Vin65 Blog

DTC wine thoughts served up by Vin65

Corinna Wang
September 22, 2015 | Ecommerce, Marketing, Vin65 Platform | Corinna Wang

Squashing Negative Reviews

Reviews are important for your winery business. Whether they're product reviews (your wine), experience reviews (your tasting room), or customer service reviews (your team) - they help people determine if they should buy from you, visit you, or what to expect once they get there.

Product Reviews

If you don't have product reviews turned on for your website - that is your first step. Open up the conversation and allow customers to share their experiences. After all, people love talking about wine.

Your second step is to utilize VinTank to monitor what people are saying about your brand. Bring comments and mentions from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and FourSquare to one place where you know who the customer is - and can treat them accordingly.


Everyone likes seeing positive reviews of their brand - but what happens when the review is bad? How do you handle negative reviews with tact?

Respond promptly and consistently

Most likely, a negative review is from a new experience. Answering promptly ensures you're showing the customer that you're in tune with the complaint - and are ready to correct it.

Be real and admit your mistakes

Even if complaints are unjustified - don't get defensive. Maybe you were understaffed last Saturday - so rather than say "We did the best we could with limited staff" be real and say "We were short staffed last Saturday and failed to provide you with the service that we should have - and for that, we're sorry. We're going to make this better going forward so this doesn't happen again."

Correct inaccuracies

Let's say staff was great and your tasting manager remembers this customer as difficult; demanding additional tastes of library wine. It's okay to put the customer in their place - but keep it polite. "We understand you were disappointed in the level of service - however - Sarah did allow you a few tastes of our library wine free of charge and spent some time with you one-on-one discussing the wine composition."

Highlight your strengths

End the response with some KPI's from your winery. "We do staff training every week and keep everyone up-to-date with current releases." Or "We pride ourselves on being organic and reducing our carbon footprint."

Write like a person

Be professional - but not stuffy. You can leave that to your legal team. "ABC Winery values you as a customer and hope you will return" (boring!) vs. "Thanks for visiting us - we'd love to see you again soon! Bring friends!"

Take it offline

Some people just won't quit. After a couple of exchanges - it's best to take it offline. Provide a phone number or personal email address where the conversation can continue out of the public eye.

Provide compensation (if necessary)

This call is completely up to your winery. Would you refund a purchase just because someone didn't like your Merlot? Was it just them - or have there been several complaints? Was the wine damaged due to heat or worse - was it corked? You have a bottom line - but try to view it from your customers point of view.

Ask loyal customers to share their experiences

Beef up your positive reviews by asking some of your best customers. A simple ask will do the trick - you can even sweeten the deal with a giveaway, such as a discount on the next purchase, access to a premium wine, or a free tasting. 

Negative reviews happen - but they can actually serve your winery by humanizing your brand and showcasing your great customer service.


Mark's Gravatar
@ Sep 22, 2015 at 10:58 AM
Corinna-A lot of good advice there, however I do tend to think that brands responding to every single negative comment, doesn't send the right message. There's going to be some negative stuff out there, but the overwhelming response is positive, IMO, better to let the few bad ones go. Consumers are smart enough to block out the noise.

Corinna's Gravatar
@ Sep 22, 2015 at 1:13 PM
@Mark - you're right - wineries should focus on the positive reviews. Most likely these people will recommend your wine to friends, join your club, etc.

However, the bad reviews give your brand a chance to make things right. It shows you really care about great customer service - and it shows people that you are on top of what people are saying about your brand.

Customers get to choose where they talk about you - it's no longer a simple phone call or email. People use tons of social media networks, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Wine Apps, etc. Wineries have to talk to their customers, good or bad - rather than remain silent.

Sandra Hess's Gravatar
Sandra Hess
@ Sep 22, 2015 at 4:13 PM
GREAT tips Corinna. Thank you. As Amazon, Target and other national retailers continue to pave the way for wineries selling wine online, Peer Reviews are now expected in the online shopping experience. Moderating reviews is a best practice for wineries as like art, wine is a personal experience and not everyone has the same tastes and experiences. Leveraging honest and positive reviews to sell wine online is key to growing direct wine sales and increasing average order value.



Corinna's Gravatar
@ Sep 22, 2015 at 5:03 PM
Thanks @Sandra for your comments. Totally agree!

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