Tasting rooms will shake out in the end
A word of comfort to those who feel there are too many wine tasting rooms in downtown Sonoma: It will all shake out in the end. Some of the recently-opened businesses will thrive; some will find reality to be less rewarding than they had projected and will quietly close their doors. ‘Twas ever thus ...
The only meaningful vote, in terms of which businesses will exist and which won’t, is to vote with your purchasing dollars. We may bemoan the fact that the old Food City grocery, Mission Hardware and Rexall Drug stores (I used to patronize each of these businesses) are no longer here, but as long as people find the prices and selection to be more attractive at the larger chain stores, these small independents will fall by the wayside.
If you shop at Baksheesh and Bram and Readers’ Books and Sonoma Silver, etc., then good on ya. If you don’t, then all the bemoaning of lost local retail businesses is absolutely meaningless.
In small towns across this country, we see empty, boarded up storefronts in dead or dying downtown districts. We are extraordinarily lucky in our little corner of the planet; we have a thriving, vibrant downtown with a healthy local economy. As long as there is a desire and demand for this business model that accentuates what is uniquely our product (the wine we produce; the venue to present and sample the fruits of our labors) in an enjoyable as well as educational environment, this model will continue to exist.
Let’s also define what constitutes a tasting room; if the model is to serve wines by the glass (or bottle) in a sit-down setting (with the hours creeping later into the evening) let’s call it what it is: a wine bar. If the model is to present and sample the wares, encouraging guests to taste broadly but moderately, to utilize the dump bucket and to educate about wine, that, then, is truly a tasting room.
And to (very loosely) paraphrase “Scoop” Nisker, “If you don’t see the business that you like, make one of your own.”