How Do I Become a Wine Broker?

To work as a wine broker, you must first have a thorough understanding of the industry and the ability to close sales. There are several ways to begin a career as a wine broker. Some work independently, while others work for distributorships as sales representatives. If you don’t have much experience with wine, the first step is to go to some wine tastings, take some classes, and read relevant reference books. After you’re satisfied with your level of knowledge, you can either cultivate relationships with local wineries or apply to work for a distributor. To become a wine broker, the final step is to become acquainted with the local business community, forming relationships with grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and other potential buyers.

Wine brokers are individuals who help wineries and retail establishments make deals. Some wineries use distributors, in which case employees known as sales representatives perform the same basic job. In either case, a broker or sales representative’s job is to persuade retailers to stock wines produced one or more client wineries.

You must first determine whether a license is required before becoming a wine broker. The manner in which the transactions are handled, as well as whether or not you ever take legal possession of the wine, is sometimes used to determine whether or not you need a license, but the rules vary location. If your area requires a license, you’ll need to go through the process of getting one before you can start representing wineries.

Obtaining a working knowledge of wine is typically the first step in any wine broker’s career. If you’re not familiar with the terminology or how to properly taste and assess wine, you might want to do some research or enroll in some classes. Attending wine tastings may also be beneficial in terms of developing your palate. Another option for gaining a better understanding of the product is to work for a while at a wine retailer or even a winery. You can move on to the next stage once you’re confident in your understanding of the subject.

To succeed as a wine broker, you’ll need to establish good working relationships with some of your local wineries. This is typically accomplished visiting local wineries and introducing yourself, though attending events such as wine tastings can also be beneficial. In order to sell wines produced your clients, you’ll also need to build relationships with local retailers.

Although there are independent wine brokerages, large distributors, and everything in between, some wine brokers work independently. If you have a sales background and a strong understanding of wine, you might be able to find work with one of these companies. Because you will typically be provided with training, this is often the simplest way to become a wine broker. Local wineries and retail establishments may be introduced to you the brokerage or distributor, allowing you to quickly build a client base.