Any Wine And Spirits Training Or Certification Is Very Helpful
When looking to jump-start your career in wine and spirits, you might consider investing in advancing or learning new skills by enrolling in a training program. The Wine & Spirit Education Trust offers four levels of courses and qualifications, which are globally-recognized and will add more credibility to your résumé and job application. The Court of Master of Sommeliers offers qualifications from Introductory Sommelier Certificates to Master Sommelier Diplomas.
Find out more about your qualification options here.
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If youve ever surveyed the walls upon walls of options in a wine store and simply grabbed the nearest $15 bottle of rosé, youre not alone. Many people still find wine cryptic and intimidating. Humans have been fermenting grapes for thousands of years, but it hasnt gotten any easier to understand. While some startups have tried to disrupt the industry and make wine more accessible, no one company has broken through.
Shouldnt wine be easier to understand by now? Why havent we hacked this into something easier so that consumers dont feel daunted by wine lists and sommeliers at restaurants or overwhelmed when walking into a cavernous wine shop?
According to wine experts, there are a number of factors at work. Thanks to the wealth of options, shoppers experience a kind of consumer paralysis. Government regulations on wine complicate things further, due to a lack of consistency from country to country in how wines are named and classified. Plus, importing and distribution impact what types of wines you see in your local wine store and your favorite restaurants and explain why you dont often see the same wine brands from store to store. And wine labels? Theyre not for you theyre written purely to satisfy government requirements and dont include details that would help consumers decide on a wine at all.
Heres why wine still remains so complicated and hard to understand, and why its not your fault you dont get wine.
What Determine Your Products Or Services
Youll need to decide which wines you plan to produce. Relying on one wine is a big risk, as if it is not well-received youll have to take a loss. Thus, you should create a product portfolio of three to four wines of different types and characteristics.
You might also consider creating a wine club, which is a subscription-based service in which members pay a monthly fee and receive a certain number of bottles delivered to their door. Subscribers can also receive additional benefits and exclusives, such as guided tours of the vineyard, wine tastings and chances to try new wines pre-release.
The wine club concept ensures a steady stream of revenue and a captive audience of loyal customers. A customers wine affinity can last years or even decades, so this is a great way to build loyalty from the start. The trick is signing up those first few subscribers.
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Taking The Scholarly Route
For people like Glaab, who knew that she wanted to attend a four-year program as a teen, the program considered the Harvard of winemaking is at the University of California, Davis. On the East Coast, New Yorks Cornell University, also competes at the top.
Prestigious, expensive and lengthy programs are not for everyone, however. People without deep financial backing or interest in taking out large loans can consider other options.
Small, junior, and community colleges in Napa, Santa Rosa, Walla Walla and the Finger Lakes offer good value as well as associate degrees and certificates. You could pay $50,000 per year at Cornell, or $6,000 to $10,000 per year at a junior or community college.
A handful of online courses offer certificates in enology and viticulture, like those at Washington State University Washington State, Texas Tech, and the Viticulture & Enology Science & Technology Alliance .
These programs vary from 18 months to two years. While generally geared toward individuals who already work in wineries, such experience is not a requirement. You might want to brush up on chemistry, though.
How To Start A Wine Business
Maybe youve always dreamt of taking a sip of your best pinot noir while overlooking the vineyard at dusk. Or maybe you just know theres good money in alcohol!
Either way, the $300 billion global wine industry is starting to emerge from the pandemic and expected to boom in the coming years, which means this could be the perfect time to start a wine business.
Of course, it wont be easy. Youll need to know the risks involved and the key steps to take. Fortunately, youve come to the right place, as this step-by-step guide lays out all the information youll need to start crushing grapes, bottling wine and riding the vino money train!
Lets begin your oenological journey.
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Open A Business Bank Account
Before you start making money youll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your companys income, so its worth doing even if youre running your wine business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so its a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN , articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
So You Want A Career In The Drinks Industry
There are few career paths more enticing than working in the wine and spirits industry.
