Category Archives: Training

On the road with the training team…

This week we have been on the road with Garry Samuels, the newest member of Hallgarten’s training team. Garry has experienced many jobs in hospitality, from kitchen porter, to deputy manager, and through this experience he discovered his love of wine and educating those in the trade.

 

A week way out west with Garry… if you live in the east
  • Travel days: 4✔️
  • Towns/Cities: 4
  • Miles covered: 566
  • Venues Visited: 6
  • Team Trained: 68

Okay, so not an average week in the life of an educator and wine product trainer, but not far off. With customers to teach, spread from Torquay to Nottingham, sometimes you just have to pack your bag and spend some time on the road.

One of the main challenges I am often faced with, and was apparent on this trip, is the ability to quickly bounce between the educational needs of one group to those of another, for instance:

Venue one
Question: What’s your most popular wine?
Answer: Marlborough Sauvignon.

Venue two
Question: What’s your most popular wine?
Answer: Vodka, Red Bull

This really demonstrates the importance of training reflecting both the team members needs and the customer demands – just delivering the same two hour session every time simply does not cut it.  My project of late has been to centre training around wines sold by the bottle. Many front of house team members simply never have a chance to try these, so how do we expect them to sell them, more so if they are long, complex, unpronounceable foreign words… like Mâcon!

Other questions I always ask but are rarely answered correctly:

  • What does dry mean?
  • How many different types of Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc do you have on your wine list?
  • What wines work best with your spicy dishes? (Answer: IPA, obviously!)

So there is a large element of repetition to the job, addressing the foundation knowledge all the team should have, and yes, there is great opportunity to vary the delivery to make sure the training has the most impact on those it is aimed at, new or experienced.  And how do we know we have made a positive difference?  Responses like; “I NEVER KNEW THAT!!!”, “I don’t like wine but that’s really nice” and “When are you visiting next?”.

But don’t take my word for the importance of training, here’s what one of the students thought:

“Garry’s wine training gave my team the confidence to really sell our wines to customers, learning in-depth descriptions of the wines palates and the perfect food pairings for each wine. He engages well with the team and his clear passion for wine helps to motivate the team and make them want to be passionate about wine too, his friendly personality makes you feel at ease to ask questions about anything in the world of wine! The training has certainly helped improve my wine selling skills and I now feel more confident to upsell our higher quality wines to guests.”

 

As an Approved Programme Provider, our four WSET-Certified Educators have guided more than 300 students through WSET courses and our own Wine Sure programme. Contact your account manager for more information.