Top tips on wine training for your staff

March 3rd, 2016 | Posted in: Features

Matthew Clark’s wine experts share some of their top tips for increasing wine sales in your business through staff training. The aim of training your staff should be to make them more aware of the wines you list and in turn give them the confidence to talk to your customers, increasing prot opportunity for your outlet through maximising sales.









Nick Zalinski
Business Director, National Accounts
Organise your Wine list by style 44% of customers prefer a wine list arranged by style descriptors, 29% by grape variety, 19% by
country and 8% by brands*.
For your staff, it helps give them the confidence when using a ‘by style’ list as it allows them to make good recommendations for wine with or without food without long “fluffy” descriptors.


David Kelly

Wine Development Specialist

Essentially, you want to encourage your staff to have conversations about wine with your customers. The right attitude can seal the deal when it comes to wine recommendations,
if a customer feels their experience is being enhanced with honesty, rather than a hard sell, they are more likely to take you up on it! Highlight and get your staff to understand where upsell opportunities may occur… Instead of ‘…do you want fries with that…?’ ‘Oh I tried our Lemon Tart with the Late Harvest Sauvignon last week, it was delicious, would you like a glass to go with it?’ Get your team to lead
customers towards your Wine List as well as POS which will highlight particular wines, coax your customers to try something new! Encourage sta to think about the different occasions during a customer visit to your outlet- this can determine an opportunity for upsell. In enabling them to recommend a drink suitable to the occasion, you can benefit from additional sales and add-ons.

Sophie Birkbeck - Recep_fmt





Sophie Birkbeck
Wine Development Specialist

Keep it frequent Don’t expect to do one training session and assume this will do for the year. Keep regular sessions in the diary. If your menu changes at your outlet, you should run a training session to consider which wines should be highlighted along with seasonal produce and flavours.







Liam Dunn
Wine Development Specialist

Food & Wine pairing – Maximise your customers dining experience with knowledgeable recommendations Understanding the building blocks of taste (acidity, sweetness, bitterness or tannin, saltiness or umami) can help construct a view as to how a wine will pair with various dishes. Whilst personal taste should never be ignored, consideration as to which wine on a list would work match well with a particular dish can enhance your customers dining experience. Make sure your chef is just as aware of the wines as your bar and waiting staff. Try the wines and food together, so your staff understand why they pair together.







Rachel Love
Wine Development Specialist

Remember what it’s like to be new in the world of wine No one likes to feel wrong, especially with an audience. Give your staff a pronunciation guide to give them confidence to speak to your customers about the wines on your list.







Ian Hudson

Wine Development Specialist

Make it interesting and memorable Make the most of your Supplier and Account Manager – utilise the wealth of knowledge your supplier can offer you, whether it’s access to Winemakers for tastings and training, attending Trade Shows and other Wine events put on by your supplier. We have a whole team of Wine Development Specialists who are available to support you and your team, with lots of innovation up our sleeves when it comes to wine training! Never a dull moment! Use incentives – make it interesting for your team, encourage them to learn more about the list and continue to build on their wine knowledge, particularly with the wines on your list. Your supplier can help you with ideas which can be tailored specifically to your outlet. Pitch your training at the right level – wine can be a
daunting subject, sometimes perceived as a little formal and often confusing.






Freddie Morley-Fletcher
Wine Development Specialist

Try something new, make it work for you too if you often find you and your staff are short for time, consider supporting your training programme with online modules to suit your schedules. We have partnered up with Flow Hospitality training to create a Wine module which gives you the ability to manage and record your own training with flexibility and control.






Simon Grayson
Wine Development Specialist

Don’t overwhelm your staff, they don’t need to know everything! Break it down into bite sized chunks – Your staff don’t need to know everything about every wine. Focus on a few wines of different styles and make sure each member of staff can give some key information and interesting facts about each.
Make it accessible – Wine can be an overwhelming subject to some people. Be aware that your staff may be young, and have a tendency to drink from other categories. Wine may not be their first choice when it comes to drinks…although it should be.






Zoe Coombs
Wine Development Specialist

When training staff for the first time I have two key objectives I focus on;
1. They understand the basics of what wine is, what makes each wine different.

2. They are confident in talking about & understand all the wines on their list. Well, up to a 50 bin list, let’s be reasonable.


To find out more about how to train your staff, and to learn more about the Matthew Clark range or to simply chat wine with us, get in touch on
0141 429 4711

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