In-Company Wine training

In the wine sector, if the Wine company who want to succeed in an ever changing world of wine need a solid platform of continuous training. 

Many companies also need a minimum of wine knowledge for the business managers, executives and the sales team. It is proven that a sound basic knowledge of wine leads to a more entrepreneurial concepts.

For the wine business it is critical to recruit good managers and sales peoples and offer them a decent wine training.

Thus, who will be trained and what is reason for training will be shown below.


These trainings are created for companies from or linked with the wine industry. Hospitality, wines and spirits distributors, supermarkets, wine tourism companies or even specialized press are some examples.


In a more and more competitive market, the keystone of wine companies business is their ability to provide knowledgeable advice to the customers. Training which staffs receive is crucial to this aspect of the business. Highly skilled staff will make the difference in a market where customers often feel lost.



How to export wine to the USA market?

During my visit in Prowein,  the director of  the USA Wine West, LLC, Steve Melchiskey gave us a really great lecture about how to export wine to  the USA market.  After collecting all the useful knowledge I got from him,  here I’d like to share with you and give some thoughts  about this.  🙂


About Mr. Melchiskey 

  • over 30 years experience in the wine industry
  • worked at retail, wholesale operations management, wholesale sales representative, winemaker, vineyard manager, importer
  • purpose: to give an overview and insight into one of the best, and most competitive, wine markets in the world

Facts about the U.S. wine market

leading wine consuming nation – at almost 4 billion liters consumed (360 million 12/750ml cases or 4.2 billion bottles)

  • Most sold varietals: Chardonnay 21%; Cabernet 12%; Merlot 9%; Pinot Grigio 9%
  • Top imports by country: Italy, France, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Spain
  • Top 10 wine sales states by volume: California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, Virginia, Ohio
  • Top 10 wine consuming states (by liters per capita): District of Columbia, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Nevada, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, Hawaii
  • Final Fact: The U.S. is a huge and diverse market with strong growth of wine projected.

How to get into the U.S. Market

1. Know your competition
– come to the U.S., buy wine of your region from a store, note the prices, and do a blind tasting of them with your wines. How do they compare?

-Talk to retailers. What do they look for in new wines? What do they need? What kind of new products excite them?

2. Do your research!
– Visit different regions and states.
– Talk to wholesales and brokers in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Wyoming and Vermont.
– The U.S wine market is not just San Francisco and New York City.

3. Develop personal relationships
– The wine business in the U.S is built on friendships and relationships. Spend the time and be rewarded.

Three tiers system of wine importing & Distribution

1. Importer tier
2. wholesaler tier
3. retailer tier

Top U.S. import Strategies

Single state importer/wholesaler

  • pros: easy to manage, controlled, focused strategy.
  • cons: limited sales, limited number of states where it is legal, limited states where it is logistically practical.

condensed tier states VS. 3-tier states

Multi-state/regional importer/wholesaler

  • pros: easy to manage, sales level better, logistics better
  • cons: supply continuity issues, difficult to expand to other states.

National importer

  • pros: allows for ex-cellar service to large wholesalers and FOB U.S. Warehouse Stock sales to state wholesalers, national sales and marketing strategy, excellent logistics, supply chain integrity.
  • cons: very difficult to find true national importer, volume requirements.

Most foreign wineries start at the beginning and work their way up through these strategies over time.

Selling wine in the USA= selling wine to 50 different countries

What will a 2 euro bottle of wine cost in the U.S?

Two euro/bottle model
2 euro*1.4 (current exchange rate estimate= $2.80/bottle ex-cellar US$ price)
$33.60/case 12/750ml
(must sell in this format)
Winery to port, customs/duty/tax, transport and unloading at US warehouse $10.00/case (estimated)
Landed cost for FOB US warehouse sales

Importer Margin = 1.35 mark up =$43.60* 1.35= $54.00/case FOB US warehouse from importer to wholesaler
Wholesaler Margin = add $6 transport and state tax * 1.4 markup pr 28% margin = $84/case retailer
Retailer Margin = 1.5 markup or 33% margin = $10.49/bottle to consumer

What will a 8 euro bottle of wine cost in the U.S?

Eight euro/bottle model
8 euro*1.4 (current exchange rate estimate= $11.20/bottle ex-cellar US$ price)
$134.40/case 12/750ml
(must sell in this format)
Winery to port, customs/duty/tax, transport and unloading at US warehouse $10.00/case (estimated)
Landed cost for FOB US warehouse sales

Importer Margin = 1.35 mark up =$144.40* 1.35= $186.00/case FOB US warehouse from importer to wholesaler
Wholesaler Margin = add $6 transport and state tax * 1.4 markup pr 28% margin = $268.00/case retailer
Retailer Margin = 1.5 markup or 33% margin = $33.50/bottle to consumer 

Legal and regulatory label compliance

  • FDA Bio-terrorism Registration
  • U.S. compliant labels – Federal certificate of label approval (COLA)
  • Sample waivers from certificate of label approval
  • Extra Organic Certification paperwork/ compliance
  • Franchise Rules

According to COLA 

Europe: “ no pregnant woman” illustration is mandated
USA: No “pregnant woman” allowed! instead, this government warning is required

Government warning: (1)according to the surgeon general, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems.

