How to Choose the Best Winery Tasting Room POS System

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As the owner or manager of a tasting room, winery, wine bar or wine bistro, you need to choose the best POS system for your business. With so much to consider when running a business, you're looking for guidance regarding the most important POS features, that will help you save time, do more, increase efficiency, reduce costs, bring in more business and increase profit. This guide to choosing the best point of sale for wine tasting, wineries and wine bars will show you what you need to know to make an informed choice regarding the most valuable tool in your establishment.

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Wine history

The many faces of wine - sacred, profane, sophisticated, casual. These contrasting associations speak to the long and varied history that humanity has had with the drink. Wine has been carved into rock walls in Persia, painted on papyrus in Egypt and features in numerous greek poems. Indeed, the cultivation, production, and consumption of wine vastly predates the written record. In ancient times, wine was already itself ancient.

After all this time, there is still a mystery to wine. Maybe it's a smooth cabernet with subtle hints of tobacco and hay under a blanket of plum and blackberry or a spicy sauvignon blanc that kicks you initially with kiwi notes before relaxing into a subtle orange with hints of tea and honey. Only after many years of enjoyment, and some guidance, are the secrets of wine slowly - though never entirely - revealed to us.

American wine

The history of American winemaking is far more recent. Although native grapes were found in the new world, European explorers, familiar with winemaking found them to be unfit. Later, with some trial and error, areas of the northeast, such as the Finger Lakes region of New York were able to produce suitable wines. But it was in Spanish California, that a climate was found where traditional wine grape cultivars from Europe were able to thrive. In the mid-1800's, just as California became a US state, the Napa Valley became a vanguard of serious American wine production. Today, California as a whole contributes nearly 90% of the entirety of US wine production.

After prohibition passed in 1920, the still yet developing knowledge of quality winemaking in America nearly died out. Over the 13 year period of prohibition, aged vinters passed away, and wine-grape vines were torn out and replaced with more profitable crops. After prohibition, production of American wine resumed, but quality had suffered, and tastes had changed. A generation having never had good wine, these young people favored cheap, poor quality, sweet and fortified wines. And so it was through the late 1970's when something began to change. The quality of US wines started to rise as the economic boom, and strong dollar introduced more Americans to quality wines from Europe. In the 80's and 90's more American wine producers were considered on par with European winemakers.

Rapid growth in US wine sales

Historically, Americans were never as interested in wine as their European counterparts - even before prohibition. It's only in recent times with the broad appeal of affordable yet higher quality table wines marketed to the so-called millennial generation, has the US wine market grown to such a degree. According to, wine currently accounts for about 16% of the US retail alcohol market. Although most American wine drinkers are also enjoying craft beers and spirits, America has become the largest wine-consuming country by volume - even out-drinking France!

Types of wine tasting concepts

Winery - These independent growers and fermenters of wine grapes feature tours, classes for learning about wine-making and a truly customized tasting experience where guests may get to spend time with the vintners themselves. The tasting room functions as a showroom for the winery, attracting buyers large and small to purchase wholesale direct.

Curated tasting room - This type of tasting room functions as a distributor for select wineries. Lead by an experienced sommelier and wine-dealer, members of the public are given the opportunity to try multiple varieties of wine to test their palet. When they find wines they really enjoy, they can buy it by the bottle or case.

Wine bar - Part bar, part wine learning center, part pub. The goal of a wine bar is to give patrons options and a unique wine experience at a sweet-spot price between wine by the glass at a restaurant and an accessibly priced small-batch wine. Some wine bars prepare food, but the focus is certainly on the wine in a bar atmosphere.

Winery-bistro - This concept restaurant is like a cafe that serves wine. The focus is placed on pairing the wins offered with wholesome, simple and tasty bistro fare. Beyond the requisite salads, and charcuterie and cheese boards, guests expect to find exciting and unique dishes featured that change seasonally and with new wines the restaurant buys.

Restaurant and Cellar - This type of wine concept has shifted much more to food while continuing to appeal to wine-drinkers. Rather than finding food to pair with a certain wine, here we would find a wine to pair with the food. An extensive wine cellar is offered to patrons as a feature, allowing them to purchase more expensive and older vintages if they choose.

Choose the best iPad POS system

Classy, elegant, modern, sophisticated - these aren't usually words that come to mind when thinking about POS systems unless we're talking about an iPad based point of sale. Simple, reliable, durable and beautiful, the iPad embodies values associated with the discriminating connoisseur of fine wines. An ultra-thin yet powerful glass and aluminum tablet set in a minimalist frame is a striking addition to any countertop.

But iPad also features ease of use and reliability that are unprecedented. Choosing the correct point of sale or cash register app from the App store builds on the values of iPad, ease, simplicity, grace, and class - by providing a stable, intuitive and powerful point of sale solution for your winery tasting room or restaurant.