Envious friends will imagine your life to be one long string of hedonistic parties and picture you as some sort of cross between Prince Harry, Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen. But in reality, you do not get paid to simply drink and have fun far from it! While the work is exciting and sociable, the vast majority of your time will be spent working hard, putting in long hours and learning from extremely talented business people in a dynamic but mostly sober environment.
Getting into the industry is equally hard work, largely because it sounds so desirable that it attracts a high volume of bright hopefuls, but also because it is so warm and convivial that few ever choose to leave and openings as a result are few and far between. One great way to break into this competitive sector is to apply for a graduate or apprentice scheme. They can give you a foothold in the industry and set you on your way to a long and dazzling career.
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Decide If The Business Is Right For You
Wine is bouncing back from the pandemic-driven downturn. But it wont be easy to penetrate a market that relies on brand names, and youll need to be patient to recover your initial investment. But theres real opportunity in wine right now, and it could be the right business for you.
Lets start by looking at the pros and cons.
Why Choose An Apprentice Or Graduate Scheme
Our wine ambassador programme is a once in a lifetime opportunity to live the dream, and offers the opportunity to kick-start careers in the wine industry by developing a broad range of skills, gaining valuable international experience, and working with iconic wine brands, says Alicia Partridge, Global Graduate Programme Manager at Pernod Ricard. Not only is it an amazing opportunity, you learn skills that will stick with you for the rest of your career and make vital contacts.
Jessica Berry, talent manager at Firmdale Hotels, says: Our graduate scheme is amazing. Its an incredibly operational programme geared towards getting people to general manager level. There are great success stories still in the business. We have been running it for 16 years and there are 33 people who did the graduate scheme and are still with us. Two ladies in the inaugural programme are still with the company today.
From lugging around crates in a storeroom to wrestling with giant hoses in a winery, nothing gives you an appreciation for the industry like getting your hands dirty.
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Personal Challenge / Satisfaction
The wine world is immense. We like to see this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Do you have a favorite sports team, fashion designer, tv chef, or movie director? What if I told you that there are celebrity winemakers and that if you found your favorite winery/winemaker you’d never have to drink bad wine again?
Keeping Your Glass And Your Wallet Half Full
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Nearly everyone whos enjoyed a good glass of Chardonnay has fantasized about going into the wine business. After all, not only is wine one of lifes great pleasures, its also an increasingly marketable commodity: Sales of wine in the United States increased by 2% in 2012, hitting a new all-time high of $34.6 billion, according to wine industry consultant Jon Frederikson.
But as promising as that sounds, the glass may only be half full, so to speak. Thats because making wine is an expensive, time-consuming endeavor and returns on investment can take years, if not decades, to realize. Its a 10- to 20-year haul, says famed actor and former Saturday Night Live star Dan Aykroyd, whos invested in wineries based near his home in Canada. Moreover, the wine business has gotten super-competitive of late, especially for small-scale entrepreneurs trying to go up against the giants that have come to dominate the industry. Consider that Constellation Brands, an upstate New York company that started nearly 70 years ago selling bulk wine to bottlers, now encompasses such labels as Robert Mondavi, Kim Crawford, Clos du Bois and Arbor Mist all prominent wine brands unto themselves.
The basic math
In for a little
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There Are Thousands Of Wines Its An Overwhelming Amount Of Choice
Wine as an industry is one of the most fragmented industries in the world, says Caleb Ganzer, managing partner at La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, a wine bar in New York. Wine is probably the most fragmented consumer product that exists.
In 2019, the US drank about 370 million cases of wine at 12 bottles a case, thats about 4.4 billion bottles of wine in a year. Studies estimate that about half of the US wine market is dominated by three conglomerates, each with an extensive portfolio of brands you may have heard of: E& J Gallo , Constellation Brands , and the Wine Group . These types of big corporations can afford to produce, ship, and distribute thousands of bottles of wine each year across the world and across the US so you can find, say, Robert Mondavi or Barefoot in nearly every store you go to.
