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< Back to news 08 December, 2014

Top 5 staff training tips from Bibendum

Wine can be a daunting subject so it’s really important to help build the confidence of your staff so they engage with your customers. This is your first step to moving your customers away from entry level wine while providing excellent customer service.

Guest article: Bibendum

With the busy festive period fast approaching, why not try and fit in some staff training before it gets busy? Then your staff can take advantage of all those wine selling opportunities over Christmas. Here are our tips for effective wine training:

1. Let them taste

Let staff try the wines from your wine list. If they know what a wine tastes like, they will be much more likely to recommend it to a customer. Tasting will also help them find a personal favourite, and if they are enthusiastic about a wine, they are much more likely to tell customers about it. Wine tasting doesn’t need to be drinking: explain that they only need to try a small amount and that they can spit the wine out. Trying two wines together is also a great idea, for example, compare two wines made from the same grape variety from different countries, or two wines with different weights (a light-bodied Pinot Noir versus a full-bodied Malbec).

2. Practise food and wine pairing

Give your staff the confidence to recommend a wine with food so they can make the most of the opportunity when a customer does ask. How about organising a session with a few of your dishes and wines to see what works together? Here are some simple food and wine matching guidelines that you can use.

3.  Download Plonk

Plonk is a brilliant grape variety app that helps wine drinkers discover new wines. It is also a perfect tool for staff training. The app has factual and interesting information on over 70 grapes, wine regions and food pairings. There are even audio clips demonstrating how to pronounce the grape varieties! Pronunciation can be a big barrier to selling wine so this can really help improve staff confidence. You can use the app as part of a training session or even get staff to use it in their own time.

4. Make it competitive

Running a wine sales competition is a great way of making wine fun. You could run a wine training session on one wine and then see who can sell the most of it in a week. The winning prize could be as simple as a bottle of wine!

5. Keep it short and simple

You don’t need to spend hours on a training session – we think 10 to 15 minutes will do just fine. It is much more effective to do regular bite-size training sessions than one day a year, so that you build up a wine culture in your business and get staff thinking about wine on a regular basis.

We would love to hear from you about fun wine training sessions you have done before. Let us know here and we will share everyone’s ideas next time.   

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