Wine is more than simply a beverage – it is a multi-sensory journey that elevates every experience and enhances every moment. When it comes to choosing the right glass or bottle, your team is trusted as industry professionals to help guide the decision. Doing so requires a blend of knowledge and experience. No matter how much experience your team has, there are several ways to help them navigate the vast world of wine and make informed recommendations.  


The first step is getting them acquainted with as many wines as possible. Consider hosting a tasting event that familiarizes them with options from diverse regions, allowing them to recommend wines based on their provenance. Invite industry experts to help your staff hone their ability to discern aromas, flavors, acidity, and tannins so they can better guide customers. You can even provide them with cheat sheets, charts or apps that helps them make recommendations.  


It is also imperative to teach staff members about classic wine and food pairings, such as Cabernet Sauvignon with steak or Chardonnay with seafood. Wine and food are natural complements, so it’s important to understand which selections go together. Again, host a tasting event with different combinations to help them discover new and exciting matches that elevate both the wine and the dish.  


When it comes time to offer a recommendation, make sure servers get to know their customers by asking questions to get more insight on what they may be looking for. Are they seasoned wine enthusiasts looking for rare finds, or are they beginners seeking approachable options? Have them tailor recommendations accordingly, offering a diverse range of wines that cater to different palates and experiences.  


To boost sales, train your staff to upsell and cross-sell wine. Emphasize the benefits of wine pairing, like enhancing flavors, creating memorable experiences, and discovering new favorites. Offer diverse options like wines by the glass, bottle, or flight to cater to various occasions and preferences. 


Ensure your staff excels in wine service by following best practices: check labels, open bottles correctly, pour smoothly, and present corks. Train them to use the right tools, master techniques, and adhere to proper etiquette for a professional and elegant service. Additionally, teach them to handle common issues like corked wine, sediment, and faulty closures. 




Lastly, remember to always keep teaching. Make sure your team is updated with the latest trends, regions, and varietals in the wine world. Host tastings, give them wine publications, and have them engage with fellow enthusiasts to broaden their understanding. Invite them to embrace customer feedback and use it to refine their recommendations and enhance their expertise.  


Making expert wine recommendations is a skill anyone can learn. By understanding their customers, expanding their knowledge, and embracing diverse options, your staff can elevate the wine experience and guide others on a memorable journey they’ll come back for again and again. Cheers to this exciting pursuit.