Wine merchants, or wine retailers, buy wine from
growers abroad or from shippers and sell it in the UK.
Their work varies according to the size and type of
In a large, wholesale business they may work as buyers, importers, general managers, or retail managers. The management roles involve recruiting, training and organising staff, greeting customers and offering advice on the most suitable wines for their needs. Wine merchants take payment for goods, order and display stock, meet sales targets, keep accounts and records, and ensure all legal requirements are met.
Specialist buyers for large wine merchants frequently travel abroad to find new wines, visit vineyards, negotiate prices, check production standards and maintain relationships with producers.
Wine importers or brokers liaise between vineyards abroad and wholesalers in the UK who sell to restaurants and hotels.
Small independent wine merchants are mainly concerned with sourcing and buying wine and selling it from a shop or by mail order. This involves buying and storing wine, advertising it for sale and dispatching orders. Independent wine merchants usually buy from shippers, rarely travelling abroad, but may attend wine tastings in the UK. The daily work of a small independent wine merchant is similar to that of a retail manager (see Retail Store Manager profile).
The work is mainly office or shop based.
Managers and sales staff work shifts to cover retail outlet opening times. Small, independent wine merchants are likely to work longer hours, particularly if they have a retail outlet.
Specialist buyers spend time in wine producers’ cellars and production areas, and usually travel abroad several times a year, and for a few days at a time.
The work can involve a degree of bending, lifting and carrying.
To be a wine merchant you should:
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