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What are employers looking for in the wine and spirit industry?

Following our three part series in Wine Careers, of which you can read the other blogs here, we wanted to dive deeper into WHAT exactly employers are looking for when hiring. In the wine industry, employers look for the qualities, intelligence, hard-working and integrity. If, you don’t have integrity the other two are invalid, full stop.

Most career paths like law, dentistry, accounting, architecture have a set path.

With wine and spirits the path is more circuitous, adventurous and not predetermined. In many ways it is like wine-making, you chart your own career path.

Unless you are in the administration, logistics and making of wine and spirits, the remaining predominant positions all revolve around selling and promotion of wine and spirits.

SPIN Selling System – how do you apply this in the Wine Industry?

Situation: Establish current situation.

Problem: Identify problems faced.

Implication: Explore the causes and effects of those problems.

Need-Payoff: Show why you are worth it.

Let’s apply the SPIN concept to this example.


You are applying for a position selling Italian wine in a company importing, selling, promoting and marketing Italian wine. Before you walk into the interview, if you are a salesperson, make sure you have a valid drivers license, can carry a case of wine or two, presentable and willing to work long hours. These are standard requirements, then the difference comes into your wine knowledge.

Skills you need to apply: Knowing current information and practical situational knowledge that allows you to capture and utilize your knowledge when assessing the situation of the business where you are applying.


The company is facing low sales and want you to look into why it is happening if you join the team. They haven’t been having a lot of traffic and you noticed that they don’t have an online presence. Analyze their business model and see how you can contribute positively to it.

Skills you need to apply: Ask around. Speak with customers. Do some research. Keep your eyes and ears open while being analytical and critical to what you learn about the business.


What is the reason for low sales? Could it be that the selection of wine is not correct, pricing is incorrect and priced too high? Or bulk wine is required for this market not the high-end wines currently on order? Is the business aligned with its customer’s needs?

Skills you need to apply: Have a firm foundation of knowledge incorporating a sound understanding of Italian wine in the market through a combined coursework covering Italian culture, food, history, values and places. Having a whole and full picture of where Italian wines are ranked in the world will greatly help you to solve this problem.


Spewing forward Italian names of grapes and places are frankly pointless when you are talking to buyer who needs to move product. No body’s child is ugly that’s why no wine-maker will tell you their wine is bad. Now, telling the restauranteur, Amarone is made in North East Italy and the grapes used are a hard sell because they can read that up themselves. Now if you were to tell the restaurant buyer why this wine pairs well with certain foods on their menu, that’s a winner. Or you tell the importer why their selection beats the competitors not only on price, possibly personal service and you can compare and contrast wines, that will open eyes wide.

Skills you need to apply: Apply your deep knowledge about Italian food and wine pairing. Tell them your reasoning as to why these wines deserve to be at a higher price point. This is because the method of production is longer, it is unique they use a method called appassimento, vital to the taste. Now you are convincing the buyer through practical applied knowledge, knowledge you can find in APWASI courses. Our courses are not monuments to memorization, we don’t expect prizes, we want to ensure our students are ready for the outside world as it is today. That’s why we use tri- sensory method, visual, reading and listening.

You need to be pragmatic, relevant and up-to-date and possessing situational awareness. You have to be an asset that produces regularly positive sales and increase the company bottom line.

Spin Selling Summary 
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You need to have exceptional social media skills in today’s sales world. Many wine companies have a digital presence. This has been particularly highlighted during COVID-19 when staying at home is everyone’s plans for the weekend. Also, think about learning an additioanl language. Think about it, most people from Europe all speak more than one language in fact most times three to four languages are now the norm. If you only speak English might I suggest you learn another language, and while you are doing that start learning about different cultures too.

APWASI Courses

Having studied a course curriculum that covers wine, culture, history, food and the future of wine of the respective country places the APWASI student in a pre-eminently stronger position that an applicant who knows labels, designated areas and tasting notes only. APWASI courses refer to the importance of pricing, sales, what importers, exporters, restaurants need. At the end of the day a prime factor is the price of the wine. We may not wish to know that horrible fact, but it’s a fact. Learn more about APWASI courses here.

In concluding, be practical, be up-to-date, be knowledgeable on the topic, have selling and social media skills. Extra language proficiency is a bonus and above all, enjoy what you want to do, if you are only doing it for the money you won’t last long. Apart from that advice, we wish you success in the adventures that lie ahead for you.