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Wine education for restaurants


You’ve ironed out the kinks in your wine orders. You’ve purchased your stocks from various vendors for a good price. You have your well-curated and designed wine menu. But how do you turn these into revenue and improve your bottom line?

Your employees play a key role in putting your beverage list to good use and bringing in sales. Your team must be knowledgeable on what they’re serving and confident to offer recommendations.

Educating your staff is one of the most important investments to make in ensuring your business is operating like a well-oiled machine.

Here are five key things to include in your wine training plan:

Wine 101

Teach your staff the basics of tasting notes and hold regular tasting sessions. Give them lessons on the various wine regions as well. A good way to slowly develop their palates is to let them try different bottles of the same grape variety and ask them what makes each one different.

You don’t have to go through all your products if you have an extensive list. Focus on the bestseller and wines by the glass.

Don’t forget to train them also on pronunciations. It sounds simple but many restaurants miss this important part.

Food and Wine Pairings

In our recent blog, we covered how your drinks list should match your food menu seamlessly.

At the minimum, your staff should know which bottle goes best with each of your mains but it’s also good to have pairing recommendations for entrees and desserts ready. If you have a seasonal menu, make sure you mix up your wine offerings and let your team taste the new menu additions.

Train them on special dietary requirements and identify beverages suited for vegan, gluten-free and other diets.

Stories and Anecdotes

Incorporate stories in the training. This not only helps your staff remember but also allows them to pass exciting anecdotes to customers that help in building an emotional connection.

Find out about the history of the winery or a unique feature of the product. Is it a female-owned vineyard? Has it been around for more than a century? Or maybe it’s a certain celebrity’s favourite vino?

You can get these interesting facts by researching online. However, if you’re a buyer on WINEDEPOT MARKET— the world’s first full-service vineyard to venue online platform—this information comes directly from the wineries and is conveniently included on their listings.

Customer Types

All customers are not created equal and knowing how to spot certain behaviours and personality traits would allow your staff to tailor-fit product recommendations.

The younger market is more adventurous and willing to try new things so the bottle of sparkling rosé on your menu would appeal to them.

A wine newbie is a bit more indecisive when choosing a bottle so your staff can recommend one based on the food they ordered. On the other hand, a well-seasoned wine enthusiast would be more interested to hear about a wine that has received certain awards and accolades.

The Art of Upselling

It’s important to teach your staff to recognise opportunities to raise the average check size. For instance, they can recommend a higher value bottle for a group instead of individual glasses.

Also, as soon as a glass is empty on a table, they can either refill from a bottle or ask if the customer wants a new round. Another excellent strategy is to suggest slow-moving products or wines with the highest margins.

Your team is your biggest and most important ambassadors so employee training should not be a one-off session you do once a year. Keep a regular training schedule to increase productivity, boost morale and improve revenues.