SAMPLE COPY from Lynda R. Paulson ~ PHOTO: Jo Diaz

Romancing the Grape ~ Relationship Selling for Hospitality Professionals by Lynda R. Paulson should be mandatory reading for all winery tasting room personnel. This is always how I sold wine, while working in a tasting room, because my studies and background are in PR. That said, it’s a rare combination walking into a tasting room. That’s where I began to learn about wine. For the average “Jo,” however, backgrounds are as varied as could possibly be…

  • From mechanical engineers
  • Retirees from any profession
  • Those just starting a wine career – as I was, seguing from radio broadcasting
  • To insurance sales people, let’s say, who love wine and want to work on the weekends, in a tasting room

All are welcome, and all should have a basic understanding of what they’re actually doing. Lynda’s book HAS spelled it all out very succinctly.


  • First Impressions
  • Personality and Body Language
  • Romancing the Grape
  • Facts, Benefits and Bridges
  • Buying Signals
  • Creative Selling, Add-ons, Phone Sales
  • Busy Weekends and Special Events
  • Your worst Day: Handling Crisis
  • Wine Club Sign-Ups
  • Follow-Up, Come Back Soon!

I highly recommend this book to any and all tasting room managers. If you don’t have a tasting room manager who is so invested (and why not, I can only wonder), then get the book for yourself, tasting room personnel. Odds are, if you practice what’s in the book, some day you will have the skill-set to manage tasting room personnel.

Romancing the Grape will make a huge difference in your career. Working in a tasting room is more than a glorified part-time employee. It’s a bonafide sales job, and you’re invited to be and excellent professional. You’ll gain all of the knowledge and confidence to become that shining star!

Romancing the Grape has been much needed for a long time

My favorite entry in the entire book, since I’m also a huge fan (and friend) of Julie Johnson at Tres Sabores:

At the small, farmlike, Tres Sabores winery in the Napa Valley, members of the “Wine Society of Tres Sabores” are treated like close friends. I watched the owner/winemaker, Julie Johnson, greet a group of club members, as they arrived to pick up their allotments. She stopped what she was doing and came out to hug them and chat about news of the wine year.

This is the beginning of anyone not familiar with relational selling that you’ve got to go the extra mile to meet and greet everyone arriving.

About Lynda R. Paulson

Lynda R. Paulson has received widespread recognition as a winery communication skills and public speaking coach for more than 35 years, working with more than 600 wineries in the U.S.

She is also renowned across the country for founding and leading the Executive Speaking Experience, a powerful, personal, interactive program focused on public speaking and presentation skills for very small groups of individuals. She has coached numerous business and sales executives, celebrities, wine critics, upper management, and thought leaders to prepare and present their messages. Her coaching techniques have been crafted over decades for clientele such as AT&T, American Express, Disney, AT&T, ING, IBM, Oracle and many more companies, and countless individuals. Formerly a Vice-President at Dale Carnegie Training, she was also their first woman instructor in the United States.

Paulson is the author of The Executive Persuader: How to Be a Powerful Speaker, and has published many articles on sales, customer service, people management, and team building.