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HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR CAREER IN THE WINE AND SPIRITS INDUSTRY


From on-trade positions as a restaurant sommelier or bartender in a trendy club, to off-trade roles which might see you selling wines and spirits to hotels or travelling the world as a brand ambassador, promoting your product at events, the career options in the drinks industry are many. But how do you develop a generic role in the food and beverage world into a specialised career in wine or spirits?


The answer: education.


While training in hospitality establishments will give you the basics of service, superior knowledge of wine or spirits products will enable you to thrive in your career. By learning the foundations to classifications and labelling terminology and the key factors affecting flavours from production to climate, to how to taste wines and spirits professionally, store and serve them and pair them with food, you’ll be able to better understand the products on offer and cater to your customers accordingly. Evidence has shown that better educated


individuals progress faster and further in their careers in wine and spirits and report higher job satisfaction. There are several routes to get this education.


If you manage to land a role on experience alone, some companies offer formal qualifications in-house, while others require staff to gain them externally before or after joining. One organisation that offers such education is the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), whose globally recognised qualifications are highly regarded, if not required, by drinks and hospitality industry businesses looking for new recruits. Groups such as Hakkasan Group, Hotel du Vin, Living Ventures, Soho House & Co and Vinoteca have all demonstrated appreciation of the value of WSET-qualified staff. Notably, since Vinoteca started offering staff WSET courses last year, the restaurant group has promoted five out of its 24 new WSET qualification holders.


Hear from the experts: What you need to succeed


Alexandre Freguin, Taittinger UK


Sommelier of the Year 2018


Lucy Warren, Champagne


ambassador for Moët Hennessy UK


Mike Foster, brand ambassador for


Monkey 47 Gin at Pernod Ricard


“It takes a long time to get into wine, so you need to be patient and learn step by step... Any type of education is great. Knowledge is something that you need to reassess all the time. Taking examinations such as WSET gives you the chance to study the basics.”


“You need positivity, energy, and a genuine passion for the subject and brand you represent. A deep comprehension of the subject is also a must- have, and either a WSET Level 3 Award in Wines qualification or WSET Level 4 Diploma will be required by most companies.”


“Having an understanding of the production of all different categories of liquids will provide a deeper perspective of where your product sits within the industry, and it will allow you to engage with customers on a far more in-depth level. Qualifications such as those offered by WSET provide a great way to achieve this knowledge.”


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