This is not going to be a story about the wines of Tablas Creek because there’s no need to tell that story. We all know their wines are absolutely fabulous and if you don’t think they are it’s probably because you’ve never had it or you prefer drinking motor oil or some other nasty crap. Instead, this is a story about one of the Paso Robles wineries that understands and follows through on every aspect of this business. Not only have I never heard anyone (that I can recall) say anything negative about Tablas Creek, I have never had an even remotely bad experience there or anything bordering on something “not good”.
Why am I writing this about Paso Robles Wineries?
It goes back to many of the posts you might have read on here before about customer service or social media and how much I love this area. I want to see this area succeed, be a leader, and the wineries here to win at the pesky game of business. Tablas Creek is not the only one getting it right but since we were just there this past Saturday I thought I would use them as the example.
Let’s go through all the wine business aspects that I can think of.
Personally, I think they’ve done an amazing job. Their marketing, from all that I’ve seen, is just right. It’s not constantly punching you in the face but they aren’t absent either. They have built up an extremely reputable brand each step of the way. The logo is what I would describe as classic. There is nothing in this category that rubs me the wrong way and as I say, I think each aspect of this has done nothing but help grow a solid, respected, quality brand.
I’m not sure how old their new tasting room facility is but it is relatively new. As you drive into the parking lot you are greeted with vines, lots of outdoor seating, umbrellas for shade on those hot Paso days, and a welcoming walk to the front doors. Right outside at the front door they have those reusable water bottles filled with water for patrons to stay hydrated (you can’t take these with you but I’m sure they sell them).
The inside isn’t all that big but it’s set up brilliantly. There’s an island in the middle of the main room with merchandise to buy and around the room against the walls are the tasting areas. There is also a side room with another two tasting bars but in the main room there are three tasting bars. It’s brilliant because the tasting bars are spaced out nicely for the MASS amounts of traffic they get in there.
I mentioned this in a blog post a year or so ago but the people are amazing. It doesn’t matter who pours for you they will meet or exceed your expectations of a tasting room attendant. Two things come to mind, 1) they must train their staff thoroughly and likely do continual training and 2) when you see this kind of quality in the people you know that comes from the top down. So my assumption is that the owners at Tablas are awesome people. If you have an asshole in charge the staff tend to emulate that…when you have a good human being at the top, it trickles down.
One other thing I really dig about the folks in the tasting room is that they’re not up in your face nor are they aloof and non attentive…they’re like the porridge that was juuuuust right.
Like I said in the beginning I am not going to say it’s good because we already know that. The interesting and very cool thing to me is that Tablas is one of a small number of wineries locally that are really playing with extremely unique varieties (to me anyways) of grapes. I had never heard of Picpoul Blanc prior to Tablas a handful of years back and they recently planted Picardan. I saw Jason Haas (Partner and General Manager at Tablas) on Twitter this morning saying they were messing with Terret Noir out there today for harvest.
This could be lumped in with marketing up above but I made it a separate topic because of my addiction to social media. Overall I think they do very well, especially in comparison to most of the other local wineries. I know they are active on Twitter and Facebook, possibly Instagram as well. I like that they post photos relevant to what’s happening at the winery or during harvest. One area that they have excelled at is their blog. They have won numerous “Winery Blog of the Year” awards and post relatively regularly.
As I have stated before, wineries need to be involved in social media. Pick two or three social platforms and dominate them. Promote your area and other wineries. Don’t broadcast, instead inform and be part of the community. I think Tablas Creek does this pretty well. There’s always room for improvement but at least they are regularly active. My advice on blogging is that wineries should be blogging at least once per week. That’s 52 blog posts for the year…if I can write 5 or more per week I think a winery can handle 52 per year.
Tablas Creek is part of the Paso community, they are involved, they give back, they take part in events and do a fantastic job promoting Paso Robles when they do tastings outside the area. The most important thing about them is something I actually do not know for sure but I assume it because of how consistently awesome they do…they don’t sit back and rest. They don’t stop working and let their reputation carry them. They stay ahead of their reputation and are working toward the next thing.
All of these pieces put together make them what they are but I firmly believe that the people of Tablas Creek and the vision are the two biggest things they’ve got down, people being number one. Having quality people and impeccable customer service is not difficult but it does take effort. You actually have to care about people. We all see a lack of this everyday when we go to tasting rooms, restaurants, or wherever. You know where you are made to feel good and where you’re not…which place do you go back to?
I think the key takeaway is to stay ahead of your reputation and make giving a shit your number one priority.
This post was not written to promote Tablas Creek (although I know it does that), they were used as an example of what is being done right locally and yes, there are a handful of other local wineries I could have used as the example but as I said in the beginning, we were just there on Saturday so they were top of mind when I had the idea to write this.