Training courses for tasting room staff

Monday, 8 March, 2004
Emma Burger
Critical training for direct sales and marketing
The Senior Cellar Worker Development Programme (SKOP) was developed by the Elsenburg Cellar Technology Old Students Organazitation (EKOV) in the 1980's, followed by a joint venture with the Cape Wine Academy in 2000.

2003 Marked the independence of SKOP along with the implementation of an advanced Skop 3 programme, entry-level Skop 1 and intermediate Skop2 programmes were also both updated. In 2003, 408 students graduated from SKOP, compared to only 168 in 2001. More than 80 students enrolled for the Advanced Skop 3 course, offered for the first time in November 2003. Today more than 20 old 'Skoppers' work either as Winemakers or Assistant-Winemakers in the Industry.

Tasting Room and Administrative Staff of Wine Cellars, as well as members of the public have enrolled for Skop Training since 2003, and due to public demand it was decided to present a special Skop Course specifically catering for this group. For many wineries, direct sales of wine via their tasting rooms are becoming critical as a revenue generating point. Professional Customer Service is instrumental when wanting to increase wine sales. With extensive product knowledge, staff will be equipped to provide a well informed, professional service.

An empirical research study was conducted in the United States by Dr. Elizabeth Thach of the School of Business and Economics, Sonoma State University. 61 Tasting room employees of California participated in the study. The paper was also submitted to the third Australian Wine Marketing Conference on 'Wine Branding / Marketing' in July 2003. It was interesting to note that 77% of respondents indicated they required further training on winemaking methods and 72% required Grape Growing / Viticulture training. Most respondents were satisfied with the Customer Service Training. Is this also the need of our own South African Industry?

With an informal need assessment, Tasting Room staff emphasized their lack of in-depth knowledge when answering 'difficult questions' posed by well informed clients. Tasting Room Staff who attended the SKOP courses are now convinced that the course has changed their approach, as they have gained confidence when dealing with matters such as fining, filtering etc.

The content of the SKOP course includes Viticulture, Fermentation, the Winemaking Process, handling of Additives, Cellar Hygiene, Occupational Safety and much more. Special emphasis will be placed on Communication in the Cellar environment with focus on Cellar Tours and Wine Tasting. An interesting lecture on Marketing will conclude the 2-day course.

The lectures are presented by experienced Winemakers, Viticulturists, Marketing and Communication professionals who are committed to stay ahead of new trends and technology.

Starts : 16 March at 08:30
Ends : 17 March at 17:00
Location : Lourensford Cellar, Somerset West
Cost : R650,00

For more information, or to obtain an Application form, contact Emma Burger on +27 (0) 82 851 3164 or email