With many people showing interest in the wine industry, the one question that still stands is ‘how do I start in the wine industry’?
With the wine world being a highly specialised sector, it’s usually tougher than usual to find a job, or perhaps to learn about things the right way. However, the wine industry is always open for those who want to grow, learn, and be a part of this world, and with the right qualifications and skills, you too can be a part of the widespread world of wine.
So for those of you who want to build yourself in the wine industry, here are 5 solid tips that will help you through.
1. Know what you want to do
The career opportunities in the wine industry are plentiful, and to avoid getting lost in the pool of options, the first thing you need to do is figure out what you want to do.
The options are endless, like on-floor sommelier, retail manager, import manager, distributor, wine marketer, wine journalist to name but a few.
So to figure out where you fit in, you need to ask yourself these questions:
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Do you want to work with a specific brand?
Or perhaps do you want to work with a blanket of brands?
Do you want to be involved in daily selling? Or do you want to be in the backend of things?
These questions will help you place yourself in the right spot in the industry, and give you clarity as to how you should move ahead with your career path.
2. Get certified
Regardless of what you want to do in the wine industry, being certified is the most important thing. In the wine industry, you need the knowledge to grow, no matter what sector you work in. And the best way to get that knowledge is by getting certified. There are many wine certifications out there that you can take. Not only will certifications help you with wine knowledge, but they will also build your credibility in the industry.
If you’re just starting out in wine, then you can go for the WSET Level 1 or the Certified Wine Pro. Both will give you the necessary knowledge and certification needed to kickstart your journey in the wine industry.
If you already have some sort of wine certification, then you can go for WSET Level 2 or 3, or the Advanced Wine Pro.
3. Network with the right people
In today’s day and age, networking is the most important thing you need to do to build your career. And the wine industry is no different. With the industry being so close knit with each other, it’s important for you to know the right people. So go out, meet people, connect with them on LinkedIN, set up meetings. Meet these people, learn from them, and build relationships with them. A strong network will not only help you get recognition and perhaps a job, but will also help you in learning so many things about the industry that the internet will definitely not teach you.
4. Get some experience
Now that you have a certification, you’ve networked and met people, it’s time to dive in and get some experience. Reach out to the brands and people you want to work with. You can also freelance in this space. For example, if you have the right knowledge, you can always speak to restaurants and hotels and help them create wine lists. Similarly, you can freelance as a marketer or writer for brands or other establishments in the wine industry.
5. Never stop learning
This is key. Your learning should never stop. The wine world is larger than life, and there’s always something or the other to learn. You can never know everything. Investing in your learning experience will not only help you gain more knowledge, but will also open up new doors for you in the industry.
It’s always important to up your game in this industry. So if you’ve done one certification, then step up and do the next. For example, if you’ve done the Certified Wine Pro, then the next step is to go for the Advanced Wine Pro. Once you complete that, you can dive deeper into different sections by learning about different regions by doing the California Capstone Program, or perhaps a course that takes you through the ins and outs of selling wine, serving wine, marketing wine etc. This will help you in continuously building yourself, which is exactly what the wine industry demands.
Originally published June 7, 2022