Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

What Am I Thankful For?

By Doug Fabbioli

What Am I Thankful For?

In life, there are some things that you only get a chance to do once. I have had a number of these types of opportunities come my way. But I am truly grateful and thankful when I have the opportunity for a second chance to make things better. We all have bad days, and thoughts or actions that show our humanity. If we are fortunate we have the chance to learn from some of these challenges and are able to improve, revise, restart, or simply say “I’m sorry” to make the problem a bit less than it was.

There was a post the other day on a social media group about a small business owner making a mistake with a client and trying to recover from that. The advice was to always be open about the “oops” and to bring a solid solution to the problem along with that openness. I’ve learned to start off a relationship with a new client by telling them “I will make mistakes, but I will try to keep them small and be open about them.” With forty years in the wine industry I have made my fair share of mistakes and recoveries. There is very little hiding possible in this business.

We had a situation in the tasting room on a recent Saturday afternoon when a small bus of rather intoxicated women decided they needed to come to our establishment for one more round. We informed them as they were finishing off their previous round in the bus that we were unable to serve them any further alcohol. We offered water and use of our restroom facilities, but a number of the ladies got rather vocal and upset. The situation did not end on a great note and left us anticipating the coming wrath of social media reviews and commentary: how dare we turn them away, and what a terrible place to visit. Surprisingly enough, that concern did not come to fruition. Even more surprising was the phone call we received the next morning as we were opening the tasting room. One of the ladies called to apologize for her and her group’s behavior. This incident truly made me proud of my team: they were able to manage the situation in a way that the guest found considerate once she sobered up. I am clearly proud of the guest as well for taking the initiative to call us.

It’s good to get an opportunity to right a wrong, take another swing, rethink, back up or try again. When it involves other humans, which it usually does, putting empathy first is always the best card to play. I want to do the right thing the first time, but I always truly appreciate getting a second chance. So as you enjoy your glass of fine local wine this holiday season be grateful for the successes, but be especially thankful for those chances at a re-do. I consider those saves!


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