Friday, October 3, 2008

How to get into the biz

Recently a job seeker wrote to me for advice on how to get into the CA wine scene. As this advice seemed helpful to many readers, I got permission to post it here.

Subject: advice?

Hi Amy,
I am very interested in getting into the wine industry but I have a lot of questions about how to do so. I have had experience selling wine in restaurants as a server. I have done many blind tastings and know a little bit about French and Spanish wines but not so much about American wines. So, I guess my first question would be where do I start? How should I frame my experience in a resume in order to maximize my abilities in order to get a job? Should I try to get a job in a tasting room or a wine store? Do I need to take some classes in order to even begin this process? Any advice that you might be able to pass on to me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Dear Job Seeker,
Thanks for the message. Hopefully I can help out a bit. Not knowing your professional background, I can only give thoughts on how to gain exposure to the US wine world. I do think working in a tasting room is helpful. Wineries often offer some education about the wines and region that you would be working in, and learning on the job is very helpful. It also gives you some contacts in the wine industry and fodder for your resume. Working in a wine store is also helpful, especially if you are interested in getting into wine sales. Working in retail gives you exposure to distributors, and also you gain knowledge about wineries, wine styles and customer interest. If you are near a wine growing region, several local colleges give sensory, winemaking, marketing and related courses. Many times they are taught by big wigs in the wine industry, yet more contacts for you. If you would like to send along a resume and keep me posted on your wine experience, I would be happy to consider you for openings.

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