In the last 2 years I continue to come in contact with a steady stream of people who are interested in either getting a job in the wine compliance area or would like to start their own winery compliance business. Good news! Good news you say? How can that be good news for me as a compliance business owner?
Well for one, the numbers in the wine industry only continue to go up and last time I checked there was still only one copy of me. Plus, I’m a big believer in working with perfect fit clients, and not everyone is going to be a perfect match for my winery compliance training services. (Or I may not be the perfect training match for them depending on how you look at it)
The common questions I am asked when contacted are:
1. How do I find training in winery compliance?
2. How do I find a job in winery compliance?
Yes, it is the classic “chicken and the egg” type scenario here. Which came first, the training or the job in winery compliance? Too often the job comes first and once there the training received is little to non-existent.
So what are my tips for you if you are someone who fits one of my above descriptions? I have a list of 5 steps I suggest you take to further your background and understanding of all that is involved in the wine compliance area to get you started off on the right foot.
Step 1. Research. Familiarize yourself with the informational resources that are out there in the form of websites. Among them are the TTB, CA ABC, and CDFA. (sorry- that’s a lot of acronyms to throw out at you- but welcome to compliance!)
Step 2. Read. Some of my top recommended reading materials are: “From Demon to Darling” by Richard Mendelson, The “TTB Wine Seminar Handout Packet” available on their website and then of course I recommend you read my book, “The Inside Story of a Wine Label”.
Step 3. Connect. Locate different wine industry related groups that you can join both in person and online. Start mixing with those already in the industry to get a feel for what they do and what areas you may want to dip your own toe further into.
Step 4. Experience. If you are someone who would like to work at a winery in the compliance area then consider applying for a winery harvest position which involves being a deputy weighmaster. This is where the world of winery compliance starts so to speak (weighing the grapes!) and a great way to gain exposure into how the wine tracking process starts. Other types of harvest internships may also offer you some hand’s on compliance experiences, so look further into those listings on job websites.
Step 5. Network. Start introducing yourself to others in the wine compliance area. Send introductory emails asking if they will talk briefly with you about their area of specialty, background and recommendations for getting into it. They may not all be receptive to this, but I can tell you I am always very excited to receive these kind of requests. (You’re my peeps!)
Lastly I like to mention that I commend you for wanting to get into an area of the wine industry that has probably the most unpopular image. It deserves as many championing it as it can get, and the more people get into it who truly enjoy the dynamics that can go a long way to turning that image around.