Berkmann Wine Cellars is stepping up to address the need for more wine service education in the hospitality industry.
The company has created an entirely new educational arm entitled Veraison, consisting of original content, and specifically targeted to the on-trade. It is focussed on concise and interactive sessions, and apparently covers 'everything from wine production and customer engagement to online and offline marketing for on-trade businesses'.
Berkmann's national training manager and ex-sommelier Clara Rubin is behind the content of the programme and, together with a team of trainers, provides training sessions for front-of-house staff.
'During my career in the wine industry, I constantly witness the fear and intimidation experienced by staff and guests when faced with a wine list,' explained Rubin. 'Both parties are equally fearful as the safe words, "house wine please", are used once again and the wine list is completely ignored by both diner and their waiter or waitress.
'Training currently available to the industry is typically run on an ad-hoc basis, usually without fixed learning objectives or qualified educators delivering custom-made educational material. This does little to achieve growth for the business and can often alienate staff, wasting time and resources.
'Many wine merchants claim to provide training, but sadly this training is limited by the constraints of the company behind it. In contrast Veraison is independent; we don't sell, we teach.'
The word 'veraison', by the way, refers to the changes in grapes as they begin to ripen - but you'd know that already if you'd been through the programme...
See the Veraison site for more information.