would have now. If we are given something for free (extra pours of wine, a loaf of bread), the principle of reciprocity can kick in and we want to do something in return (like make a purchase).

How often do you come away from a winery experience with such excellent service and a freshly baked loaf of bread?