Wine Consulting 101: Tips from Sonal Holland MW.

As wine’s popularity grows in India, so does the scope of opportunities it creates for wine professionals. One such highly interesting profile is that of a wine consultant- a wine expert who can shape choices of collectors, consumers, retailers and winemakers with the singular aim of promoting good wines and getting a buyer the value for their money. But wine consulting isn’t as breezy a job as it may sound.

A lot of people think that wine consulting is all about visiting wine cellars and drinking great wine while you make a list of which wines you’d endorse and which you wouldn’t. But this is not entirely correct. A wine consultant is integral to shaping the wine culture of a society, one good bottle of wine at a time. And there are so many roles to choose from.

Also Read: 10 Most Popular Wine Styles In India

Many establishments are now hiring wine consultants to curate their wine programmes in order to elevate the customer experience. You can also work with wine connoisseurs to shape their wine collection or help exporters enter a domestic wine market and guide them through the country’s regulatory framework and consumer trends. If you are a trained viticulturist, then you can also work as a consultant for a vineyard and help them optimise their output, while promoting sustainability.

Here are some useful wine consulting tips:

Play on your strengths: Your first step as a wine consultant should be to select a domain for yourselves, based on your interests and strengths. If you do not have a good nexus of importers to tap into, then consulting for exporters is not your cup of tea. If managing cellars and procuring rare wines with huge potential is your thing, then you’ll do great as a consultant for wine collectors.

Build your network: No matter what your job profile says, as a consultant you need to have a network that supports your role. Importers, collectors, resellers, retailers, winemakers, and hospitality professionals, always make sure that you are well-connected within the industry and your area of expertise.

Also Read: What is High-Quality Wine?

Update and upskill, always: Like any other field, upskilling is very important for wine consultants. For instance, one of your clients might want to explore a blockchain-based fine wine trading platform and may turn to you for advice. Or an exporter may want to know about the changes in state regulations for importing wines. Always upgrade your knowledge to stay on top of the game.

Plan your finances: If you have not been retained on a fixed monthly fee, then it is best to plan your finances so that you can sustain yourselves while working as a freelancer. There will be months when you may have so much work that you will struggle to keep track of all your assignments, but there will be times when you barely have a steady gig or two in your hands. It is important to plan your finances accordingly so that you are not pushed to a corner and have to take up work that doesn’t suit you, in order to pay your bills.

Always remember why you do this: You love wine- that’s the long and short of it. It is this love and passion for the beverage that’ll keep you going on bad days and make success worthwhile. This will also help you bring your A-game to work every single day.

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