POS features for wineries and tasting rooms

The best point of sale for your winery is one that enhances the intimacy of your guest interactions, allowing you to focus your attention on their questions and their needs so you can serve them at the highest level. Features included in a robust iPad POS solution are tailored to help you do more to enhance guest satisfaction.

Easy to use - The first requirement for the best iPad POS app is that it is easy to use. You’re there to serve guests and sell wine, not struggle with technology or have to learn a whole system. Pick it up and try it. It’s easy to use because you already know how to use your phone. Everything just works. And that’s because the best POS system for wineries and tasting rooms is designed with hospitality and service professionals like you in mind. It doesn’t take a geek to figure it out.

Detailed product descriptions - At your fingertips access detailed information on each wine. Easily answer questions about the year, origin, the type of grapes used, the taste - anything you'd like to use to tell the story. A simple pinch to zoom in on the product opens a detailed description, and product features display that you can read from or show your buyers.

Wireless, so you can get personal - Proximity is important when it comes to creating an intimate environment for guests. You want to serve them where they are comfortable, if that's at the counter, a table or lounging in a sofa, you want to accommodate their needs. With wireless iPad technology, you can do just that. Walk around, talk with guests, see what they like and offer advice, information and order options for the variety of wines and services you have featured.

Mobile Payment and Tableside Authorization - Engage your customer and when they decide what they’d like to buy the best POS system also offers a convenient mobile payment solution. You don’t have to leave, just swipe or insert their card. The most convenient tableside payment system also has on-screen authorization, allowing you to omit paper receipts. Just turn the tablet toward the customer and capture the customer’s authorization using sign-on-screen

Features to help you sell

Tasting packages - Pre-build custom bundles or allow your guests to mix and choose the wines they want to include in their "flight." Use the beautiful and easy to navigate POS on-screen order menu as a digital catalog to guide guests through your selection.

Sell by by the glass or by the bottle - Easily sell wine by the glass with just a tap. Using modifiers, one more tap to make it a bottle. Update your wine list at any time - the easiest to configure POS system makes simple to update pricing and availability of people’s favorite wines.

Automatic 86’d - When the stock is depleted, avoid the awkward situation of over-selling or being unable to fulfill a whole order. The best point of sale for inventory management dims the item when stock levels reach zero; only a manager can override.

Charcuterie, cheese boards and antipasti - It's engaging and fun to create custom cutting boards with your guests. Build a board from a customized selection of meats, cheeses, fruits, crackers, and nuts. In just a few taps it's sent to the kitchen to get it ready. Are you ready for your creamy goat cheese, unfiltered honey, richcapicola, kalamata olive and dried dates platter?

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You can even sort your cutting board selections by the type of wines they pair with, group by types like meat or fruit or based on a "sweet" and "savory" schema. However you like to organize it, the most flexible POS system will allow you to build it the way you envision.

Retail and other items - Even though the best POS for wineries is a great hospitality point of sale with the features you need to serve guests many wineries offer more than just a tasting room. You need retail features to sell items in the gift shop. You may sell various tour packages with add-ons that can be facilitated with modifiers. If you keep an inn on site or offer, B&B stays the best POS system for wineries will also allow you to sell items and charge them to the room, using a custom layout and floor plan.

Features for wine-bars

Security - In any cash-heavy business security and employee accountability are important. The most secure POS system for wine-bar restaurants allows you to lock down actions that require a high trust level with per-user security permissions. Restricting tasks such as discounts, comps to managers or owners helps ensure they are applied properly. Additional permissions like modifying sent orders or those created by other users, change tips or issue refunds also should be locked down to only specific users who have been properly trained and are determined to be trustworthy.

Drawer management keeps track of all transactions and shows you how much cash should be in the drawer at all times. Perform audits to maintain accountability and print out per user end of shift reports as well as drawer reports with transaction details. The most secure POS system for wine bars helps you keep track of cash and credit transactions so you know there's no funny business going on.

Inventory tracking - When your inventory is tracked in your POS you can perform audits to know if you're suffering from "shrink." If a case or a bottle turns up missing, you'll know! This increases staff accountability and makes sure you catch a problem before it becomes a run-away situation.

Bar tabs - The easiest to use point of sale for wine tasting rooms lets you swipe a card to open a bar tab. The guest's name is placed on the order so you can easily keep track. Another important feature is that you can set the pre-authorization amount in the settings. This is a key capability because you don't want to pre-authorize for $5 when the average check is $200!

Automated Happy Hour - imagine configuring specials once. With the best point of sale system for iPad, you set it and forget it. Timed promotions run in the background automatically applying the correct price without any need to manually discount or select "happy hour pricing." Just tap the drink and the happy hour price is instantly applied. As soon as happy hour is over, the price automatically returns to normal.

Credit Payments and EMV / PCI - There are two important standards that pertain to credit card data security and fraud prevention. The most secure POS system for wine bars ensures your liability risk is reduced by maintaining compliance with both of these standards.

