Form and Function: Revel iPad POS & HALL Wines

HALL Wines is located in beautiful St. Helena in Napa Valley. HALL's property is steeped in history but surrounded by modern tastes:  built on the site of the former Napa Valley co-op, HALL now offers visitors rows of vineyards, contemporary architecture, and a bounty of modern art. HALL Wines comprises two brands:  HALL, which offers cabernet and bordeaux varietals; and WALT, which offers pinot noir and chardonnay. Jeff Zappelli, Director of Membership at HALL, showed us around the property, and told his experience with the Revel POS.

HALL Wines wine bottles

Craig and Kathryn Hall, the eponymous founders of the winery, are both art enthusiasts and long-time vintners. Kathryn grew up tending to her parents vineyard in Mendocino. Later, she and her husband bought a vineyard in Rutherford. Their first project was to make the Kathryn Hall Cabernet, the first vintage of which was 1996, and is now central to their offerings. Since then they have built a winery just below their home in Rutherford. Last November they finished HALL Wines in St. Helena.

The Halls are both passionate about art--indeed, there are fabulous works of art throughout the property, sculptures as well as paintings. Craig’s mother was an art teacher, and he’s been collecting art since he was 13 years old. Art collecting is a passion for both Craig and Kathryn, however, and they have a number of different contemporary pieces on the property. Jeff informed me of their plans to create an app that would enable guests to take a self-guided tour of the art at the winery. “All the guests are welcome to visit and experience the grounds,” he said. “We also have some wine that’s pretty dang good too.” Jeff described HALL as a campus--”open for any experience that you’d like”--a place for guests to taste wine, wander the property, view the art, and experience HALL Wines, and Napa, for themselves.

HALL Wines bottles artfully displayed in box

Bringing the cash register to you

The emphasis on the visitor’s experience is where Revel comes in:  “The reason we chose Revel is we needed to bring the cash register to the guest,” Jeff said. In order for HALL to function as its founders envisioned, they needed a way to enable the purchasing process without hampering the flow of events, tastings, and tours. HALL offers a variety of spaces for events, tours, and other guest experiences, and the logistics of bringing a traditional point of sale to the guest weren’t possible. Without naming any names, Jeff said that the other solutions they looked at had just not caught up to current technology, especially in terms of Revel’s mobile solution. “We had 800 people here last night, and they all watched Revel work,” he said.

Shipping Compliance

“One of the most complicated things wineries need is compliance-built software,” said Jeff, on Revel’s integration with ShipCompliant. “We have 50 different laws governing how we can ship wine. Some states say no, some states say yes, most often states say yes but you have to do this. These laws tend to be more about aggregate limits. For example, you can receive 45 bottles in the state of Texas, you can receive two cases in the state of Virginia, and you can receive 36 cases in the state of New York. Each state created its own rules.” Revel’s integration with ShipCompliant, a web application for managing shipping compliance, enables HALL to maintain an accurate and up-to-date database on state shipping laws. ShipCompliant allows Jeff to check compliance before he ships. The need for shipping compliance is truly unique to the winery industry, Jeff told me.

Crystal chandelier in HALL Wines Rutherford

Improving the guest experience

The question that informs both HALL’s current operations and future endeavors is, “How do you improve the experience, and how do you make it operational?” The answer is to include both form and function, such as with HALL’s adoption of the Revel iPad POS. By bringing the cash register to the guest, HALL is able to improve the overall experience. Furthermore, this ability to bring the POS to the guest enables the wine educator to have immediate access to further information on a particular wine. “What the iPad allows us to do is bring tasting notes [to the guest],” Jeff said. “We can arm the wine educator with more information and a cash register at the same time.”

HALL Wines focuses on direct to consumer sales, rather than the traditional 3 tier wholesaler system. “It’s about the person drinking the wine,” Jeff said. “We want to know what the consumer thinks. In order to do that, direct to consumer is really important.” It’s important for HALL to know who’s buying the wine, so they can work to enhance and improve the guest experience. Knowing this “improves the consumer tie, and the relationships with people who are drinking your wine.”

Laying the infrastructure

HALL opted to use the Revel table service menus to enable hosts to check guests into a tour, which allows staff members to see inbound guests before they arrive. This, and the use of the Revel POS notes field to record personal likes, is part of HALL’s laying of their infrastructure. The infrastructure, and the tools therein, are part of a wider strategy that will allow HALL to better serve their members, “the most important people.”

CRM, or customer relationship management, is also vital to the winery’s operation. HALL works with Revel and Salesforce to compile detailed information on each guest in order to enhance the tasting experience and increase overall productivity. “The iPad allows us to do data capture,” Jeff said. “We can quickly capture someone’s data which is then is stored, including past orders, preferences, and mailing address. We can then start building profiles around people, and when guest comes back to visit, we know who they are, when they visited, and what their personal likes are.”

HALL is enhancing the guest experience through technology, modern art, and perfectly-tannic cabernet. Make sure you check them out next time you’re in Napa, and discover for yourself how form and function blend to create the perfect customer experience.

HALL Wines vineyard

Photos:  Antonio Aiello