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There are certain stores and restaurants that carry big brand names that will be available everywhere. But those are wines that are made basically by almost factory farms. Theyre produced the way Coca-Cola is produced, to taste the same year after year and to be available in huge, huge quantities, says Jenny Lefcourt, founder of Jenny & François Selections, a wine importer that specializes in natural wines.
Jobs In General Administration And Operations
As with any business, a winery operates best with a solid business plan, good management, and accurate financial forecasting.
If a winery is large enough to have a General Manager at the helm, that person often has a unique mixture of experience that makes him or her specifically qualified to run the winery business. Many winery general managers have at least some winemaking experience, and often have a MBA as a strong business acumen is necessary.
Budgeting a winery business is a complex ordeal that begins as early in the process as when the raw land is purchased for a vineyard site.
The cultivation of grapes is a finicky process crop yields vary, which affects costs, and many variables exist within the winemaking process as well. Add to this the financial logistics of the three-tier system and you have an industry where there is always a need for a pool of qualified candidates in finance.
There is also the demand for good operations professionals within the wine business. Many wineries with their own production facilities have their own bottling lines that need management and maintenance, shipping and receiving departments, and cellar crews.
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Essential Software And Tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
Wine and alcohol compliance software, such as Sovos Shipcompliant, will ensure your bottling, packaging and shipping do not run afoul of the authorities.
Some of your business will come from the casual passerby or online visitors, but still you should invest in marketing! Getting the word out is especially important for new businesses, as itll boost customer and brand awareness.
Once your website is up and running, link it to your social media accounts and vice versa. Social media is a great tool for promoting your business because you can create engaging posts that advertise your products:
- Facebook: Great platform for paid advertising, allows you to target specific demographics, like men under age 50 in the Cleveland area.
- Instagram: Same benefits as Facebook but with different target audiences.
- Website: SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales.
- Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero.
- If youre unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
How To Work In The Wine Industry
Wine only moves from being a passion to being an employment opportunity for a select few. As well as dedication and a willingness to work hard, you need a good palate and a respect for process – a lot of hard labour goes into those bottles.
If youre wondering how to get a job in the wine industry, were well placed here at Le Cordon Bleu to let you in on some insider tips and tricks to help you on your path into work in the wine trade.
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So What Can You Do About It
A handful of companies have tried to find ways to make understanding and exploring wines easier. There are apps, like Delectable and Vivino, that let you take a photo of a wine label and then pull up reviews of the wine from other app users. There are wine subscription clubs, like Winc and Bright Cellars, that ask you questions about your taste and preferences and then send you a personalized selection of wines every month. The apps are helpful for tracking and rating wines you tried or finding reviews of a specific bottle in front of you at a store, while the subscription wine clubs can be helpful for discovering a few new bottles you might enjoy. But neither of these types of tools can solve the bigger problem that consumers face: how to filter through the myriad options in a wine store or a restaurant and make an informed decision.
Wine is really analogous to life in that its complicated, and there are lots of different ways to look at things, and thats the beauty of it its a reflection of life, says Ganzer.
When you go out to drink wine, take a picture of it and note where its from, even if its just the country, and what grape its made with, she says. Make a little note to yourself. Did you like it? Did you not like it? Thats going to start to provide some structure to what you know.
Wine is really analogous to life in that its complicated
So in the end, maybe the simple answer to how to understand wine is: dont. Just drink it.
Who Identify Your Target Market
Identifying a target market can be done through market research in the area in which you plan to sell your wine, and consideration of your desired wine profile. You will ideally have three to four wines, and you may target them at different markets. Thus, if one product does not perform as expected, you can adjust your offerings without suffering a significant loss.
You should target consumers and also businesses, specifically the restaurants, bars and hotels frequented by your target market. You could also identify any exporters and wholesale distributors with whom you might work to expand the reach of your products.
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