If you love to learn about wine, or even if you just enjoy drinking it and have a favourite type, Erica would be able to teach you all about it, what goes into it and what foods it pairs well with. Erica's company, Enjoy Discovering Wine has won international awards and is hugely successful. Some golden nuggets to take away from this interview!
Describe your business
I am a qualified wine trainer helping those that work with wine get more enjoyment from their jobs, or giving wine-lovers an increased pleasure in their pastime!
I run Enjoy Discovering Wine, for which I am the main trainer, but have a few other educators that also teach on our courses. We predominantly run courses that lead to the students gaining a UK Government qualification, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET®) Awards in wines and spirits.
We run bespoke WSET in-house training for companies such as hotel groups, pub chains, and restaurants, who want to ensure their staff are motivated to give their customers the best possible customer service. Companies such as Four Seasons and the Lime Wood.
We also host courses in Bournemouth and Winchester for these and other companies that want to send individual staff to gain their Level 1 to 3 qualifications but these courses are open to anyone who enjoys drinking wine and just wants to learn a bit, or a lot, more.
For those that do not want to gain a qualification in wine, we also run other fun wine tasting events including food and wine pairing workshops.
My colleague Helen and I are often hosting tailored wine tastings and food and wine pairing events for team-building, corporate hospitality and any other excuses!
How does a consultation with you work?
If someone is thinking they just want to know why they like e.g. Australian Shiraz so much, then I am happy to discuss whether one of our courses would benefit them.
Companies are often aware of WSET courses (it is often expected to be on CVs) so it is then just a meeting or conversation to discuss how we can tailor the training to their needs.
Who do you work with?
Anyone that wants to learn about wine. Even though the courses are run in a structured way to ensure success in gaining a qualification at the end, it could still just be for those that know what they like but want to know why they do and then explore that further. It always leads to people having the confidence to explore outside that comfort zone with wonderful results!
We have run in-house training for companies such as Pommery Champagne, The Pig Hotels, Wentworth Golf Club, Rathfinny Wine Estate, Fullers Pub Group, VistaJet, Four Seasons, Treasury Wine Estates, Captain’s Club, and many more. We have individuals coming along from places such as Hotel du Vin, Rick Stein Restaurants, The Cork & Cheese, many English vineyards such as Jenkyn Place and Hambledon, and numerous other respected places. So any company that wants their staff to feel valued and motivated through training.
What did you do before?
I worked for the head office of the WSET as their PR and Events manager.
What have been the biggest challenges of running your business?
Getting word out that there is a WSET provider in Hampshire and Dorset. Once people hear they are pleasantly surprised, people think you have to go to London to study for these qualifications.
What's in the pipeline for you?
We have lots of past students that have studied as far as they can with us and want more! So I am setting up a Wine Club for those that want to carry on learning but are not ready for the next step which could mean the WSET Diploma which is a big jump (two year’s study!) and not for them.
What are you proud of?
In 2013 I was awarded WSET Educator of the Year. There are hundreds of WSET Providers around the world (in 64 countries last count), so this was pretty special.
What advice would you offer wannabe entrepreneurs?
Ask for continual feedback from your customers and take it on board.
Erica's contact information
Winner of the WSET / Riedel Wine Educator of the Year
Phone: 07966 499589