EMV - Otherwise known as “chip card” technology, supported cards are inserted instead of swiping the magnetic strip. This provides additional levels of security that come from transaction records being saved directly on the user’s chip. Additionally, card issuers can deactivate the chip on a stolen or fraudulent card, making it unable to be used.

Failure of restaurant or winery owners to comply with EMV standards by not supplying EVM compatible hardware creates a liability scenario for the merchant in the case of fraud. The credit card companies now consider the risk to be on the business owner for chargebacks associated with fraud, for failure to implement an EMV chip-card system.

The most secure point of sale register for wine bars offers compatible EMV card readers that suit your business, mobile or stationary; so you can best serve your client's needs.

PCI - The PCI DSS is a set of guidelines that must be followed by every merchant processing payment from the credit card issuers. The PCI data security standards are specific obligations on the part of merchants regarding the security of sensitive customer data. The goal of PCI DSS is to reduce or eliminate fraud caused by the leaking of personal data associated with your clients. If any sensitive customer data is stored on your systems and it has been breached, losses and fees will be applied to your merchant account, and you may lose the privilege of being able to process credit payments.

Choose the most secure POS for payments systems that help you narrow your PCI DSS compliance scope. To do so, pick a POS system for your bistro or wine bar that uses P2PE encryption standards and card data tokenization to securely lock your customer’s data. In fact, with Peer2Peer encryption, the card reader hardware performs this data protection as the card is read, ensuring that data is never stored on your device. By never storing customer data, you protect your valuable client’s interests and preserve their trust.

Features for tasting room bistros and winery restaurants

If your winery features a restaurant or your food draws interest as much as the wine, it's a natural pairing. Your tasting room POS should accommodate your winery restaurant concept and provide all the tools and features you need to provide superior service.

A Fully featured restaurant POS - The best POS for wineries isn't just going to give you everything you need for a tasting room point of sale, it's also an affordable, fully featured iPad POS system for restaurants. All the features you'd expect in a point of sale for full-service restaurants, reports, data, user management, menu customization and more.

No limit menu - The most flexible POS system lets you customize your menu how you see fit. With modifiers and menu options you can easily organize your menu and customize products on the fly.

Detailed product descriptions give even brand new servers the ability to answer any questions about ingredients or allergens that a guest may have.

And you have no limit on menus, submenus, and items you can add or how many times the menu can be edited. Changing the menu is easy and intuitive - learn how to build a menu in 15 minutes because it just makes sense! No additional costs for menu help either - that's the best tablet POS system.

Fast service - Helping servers serve faster with a clean, modern, classy intuitive design that looks at home in your winery restaurant. As easy to use as an iPhone, orders are entered quickly. Using wireless tablet technology lets servers take orders tableside and with a tap, send items to the kitchen to fire, drinks to the bar and wine orders down to the cellar to be brought up. That’s right - no more handwritten notes and no more servers hanging out in the kitchen.

Accurate Orders - When servers order by table and seat number there is no confusion when a table is served, who gets what. Guest's plates are served in front of them, and they feel the personal touch. And when it's time to pay, the best POS makes that easy too - If guests split checks, there should be no confusion. Auto-split by seat number, combine splits or split even. And there's no waiting around for a check, with mobile payments and sign on screen authorization your guests can get the service they want quickly while moving them through the payment steps efficiently helps you seat more guests per service interval.

Sales tracking and Labor management - Along with a fully featured POS system for full-service restaurants comes an expectation for in-depth business analytics and reporting. The best tablet point of sale for wine bars and bistros gives you a back office portal with detailed reports about sales, inventory, and labor. The best point of sale for restaurant management also handles your labor with an integrated time-clock and shows you how much each employee costs on a live feed. Compare labor costs to sales to determine if you need to send someone home.

And the best cloud-based POS system lets you check all these things anywhere you have internet, on your computer, personal tablet or phone. You can check in and see how things are going in the winery without having to drive in!

Choose the best POS company for your winery

It's not just important to choose the best POS software, hardware, and features. The most important thing to consider is choosing the best point of sale system company to do business with. They can advertize features, prices, and functions but what matters most is how your POS service provider treats their customers, how well they understand your industry and if they care about making their services affordable to hospitality entrepreneurs like you.

The best POS company is firmly grounded in an understanding of the hospitality and restaurant industry and designed their POS app for those in the hospitality business. They understand you're under pressure and every moment is critical. When you have a full dining room or an important client waiting, and you need help, you want a POS service that answers your calls with a human and not a recording. Agents who enjoy talking with you, that reply right away to your email and spend as much time as it takes to get your issue completely taken care of.

You are important, and you shouldn't be put in a "queue" or "answered in 1-2 business days". The best POS company understands this and treats you with the kind of service that you provide your patrons.

This guide shows you how to choose the best point of sale system for your winery, bistro, wine-bar or wine cellar. When choosing the best POS for tasting rooms, remember the important features mentioned in this article and look for a system that has the features you need to manage your business more efficiently, is secure, reliable easy to use and is supported by a POS company that cares about your success and values your business.

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