Wine merchant apprenticeships - where to start
You can get into this job through
working towards this role
a graduate training schemea professional course from a private training provider
You could start in the wine trade as a sales assistant for an off-licence chain, a wine wholesalers or a supermarket.
Experience and qualifications gained through the hospitality sector may be useful in this role.
Business, sales and marketing experience may also be useful.
You can apply directly to get into this job. You'll usually need retail experience and extensive product knowledge to be an independent wine merchant.
You could start work with a large wine retailer as a graduate management trainee, if you have a degree. Employers will accept most subjects.
You could also take training through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust to build up your knowledge of the industry. The ability to speak French, Spanish, Portuguese, German or Italian might be useful for working with overseas wine exporters.
Wine merchant apprenticeships - what it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to work well with others
- to be flexible and open to change
- maths knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- customer service skills
- the ability to sell products and services
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to get a licence to sell alcohol. To work as a manager, buyer or importer, you’ll usually need a UK driving licence.
For retail sales you must be at least 18 years old.
Wine merchant apprenticeships - what you'll do
In your day-to-day duties you could:
- look for potential new customers, cold call businesses like hotels and restaurants to create sales leads
- order and display stock
- organise promotions, including wine tastings
- visit clients to offer advice on wines
in retail or wholesale venues
- serve customers and take payment for goods
- manage sales targets
- write order quotes and keep accounts and records
- try new wines and select new products to sell
- follow and enforce the legal requirements for the sale of alcohol
- recruit, train and organise staff
You could work at a store or at a client's business.
Career path and progression - Wine merchant apprenticeships
With experience you could become an independent wine merchant. You'll need funds and a well-researched business plan.
You could also progress to become a Master of Wine (MW). This is the British wine trader’s highest qualification.