Wine Expert Calls for Trainees with Grape Potential

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County Down wine merchant, JNwine.com, today challenged novices to prove they can turn their hobby into a career and become professional wine experts.

Unveiling the scheme are master wine merchant, James Nicholson, and team members Gillian Crozier (left) and Kristin Collins.

We’re not necessarily looking for someone with existing wine knowledge, retail experience or qualifications. A positive attitude, ‘can-do’ approach and passion for the produce are more much important.

County Down wine merchant, JNwine.com, today challenged novices to prove they can turn their hobby into a career and become professional wine experts.

Applicants signing up to the vineyard version of The Apprentice will need to wow judges at a number of challenges, including a blind taste test, and prove they have the palate and passion for the unique role.

The most promising candidates will join the Crossgar-based specialist on a paid nine-month training programme which includes a work placement with one of Europe’s top producers during a wine harvest. The firm will also sponsor successful applicants through the industry-approved Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) intermediate certificate.

Managing Director James Nicholson said the final trainees would have the chance to work in all divisions within the company and across its sites in Dublin and Crossgar.

“Wine is a global product and one that excites people, but good opportunities to work in the industry can be rare. With the right experiences and a little training you can use your palate and knowhow to build a rewarding career anywhere in the world.

“This training scheme offers the chance to see all aspects of the modern wine industry at local level with our sales; merchandising and purchasing in Dublin and Crossgar, and internationally with one of the best producers in Europe during a vintage (grape harvest).

“We’re excited by the work we do and the people we work with. We’re not necessarily looking for someone with existing wine knowledge, retail experience or qualifications. A positive attitude, ‘can-do’ approach and passion for the produce are more much important.

The wine industry faces and ongoing need for educated and motivated staff and this is the second time the firm has invested in a competition to discover new talent.

Previous trainee Lucy McMillan was appointed in 2008 and went on to claim a fulltime position with the organisation before clinching another role within the industry at a London-based wine company earlier this year.

Winning the competition was an important career step says Lucy:

“Some training schemes can seem daunting, but this one was too good an opportunity to turn down and the experience has been exciting and genuinely rewarding. I was instantly welcomed as part of the team and worked with some of the best experts and producers in the business.

“Gaining sponsorship on the WSET course was an invaluable introduction to the skills of tasting and appreciating wine. But the apprenticeship is about gaining a deeper experience of wine through vineyard and winery visits, as well as hands-on grounding in the business side of things.”

“Working in the wine industry is unlike any other job. Gaining a place with the JNwine.com team has given me the chance to see the range of opportunities that exist and the knowhow to claim them.”

If you are interested in applying for the training scheme, please contact liz(at)jnwine(dot)com for an application pack. Forms must be returned by Wednesday 1st June 2011 and successful applicants will be invited for interview.

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Liz Creagh
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