Mystery Shoppers Reveal Wine Tasting Room Trends in New York State

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation is dedicated to supporting our members’ business development in a rapidly changing world. Along with the myriad of services and seminars we provide throughout the year, NYWGF is often able to take advantage of new opportunities that arise to benefit our members and the industry. 

In the Spring and Summer of 2022, NYWGF’s longstanding relationship with the WISE Academy resulted in the opportunity to provide ten Tier 3 Winery members with a FREE Mystery Shopper analysis. From these results, we hoped to provide valuable intel to each of the wineries and understand more about our overall industry strengths and areas of opportunities for sales growth. 

A total of 41 mystery shops were completed (20 in Finger Lakes and 21 in Long Island) for the ten individual wineries (5 in Long Island and 5 in the Finger Lakes). 

The WISE Academy Mystery Shopper process provided members with two important scores. First, an Overall Customer Satisfaction Score, which measured how a shopper would recommend the guest experience to a friend and second, the WISE Triple Score which focused on business objectives such as asking for an order, effectively presenting a Wine Club offering, and capturing contact data for customers. 

The goal was to have both a high Customer Satisfaction and WISE Triple Score on every visit.

Our Strengths 

  • New York wineries hire knowledgeable and passionate people. Overall, our members provided good hospitality, were prepared for guests, and Tasting Room staff showed etiquette, passion, and knowledge.  
  • Guests tend to be satisfied with their New York Winery Tasting Room experiences, especially when they receive individualized attention. One way to increase overall guest satisfaction is by adjusting staff-to-guest ratio. 

Our Opportunities  

  • Providing an experience that brings a winery’s unique brand story to life can increase sales. Having a high level of service and hospitality leads to more sales and overall guest satisfaction –visitors will not only come back, but they’ll also join clubs and mailing lists too.  
  • Sales collateral can help do some of the ‘heavy lifting’ of sales. Ensuring our marketing and sales materials are available at the time of tasting will do a lot of the work for the staff by planting sales seeds and make asking for a sale more natural. 

“Effective silent selling covers the many ways your brand is reflected, which your guests can be subconsciously sold on. It’s everything within the tasting room including design, merchandising, printed collateral materials, signage, and other items that encourage guests to purchase products. It’s more than pretty displays; it’s subconscious emotional triggers to buy.”

  • Building in time for engagement and rapport ensures trust. Emotionally engaging experiences will have visitors coming back for more. Guests pick up on “scripted” presentations, but engaging dialogue builds relationships, gets club members, and sells more wine.

Benchmarking New York  

The WISE Academy has conducted over 5,000 mystery shops across the country and gathered an industry average of many Mystery Shopping metrics, specifically on the WISE Triple Score – those metrics that keep and build the DTC channels. Check out how the 10 New York wineries performed against those metrics:  

  1. Asked for the sale = 59% (Industry Average: 73%) 
    Finger Lakes = 65%, Long Island = 52% 
  1. Effectively presented the wine club = 0% (Industry Average: 38%)  
    Finger Lakes = 0%, Long Island = 0% 
  1. Attempted to capture contact data = 11% (Industry Average: 18%) 
    Finger Lakes = 23%, Long Island = 0% 

A Deeper Dive into the Regions and Data

By separating the shopping experiences into the two regions, we can see what each excels at, or if there are areas of opportunity across the state. This separation tells an interesting story that we invite you to learn more about by clicking here. 

The Work Continues

We are all about staying focused on the positives here at NYWGF. The WISE Academy Mystery Shopper report shows sus many areas in which these ten winery members across two of our major wine regions excel…and areas where tremendous growth opportunities exist. NYWGF will continue to look for tools and resources to help our members better take advantage of those areas! 

For now, we invite you to view our recent webinars addressing critical labor topics:  


Keep your talent & explore varied labor pools. This program will discuss benefits such as:

  • Shared Work saves labor costs when seasonality affects the winery & vineyard that impacts your business
  • Easily adjust and customize schedules to retain talented staff for the work available Softens any supply chain, seasonal adjustment or decreased demand issue
  • No cost recruitment via Career Centers, NYS Job Bank and Jobs Express to position for growth
  • No cost career fairs (mini/regional/virtual)
  • Tax saving hiring incentives


December 7 @ 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Join us as Business Partner Four Points Inc. introduces a Wellness Program that provides resources for both employees and employers.

Click Here to Register

This session is FREE and open to all wineries and growers in New York state.

Coming Up Next… 

Stay tuned in January as NYWGF unveils a series of pre-recorded webinars focusing on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of major New York wine topics including our leading varietals and AVAs: 

  • Intro to New York Wine  
  • New York Riesling  
  • New York Cabernet Franc  
  • Sparkling Wines of New York  
  • New York Native & Hybrid Varietals 
  • AVA Spotlights on: Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Long Island, and Niagara Escarpment 

Live sessions for your Tasting Room and Sales staff will be present FREE of charge to Members in April 2023. 

Also in 2023, look for exciting New York Wine Marketing Toolkits from NWYGF for your Winery Tasting room. These materials can help support the sales process, just as the WISE Academy report suggests. NYWGF has surveyed wineries across the state and will be producing the items you said were needed most. 

We look forward to supporting the industry and our members with new solutions and tools. As always, if you have any feedback or ideas please reach out to Jennifer Cooper, Membership & Events Manager at [email protected]. Thank you! 

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New York Wine & Grape Foundation

The mission of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation is to promote the world-class image of New York grapes and wines from our diverse regions to responsibly benefit farmers, producers and consumers through innovative marketing, research, communication, and advocacy.