Tipping in the tasting room?

Went up to Napa, visited a couple of places. Both were quite busy, and the tasting room staff who were helping us were nonetheless gracious and attentive. I gave both a cash gratuity on the way out.
Must say, I do not ordinarily make a habit of this, but it seemed appropriate in the setting of people doing a great job in a busy setting, with the expected Covid restrictions in place.
Curious as to whether the Board folks here customarily tip in tasting rooms? Does it matter how expensive the wine is? Who is doing the tasting (owner/winemaker vs employee)? Overall scope of service (just pours vs knowledgeable discourse etc.)?

I have never tipped, but I also haven’t been in a commercial tasting room in 12-15 years. Everything has been one on one with owner/winemaker last few times.

I don’t leave tips, but I usually purchase some nice bottles after tasting.

1 Like

I work in a tasting room and 99% of the customers tip. Tips go to the pourer. Bottle purchases go to the owner.
A pourer should tell you about the wine, the vineyards, the AVA, anything you want to know and if you feel they have delivered value, leave them a tip. If they don’t, then don’t.


Obviously, unless the tasting room staff are on some kind of commission system (which I have never heard of), the money from purchase goes to the house, not the employee.
I’m referring to specifically showing gratitude to the tasting room staff (presumably not the same as the owner of the winery).

Wow, that’s remarkable. I honestly have not heard of or seen this being widely practiced. Maybe you are just that awesome?:+1:

Really? I pour in Colorado and it’s the norm here. I am retired and pour two days a week. An good pourer will average $45-$55 an hour in tips, wages and incentives.

1 Like

well, this is awkward, I’ve never tipped (or ever seen anyone tip). maybe it’s just me though…

We use Square for credit card purchases. When a customer makes a purchase, they have an opportunity to leave a 15%, 20%, 25% or custom amount tip. We also have a cash tip jar in the tasting room. It’s rare, as in just one or two a day, that do not leave a tip.
When someone doesn’t leave a tip I wonder why, but have learned to not let it bother me. Some folks just don’t tip.

1 Like

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone tip in a tasting room, either (though I haven’t been to a commercial-type tasting room in quite a few years now), but I guess it’s fine with me if that ever becomes a thing.

We have never had a tip line on the credit card receipt. People left cash tips sometimes. End of last year/beginning of this we had to change based on customers insisting that we have a tip line because they wanted to tip but did not have cash. A lot. People are wanting to leave a tip. We split it between servers and winery staff. I need to figure out something independent for the vineyard crew. Whatever. Point is we literally had to add it because people wanted the OPTION of tipping. No one expects it and most certainly their pay is not based upon it. If folks want to leave a gratuity because they felt like they received a level of service that merited it I’m not going to stand in their way.

1 Like

I tip wherever and whenever I am served. I also tip with all take-out food. I tipped the electricians who just worked on my basement room. And tipped the guy who installed the new carpet. I’d likely tip in a tasting room, too.


Yeah, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a thing through most of the past, but I can easily imagine the custom is changing in the last few years. I’d be happy to tip for good service somewhere.

I’ve also never heard of anyone tipping or seen anyone tipping at tastings in CA. I’ve never even signed a credit card charge at the end of a tasting, much less seen a tip line on a receipt. Everywhere I’ve been uses Tock or something similar that requires credit card info in advance to hold a reservation, and any bottle and tasting fees have just automatically been charged without signing anything. I’ve also never seen a tip jar. I was told by tasting staff at several wineries that they do earn commissions, so I’ve always viewed bottle purchases at tastings as a form of tip.


We have always tipped - purchase or no purchase, and generally always a purchase. The server/pourer generally does not get a commission. They’re there to make our experience special.

Without really getting into the whole tipping thing, I have ALWAYS made it a point to be super generous to those that in some way provide service. Without any expectations. The “little guys” know and the level of service and perks are beyond description. My friends all know exactly what I mean. You only go around once, share and be generous.

1 Like

Most, if not all the wineries in my AVA use touchless systems like Square so there is no longer a paper receipt to sign.

Not a bad retirement gig. Doing something you enjoy and earning some solid hourly wage! [cheers.gif]

1 Like

We’ve never tipped at a winery’s tasting room, but most of our recent tastings have been paid small-group or private tastings as opposed to large, high-volume, bar-style tasting room. Whenever I’ve asked, I’ve been led to believe the person (if it’s not the owner/winemaker) made a commission on our wine purchases and it’s very rare I don’t purchase wine at a tasting.
I do tip at commercial tasting rooms (not affiliated with one winery) like Maisonry or Back Room Wines (Napa) that carry multiple wineries.

All I could think of was Larry David.

Just one example.

1 Like

I am sure every winery has different programs, but in general I don’t make commissions on sales. I get bonuses for case and half case sales, but customers also get discounts at these volumes as well. I get a small spiff for signing up a wine club member, but again, the customer gets something too, a 20% discount on 4 bottles. So everybody wins.

The vast majority of my income in the tasting room is tips and the majority of those are done digitally through Square. They are then paid to me at a 97% payout rate in order to cover credit card fees. I have taxes and SS taken out as well.

So tip your servers well…if they added value to your experience.