Once upon a time I would have been part of the collective who cringed at the idea of mixing children with cellar doors. Surely it’s only the cashed-up couples or retirees that you want through your cellar door to taste in tranquility?
If that’s what you’re thinking, it’s time to reconsider, as a large amount of people visiting wine regions across the country are families with young children – and they’re ready to take on everything your winery has to offer, including buying wines. If they have travelled a long way, the experience is certainly more memorable when the children are welcomed and there’s something to help entertain them. So not surprisingly, it’s the wineries that are catering for all different types of visitors that are reaping the rewards.
There are countless examples of wineries who know how to look after every member of the family– Logan Wines in Mudgee, Scarborough Wines in the Hunter Valley, Yering Station in the Yarra Valley and Laurance Wines in Margaret River are just a few that spring to mind. It’s not the primary business focus, of course, but it’s more about ensuring the experience at cellar door caters for diverse groups, keeping younger visitors entertained so you can focus on telling your stories and taking customers through your wines.
Interested? Here are a few ideas to make your cellar door more family friendly:
- Offer non-alcoholic drinks to the children – sounds simple but juice or even small bottles of water for the kids go a long way.
- Designated drivers in the group may also appreciate water or a coffee or tea before you take the winetasters through your range.
- Thought about purchasing custom-made kids goodie bags? Many pubs and restaurants (particularly overseas) have discovered the benefit of Busy Nippers Bags – check out www.busynippers.com.au and check out their affordable range of colouring bags which my children continue to love every time they are given one.
- Stock up on wine books targeted at children – George the Clever Grape by Peter Healy or My Dad has Purple Hands by Wayne Dutschke are great examples. But raiding through your old kids book collections can also do the trick.
- Why not place a toy box in the corner of the room to pull out when kids arrive? Ask parents that work in your business – I’m sure you’ll find a few ready to hand over old toys.
- Do you have the space for outdoor furniture or play equipment? Commercial-grade play equipment can be quite affordable and keep the children entertained outside.
- This idea is more dependent on your budget but if it allows, think about having a tablet device/iPad with games that the kids can play – there are ways to secure these to prevent theft and can guarantee the kids will be mesmorised in minutes (have you ever been to an Apple store and seen how the kids flock to the ipads?).
Regardless of their age, if the kids are occupied then the parents have more time to enjoy the wines, learn about your winery story and will then be more inclined to purchase. It makes sense for everyone!
Been to a cellar door lately that catered for families? Or are you a cellar door that has a unique experience for children? Love to hear about it in the comments below so we can be sure to visit and spread the word on our next wine region adventure.