Here’s what’s going on, and this was requested of me from a friend who is working very hard in a tasting room…

For those of you who travel to wine country, and enjoy the wine education that comes from the people who pour wine for you in tasting rooms, a secret that the wine industry holds is that these people – as educated about wine as they are – are not making more than $12 to $14 an hour.

In California, that’s not much more than the $8.00 minimum wage. They have to dress really well, be really well groomed, keep up on all things wine… many of them taking wine enrichment classes, and yet they do not make very much money.

Imagine trying to live on that… Also, most of them are hired part time, so their employers don’t have to pay them any benefits.

Occasionally, a visitor will think, “This person was so special, and provided such great service, perhaps I should show my appreciation” and offer a gratuity to the person. I remember the very few times, in my combined five years of being a wine educator, that I received gratuities. My day was made… it really was.

All of the people in the service industry…  like cab drivers, waiters/waitresses, doorman, room service, concierge, etc. all provide great service, and we unthinkingly acknowledge the benefit that they bring to our lives with some form of gratuity.

I can’t help but wonder, what will be the tipping point for this tipping point?

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