The Franchise Rules
Watch who you sell to, and WHERE they sell…
it could end up costing you forever.

The reality of selling wine in the U.S. 

your sale doesn’t end with selling to an importer

  • Expectation that you will help sell your wine to stores and restaurants
  • your sale is not to the importer, it is to the importer’s customers!
  • depletions are what count!

– be ready to give incentives and manpower to help your importer and wholesalers sell your wine!

No parker= NO LOVE!! 


Other necessary Marketing & Sales assistance to the U.S trade

  • point of sales material
  • market visits
  • retailer and consumer tastings
  • financial incentives

Begging may be a final strategy…


Wine Sales and Service in China

I have been working in the luxury industry as a sales and service manager for more than 2 years.

In this front-line position, I represented the company’s brand image by directly communicating with consumers and collecting their information. With 2 years’ experience in this role, I have developed my ability to sell and merchandise a product more effectively

Wine in China is often connected with prestige and social status, but from its very nature, wine is still a product. So how can one sell it better in China?

Hard-work and Perseverance

According to Don, St Pierre Jr, co-founder of the Chinese importing company, ASC Fine wines, China is on course to be the second largest wine-consuming country behind the United States within the next five years. However, even with such a big market, it is still very hard to sell wine in China. Firstly, China doesn’t have a wine drinking culture and in general is lacking basic wine knowledge.  Selling wine requires good relationships and networks. It is not easy to open the market if you are new. The only thing you can do is never give up, attend different wine shows, cooperate with companies that already have a sales channel, etc.

Professional Knowledge

A good seller often acts like an intermediate. On one hand, we have the consumer needs, and on the other hand, we possess the product information. In this process, the appropriate product information is the fundamental skill which sales people must master. This includes the product quality, price, service, market trends and competitive products, as well as customer information, which is formed from customer analysis, customer demands and local market analysis. As a seller, we must have a deep understanding of the market and how the market operates. Only in this way can we clearly market and propose the right product to the consumer.


Sales people have to grasp the real needs of customers during communication. This not only requires the understanding of consumer behavior, but also the careful interpretation of it. We should always summarise our behaviour during conversations with customers, and understand what kind of questions they would like to answer – for instance, what is the link between wine-choosing and social position or income. 

Wine value-added service is a very good way to maintain consumers and build brand loyalty. We can organize wine tasting events regularly and build membership systems. Consumers can not only gain wine knowledge through events, but also make friends and connections. Membership also stands for prestige, which works very well for Chinese consumers.

There are still many tips that can be used when selling wine to China, and these will be discussed in my next post. 

Importance of Training

Here, in the wine industry, training as a important section for a company’s management level to concern, but is it worth for? There are fours reasons will be listed down to elabotate.

Addressing Weaknesses

Most employees have some weaknesses in their workplace skills. A training program allows you to strengthen those skills that each employee needs to improve. A development program brings all employees to a higher level so they all have similar skills and knowledge. This helps reduce any weak links within the company who rely heavily on others to complete basic work tasks. Providing the necessary training creates an overall knowledgeable staff with employees who can take over for one another as needed, work on teams or work independently without constant help and supervision from others.

Improved Employee Performance

An employee who receives the necessary training is better able to perform his or her job. He or she becomes more aware of safety practices and proper procedures for basic tasks. The training may also build the employee’s confidence because he or she has a stronger understanding of the industry and the responsibilities of her job. This confidence may push her to perform even better and think of new ideas that help her excel. Continuous training also keeps your employees on the cutting edge of industry developments. Employees who are competent and on top of changing industry standards help your company hold a position as a leader and strong competitor within the industry.


A structured training and development program ensures that employees have a consistent experience and background knowledge. The consistency is particularly relevant for the company’s basic policies and procedures. All employees need to be aware of the expectations and procedures within the company. This includes safety, discrimination and administrative tasks. Putting all employees through regular training in these areas ensures that all staff members at least have exposure to the information.

Employee Satisfaction

Employees with access to training and development programs have the advantage over employees in other companies who are left to seek out training opportunities on their own. The investment in training that a company makes shows the employees they are valued. The training creates a supportive workplace. Employees may gain access to training they wouldn’t have otherwise known about or sought out themselves. Employees who feel appreciated and challenged through training opportunities may feel more satisfaction toward their jobs.

Thus, training and development provides both the company as a whole and the individual employees with benefits that make the cost and time a worthwhile investment.

Advice through the Grapevine