Wine Jobs and Careers: Wine Course on Importing Wine is Good Training

Debbie Trenholm BlogBy Debbie Trenholm

Since I began working in the wine industry over 10 years ago, there are two questions that I am constantly asked:

“I was away on holidays in ‘wherever’ and discovered X Wine that isn’t at the LCBO. How can I get it shipped into Ontario?”

“I want to get a job in the wine and beer business. Any tips on where to start?”

If I had a toonie for each time I get asked these questions, I would be drinking Champagne every day!

With the rapid growth of the wine, craft beer and premium spirits too, there are countless opportunities to either join an established agency or to start your own.  You just need to be ‘in the know’ about them.  carafe of red wine

Additionally, you can get in on the ground floor at local wineries, craft breweries and distillers who are staffing up before they open their doors.  Still you need to be ‘in the know’ as rarely are these job posted on Workopolis or Monster.

Keeping your ear to the ground approach may not conjure up many job opportunities quickly.  So how to get a jump start?

The Answer: attend the informative seminar Importing Wine, Craft Beer & Spirits for Pleasure & Profit led by industry expert Steven Trenholme.

This wine seminar is hosted three times a year (twice in Toronto & once in Ottawa). Email cstrenholme@sympatico.ca to receive information on the next date.

Steven knows everything AND everyone in the industry. In his 30+ year career, he has been a wine agent, a brand manager for Mosel wines of Germany, the Canadian representative for South African Wines, a recruiter for wine and beer companies and a manager of a national agency.  Steven definitely has the ‘how tos’ for the above two questions that I am always asked!

“As Canadians thirst for more diversity in the alcoholic beverages that they consume, this presents a very real opportunity for new agents and importers,” Steven says. “There are hundreds of wineries around the world actively looking for importers to represent them in Canada, so there are many opportunities to develop a full or part-time career in the industry.”

The statistics validate these opportunities too. During 2011-2012 fiscal year, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario  reported sales of over $3.2 billion worth of imported alcoholic beverages – a 6% increase over the previous year.  During the same year, the LCBO reported that overall beer sales hit $908.8 million – a 4% (or $35 million) increase over the previous year.

If you are intrigued about the wine, beer or spirits industry – whether importing it or getting involved in the growing Canadian industry, you will find Steven’s seminar invaluable.  The knowledge he will share will add credibility to your job application as it is THE ‘must attend’ seminar in the beverage alcohol business.  After this seminar, you’ll definitely have a head start on your job search or might even be inspired to go out on your own.  That is what happened to me. I attended it twice to keep up on the changing rules of importing wines, as well as the operations and processes of the LCBO and the SAQ in Quebec.

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