A Peek At The WISE Way To Train Modern Wine Marketers

Food & Drink

Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

With exceptions, the American wine industry hasn’t been known for innovative marketingWine Industry Sales and Education (WISE) has been attemptiing to change the industry’s outlook since 2008 when it became the first wine industry Direct-to-Consumer (DtC) sales and marketing training ground and certification program. Since then, WISE has branched into other coaching services. 

With an overall team of ten experts in their respective wine industry fields, WISE provides a curriculum of twenty courses and certification in programs like Wine Fluency Bootcamp, Tasting Room Professional, Wine Club Management, Demystifying Financials and Mastering Public Speaking. The company provides training in wine industry research and analysis, a mystery shopping program to provide wineries with data, and custom winery staff training. The custom training covers areas like executive coaching, managing change, auditing brands, and even employee compensation policy.

Lesley Berglund, Co-founder  & CEOBob McClenahan Photgraphy

Co-founder and CEO, Napa-based Lesley Berglund, wanted to celebrate WISE’s 10-year Anniversary by establishing a leadership forum called WISE CabinetBerglund says, “When we began offering classes in 2008, DtC was in its infancy and today it is the primary driver of success for many wineries…WISE Cabinet is a network of invitation-based leadership forums designed to blend peer professional learning and support with the best of WISE leadership development programs.”

To celebrate the anniversary, the company kicked off WISE Cabinet on Wednesday, September 19 with a wine sales tip post on its four social media pages: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Fans who liked or commented with additional feedback or ideas were entered into a random drawing. Each week for ten weeks thereafter, a new sales tip would be posted and a winner randomly selected for that week to receive a $100 forum class credit, for a total giveaway of $1000. The program is in its third week; its winners will be announced the final week on Thursday, November 22.

WISE trainers deliver their comprehensive curriculum to wine industry professionals in Northern and Central Coast California, Oregon, Washington, New York, New Zealand, Canada and beyond. But the categories and classes offered through WISE Cabinet are directed solely at Northern California winery owners, executives and managers (other wine regions will be brought into the program later). Relevant formal higher education content is part of the WISE offering through a collaboration with Harvard Business School.

Wine industry peer members meet six times a year for four hours per cabinet meeting. Led by a certified WISE moderator, each forum meets at its own selected location and on its own meeting dates. The categories are: Executive Leadership Forum (owners, CEOs, upper management—priced at $2,500 annually) DtC Masters Forum (executives in charge of DtC at a winery—priced at $2,500 annually) and DtC Leaders Forum (DtC managers in the tasting room, online and for events—priced at $1,500 annually).

These programs seem like a fine idea and I wish they had been around when I entered the wine business a thousand years ago… 

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