Berkmann's wine service training: everything you need to know

10 June 2016

Earlier this week we brought you the news of Berkmann's new wine service education programme, Veraison. Today, the company's training manager, not to mention ex-sommelier, Clara Rubin, answers some questions about the new programme.

How does it work?
Veraison currently stands at eight courses, split into three groups, namely Wine 101, Wine Theory and Wine in Practice. Examples of courses are 'How to Speak Wine – A Guide to Professional Wine Tasting', and 'Demystifying Wine Labels – Becoming a Label Detective'.

We focus on the practical tasting of the wines listed by the venue and always bring learning objectives back to the impact on service style and the guest experience. All but one of the courses (Manager's Module) includes a practical wine tasting portion to support the learning objectives of each session. These range from tasting four to eight wines depending on the course.

How long is the course?
We realise that time is a premium in the hospitality industry so, depending on which of the eight courses is being run, sessions take between one and one-and-a-half hour to run.

Where is it held?
All sessions are run on-site by qualified educators with the restaurant or bar teams in their own environment. This eliminates travel costs for the restaurant owner and ensures that there are no barriers between front of house staff and the training they need.

How many people in each session?
We like to keep groups smaller so we can focus on participants’ needs and make sure they are getting the most from the session. Group sizes vary but we've found that the optimum number of participants per session is 10, whilst capping at 15 per group.

Who can take part? Do I have to be a Berkmann customer?
You don’t have to be Berkmann customer! Veraison is written specifically to meet the requirements of the on-trade. We focus on wine-service and the hospitality industry.

Veraison's goal is to give anyone serving wine access to the knowledge and training that they need to feel good about what they do and succeed within their industry.

Our material has been developed through testing with a wide range of demographics; from independent local restaurants to UK-wide groups, from Michelin-star silver service, to casual pubs and bars.

What will it cost?
Veraison's courses each have a price per 10 participants, with a small supplement for up to five participants more.

How many sessions in a day?
We can run single sessions, from one to one-and-a-half hour; or back to back to fill a half, or even a full day's training. We’ve found that most businesses want training later on in the afternoon – after their lunch guests leave and before dinner guests arrive. We work around service times.

Do the servers get a qualification at the end of it?
Veraison is not an Ofqual regulated body. There are no exams to study for or sit – we see the theatre of service as test enough.

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