Do you know wine better than the back of your hand? Have you accumulated years of wine experience? Have you built long-term relationships with wineries that other people in the industry dream of at night? If one or more of these statements applies to you, chances are you have been after a wine broker job for a while.
Like most dream careers, landing a wine broker job isn’t always easy. This article will take you through everything you need to become an appealing candidate for amazing wine broker jobs.
Go ahead, and open a bottle of your favorite 2013 Barolo to aerate, and let Green Glass Global take you through the finer points of wine brokerage.
What is a Wine Broker, Anyway?
You can’t become what you don’t understand 100% so let’s quickly go through what a wine broker does.
A wine broker is a highly skilled liaison between wine sellers and wine buyers, like retailers, restaurants, and hotels. Some brokers are exclusively employed by specific wineries, and others are self-employed free agents working for clients from all different parts of the wine industry.
It’s important to note that there are three main types of wine brokers to be aware of.
- Bulk Wine Broker: brokers deals around bulk wine
- Wine Sales Representative or Broker: the most well-known type that brokers between wineries, distributors, and customers
- Wine Investment Broker: luxury broker that helps you choose investment-grade wine and helps you sell them on years later
- Client Meetings to Promote Wine
- Planning and Hosting of Promotional Wine Events
- Inventory Tracking
Still think the job of wine broker is for you now that you know that you won’t be in the corner happily sampling wares? Excellent, cheers!
Here are the 5 Keys:
#1: Gather Expert Working Knowledge of Wine
Are you at the beginning of your career and haven’t had the chance to secure the expert wine knowledge you need to succeed as a wine broker? In that case, a perfect starting point is seeking out a job at a wine retailer or, better yet, a winery.
Alternatively, start studying the fine art of wine and attend wine tastings to refine your palate and further deepen your knowledge of different wines and terminology.
Top Tip: The Oxford Companion to Wine is widely considered one of the best books on wine ever published, and its almost 4,000 wine topics will be a great crash course.
#2: Know the market(s)
Just as important as wine knowledge is understanding the market (or markets you will be selling to). Not all accounts are equally important – not even close!
Learning where all of the most important accounts are, takes a lot of research but this all pays off in the long run because time spent preparing to sell and doing your homework, will result in much better sales success.
It definitely helps to keep your focus narrow in the early going. Focus on the city and state where you live until you have build up a solid track record of sales. Keep track of everything you do and all the information you gather in a great CRM system.
#3: Hone Your Ethics and Reputation
In the wine industry, reputation is everything. Since so many people want a wine broker job, you have to ensure your standing is spotless from the start.
Some ways you can hone these skills:
- always treat everyone with respect – no matter their pay grade
- pay everyone on time
- only work with people who share your ethics – you don’t want someone else to ruin that fine reputation by association
Speaking about the importance of ethics during a wine broker job interview is a great way to set yourself out from the crowd.
#4: Mingle and Network
If you hate networking, a career as a wine broker may not be for you. So much of this job involves turning on the charm and building contacts. This process can be as informal as inviting someone you’ve admired in the industry for a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine!) and picking their brains on what helped get them to this point in their career.
Alternatively, you can attend specifically advertised networking events and expos.
Before you attend a networking event, you might benefit from polishing up your charms and having a look at this video, taking you through the six keys to selling fine wine.
And, by all means, maintain an up-to-date and professional social media presence.
#5: Set Up Wine Broker Job Alerts and Reach Out to Dream Firms
At the time of writing, good old LinkedIn had over 900 wine broker jobs advertised. Naturally, not all of these will match what you’re looking for, but it’s a great start. Allow the wonders of the internet to work for you and set up regular alerts for job boards informing you of the latest wine broker jobs.
Alternatively, do you have a specific wine brokerage firm you’ve admired for a long time? It’s more than appropriate to reach out, introduce yourself and send in your resume. Offer to introduce yourself properly in person or via Zoom. The chances are that you will either get lucky and someone in the position you want is getting ready to leave, or they’ll be impressed enough by your gutsy tenacity and grit that they’ll call you when something becomes available.
About: Green Glass Global
You can finally take a well-deserved sip of that Barolo now, by the way, pat yourself on the back for making it through to the end.
At Green Glass Global, we are a tight-knit band of wine and spirits brokers. Our mission in this industry is to elevate the relationship between buyers and sellers by always putting the customers’ needs first.
Do you have a wish list of significant accounts you’d like to be in? Of course, you do, and we have relationships with these buyers that allow us to reach out and put your products in front of them.
We’re always looking for talented wine and spirit brokers to join our team. Have a peek at what we’re looking for, and get ready to take your place among us.