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Central Virginia Transportation, Shuttle Buses, and Wine and Brewery Tours, Wedding Buses, Vintage Limousines

Chauffeur SOP and Safety Blog

Wine Trail Guide Training

We consider our Wine Trail Guides to be our guests’ “Concierge on the Go


If you are providing an All Inclusive Tour follow this link for additional information on providing your tour.

The role of a Wine Trail Guide is much different than that of a chauffeur. As a Trail Guide, it’s expected you have intimate knowledge of the venues you’ll be visiting, the history of the area and suggestions for how to spend their time both with our company and also after their time with us is done (i.e. dinner suggestions, entertainment, nightlife, etc.). Sometimes a Trail Guide may go as far as calling to make dinner reservations for their guests. It is this type of service---going above and beyond---that makes a successful Trail Guide.

Below is a comprehensive list of the duties of a Trail Guide, though keep in mind that there will always be variables “in the field” that must be dealt with swiftly and smartly.

  1. Preparation. A Trail Guide must study their route and also several alternate routes should there be a need to take one. Most wine venues are in very rural settings and sometimes a direct route may be blocked by a downed tree, flooding, accident, etc. Beyond that, read about the venue, check their website for updated information, and have a favorite wine to suggest.

  2. Communicate with the office. Let office staff know if you have any questions or concerns about a wine tour, especially if our guests have a made a specific request that you think may or may not work. It is not uncommon to get requests to visit venues that are on opposite sides of the county (which means a lot of time spent in the car), and while the sales team does their best to catch this, sometimes such requests may go unnoticed. Also check to see if there are any notes that the office might have about their history with another wine tour, the area, etc. If that information is available (provided during a sales call, perhaps), it can be great conversation starters and will show that you did your homework. Be on time! Your day starts by getting the office with ample time to prepare. You need to gather waters, chocolates, wine trail book, and sometimes a gourmet lunch. Beyond that, you need to do a thorough check on your vehicle and get your tablet set up for the day.

  3. Call or Text 15 minutes before pick up to let the clients know where you are waiting and what car you are in. i.e. AVL-021 Sedan

  4. Open and hold the door for clients for the car and at the venue. Direct the longest-legged person behind the passenger seat and shortest behind driver seat. Present tour book, wine book for winery or brew book for a brewery tour, offer water, talk about their itinerary, make adjustments, lunch plan, check the weather if needed for the picnic.

  5. At the first stop, drop off and walk in with Client (behind them, open doors) if you must park away from the drop-off, drop off park then meet Client inside.

  6. Show them the tasting room, and where restrooms are located. Remain as discreet distance away while they taste. Keep eyes on them in case they need you or have a request, anticipate the end of the tasting then carry any purchases and offer to take photos.

  7. Do not discuss politics or religion unless directed to do so.  Under no circumstances should you join them if invited! This crosses the professional boundaries and ultimately they appreciate and respect us more for remaining professional.

  8. Offer to seat, in a sedan, the lady behind you (driver).  Move the passenger front seat all the way up. This will assist the lady who typically has shorter legs than the husband and ALSO allow you to open the door for the lady easier.

  9. You can inform them “my job is to ensure everyone gets home safely, I hope you find some wines that suit your taste.” NEVER instruct a client that they will like or will not like any particular wine at any stop, wine is very subjective and rarely is something anyone agrees on.


  1. Check basket before leaving the office for:

    1. correct amount of silverware, plates and napkins

    2. bread and crackers

    3. one large trash bag and one small trash bag for silverware

    4. bread baskets

    5. water glasses

    6. place mats

    7. ice packs

  2. Table setup

    1. fork to left, knife and spoon to right side of plate

    2. napkin that wraps silverware is used to line bread basket

    3. place small cheese knife into the brie cheese

  3. As clients finish their tasting

    1. place food onto table, remove plastic coverings as they leave the tasting area to sit at table.

    2. Pour water into glasses and leave an extra water on the table.

    3. Ask if they want a picture taken and check back in 15 minutes to refill water and/or bread

  4. End of meal

    1. place all silverware into the small bag

    2. all dirty plates/dishes into a large trash bag

    3. all cloth napkins/placements into the basket

    4. Place items from a./b. above into food bag along with ice packs

  5.  End of day:

    1. put ice packs back into the fridge

    2. place basket and dishes on the floor in the office next to the fridge

Eric Bryant