I was invited by a friend and ex-colleague to talk to her Wine Business and Wine Production class at Plumpton College yesterday where I met a very interesting and diverse bunch of people. I wish them lots of luck with their future careers in wine.
The subject of the talk was me (jokingly referred to as “An Audience With …“). More specifically, it was about my experience in the wine business, how I got (stumbled) into it, what I have done, and any suggestions I may have for those trying to do the same.
I will skip the vast majority of the content as it is irrelevant (and not all that interesting really), but I thought I would post a couple of the closing thoughts I had for them as they may be relevant to others, whether you are in the trade or looking to get into it.
1. Help solve a problem.
It isn’t good enough to turn up to interviews with a bunch of skills but no idea what is going on in the trade. There are some key issues facing the wine trade today, what do you think they are, and what do you think your prospective employer could do (with you) to address these (profitably)?
My own, very quick, list was:
- How do we sell better wine? (upselling)
- How can we reach more (new) consumers?
- How do we grow our business responsibly?
- How do we educate consumers?
No-one expects you to answer these questions fully (and if you can, set up your own business!), but if you have thought about them and about how you can help the prospective employer put this into practice, you’ve got a lot more to offer than other candidates.
The wine trade (in the UK) may not believe it at the moment, but I am convinced that blogging / self-publishing / consumer driven content / whatever you want to call it, will become a major influence in wine purchasing in the very near future. If nothing else, as wine retail develops online and more consumers purchase a greater range of products online, the need for recommendations and suggestions will increase. Blogging, and Wine 2.0 in general, also has the opportunity to change how we source information on wine wherever the consumer decides to buy it.
If you want to be in wine marketing in the next few years you really have to be familiar with this new trend. All it takes is to sign up to a few blogs, read them, contribute comments and share the conversation.
[I am particularly intrigued to know what they make of Wine Library TV (if anyone of you drops by, please leave me a comment) which I pointed them to as only 1 had heard of it before]
Even better, get involved and start your own. Blogging encourages you to put your own thoughts in order and encourages you to do a little more research (well, I did say a little). If you want to communicate about wine in the future day job, why not start now?
Also, the more there are of us providing interesting content, the better the general knowledge archive will be. Blog posts are permanent records, however well or badly they are written, and a well-meaning post, properly researched, might turn out to be invaluable to others
We need more people to join the wine trade not just because they love wine, but because they have something to offer to improve the business. If you can find a way to tap into consumers needs and ways of thinking, then there will be lots of people willing to give you that dream job you are looking for!