Passion and warmth are the key components needed for an award-winning cellar door, according to Church Road Winery visitor centre team leader Mitch Hyndman.
The Taradale winery was named Cellar Door of the Year at the Hawke's Bay A&P Bayleys Wine Awards held at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds on Tuesday night.
Mr Hyndman said tailoring visitor experiences to meet individual needs was an integral part of cellar door at Church Road Winery.
Read more: Bay winery nets three golds in New York
"It comes back to passion. We try to find what people are looking for, what type of wines they want, but it's also the warmth of the team and making people feel comfortable."
His entire team, comprised of 11 female staff, accompanied him on the stage to accept the award and he said he was incredibly proud of the work they had done.
"It was nerve-wracking but it was amazing though. The team deserved it, they did so well. The passion for the Hawke's Bay and the wine we sell is just tremendous."
Church Road also won Reserve Champion Wine of the Show for the McDonald Series Syrah 2015 and other awards for its Church Road Pinot Gris 2017 and McDonald Series Tempranillo 2015.
Mr Hyndman said the company had recently celebrated 120 years of wine-making and was producing top quality products.
"The winery was established in 1897 so Chris Scott has been the senior winemaker there for a while and the quality wine that he produces is just impressive."
Talking through the variety of experiences on offer at cellar door, Mr Hyndman said they provided both complimentary and paid tastings, and had a total 21 wines available.
Church Road blanc de noirs (bubbles), chardonnay and merlot cabernet were the trio on offer to those "getting used to the brand" in the complimentary tasting, Mr Hyndman said.
Meanwhile paid tastings explored a variety of upper tiers and included syrah, pinot gris and tempranillo, and were priced between $5 and $15.
"The innovation is pushing boundaries, in some senses, with wines that people aren't familiar with or in a different style."
Mr Hyndman said his favourite part of his role at Church Road was "making moments in the memories" for those visiting.
"For myself it's creating experiences. It may sound a bit corny but everything we do is about creating positive experiences."
Cruise ships, tour buses and walk in customers were set to keep the tasting room humming as summer approached, he said.
"It's already picking up already we can tell summer is coming. It's interesting the shoulder seasons are much busier than they used to be. Basically for us we always had two winter months and that was July and August and we're still quite steady."