When a fine wine broker tells people what their job is like, everyone’s response is: “Sounds like fun. You’re so lucky.” Particularly if you tell them about your trips to wineries all expenses paid, your lunches with winemakers, and your private collection. That sounds wonderful.
Your typical day as a professional wine broker can be like this:
Set up appointments, grab wine to taste and try to close the deal without being too pushy.
Becoming a fine wine broker, same as every other job, has its learning curve in the beginning.
In the beginning, there is a lot of cold calling. You never know what you’re gonna find on the other end but cold calling in person, you can use your charm.
After you got your appointments set up, look at your inventory. It’s your precious asset. In the beginning, you might go to sleep staring at wine and wake up staring at it.
You’ll learn how to make the best use of your samples. You’ll learn which wine to take with you to any different appointment you are going to, and which are the wines everyone needs. You’ll visit local grocery stores and restaurants and introduce yourself to management. Talking to them about their wine selection and their satisfaction with it, you’ll get to offer your services. Restaurants are always interested in having a wine selection that is varied and distinctive, and you’ll learn how to make them feel like they are getting a distinctive product. Experience will the teach you how to answer to people who want your phenomenal ones: “Too bad, there isn’t much left but I think it would work in your favour if you ordered some other items from the portfolio“.
Before the presentation, you’ll have educated yourself on wines as much as you can, especially on the products you sell. You’ll know the main points to make: the winemaker, the oak and the scores. Wine tasting, you’ll learn about the subtle features of the wines you sell, that make them popular. Keep at hand the always useful Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2018. Having a direct relationship with wineries will also improve your customers’ perceptions of you because of your “insider knowledge.”
You’ll always be on time and look your best at your appointments. Your look, behaviour – yourself as a whole – will represent the wine companies you are selling the products for.
You’ll soon realise there are so many of (good) wine brokers around, that you’ll have to find ways to be remembered by your buyers. In person, on the phone, through email: you want to mean: “I haven’t gone anywhere. You don’t need anyone else. Just me. Trust me. I got your best wine”. The last thing you want is to be forgotten or worse yet replaced with any Mr X, who could step in at any moment and charm your buyer, leaving out of a big placement. This is any broker’s nightmare.
You’ll make follow-up visits to clients you have made sales to. You’ll inquire about their satisfaction with their wines, and offer alternatives that might better suit them. You’ll even take your top clients on wine-tasting trips with you, sometimes, further cementing your business relationships.
And yes, there is pressure – Every winery wants you to sell. Sell it and sell it now. But you know what, you’ll love it. You’ll love it when you taste something you can’t even pronounce and gives you goosebumps. You’ll love it when a buyer says to you: “Hey, where have you been? I missed you”.
If you’re ready to love your future wine trader career, check all the best wine broker jobs here and apply: your next amazing opportunity might be awaiting you right now!