The New Wine Director will be built. It is possible.
If I could build a terminator Wine Director, the Wine Director of the future – the below is where I would start.
The Real Knowledge
I am sorry to say, but wine knowledge today means much less than it once did. I know, I know, knowledge is power, but let me explain…
Pretty much everyone I work with (sell to) is more knowledgeable about wine than their colleagues were last year. There are multiple reasons for this, but primarily: information is immediately available to anyone who is interested. Anything can be found and recited back in less than a minute on google.
Here is the real wine knowledge: knowing the market. Knowing what is available and how it stacks up. This is where it is at, and in the more than eleven years I have been doing this, the best of the best have this type of knowledge in common. They know what is out there, and by extension, they choose their partners wisely.
The New Wine Director will be market fluent.
This one I am particularly sensitive about. Decant this, siphon that, pour that person first. Who isn’t all in on these skills? You have to be able to handle wine. But, become great at talking to people? Be a great tableside conversationalist with wine and other stuff, too? This seems to be on the downturn.
The new Wine Director will be a GREAT listener and salesperson. A tableside service assassin who can teach others to do the same.
There are some that do this well and it is notable. But let me ask this: who is taking the time to create GREAT wine directors today. Who makes those around them advance forward towards their ultimate goals. I know this exists in rare occurrences, but not to the level we need it to in the top market in the world. If we are building the next generation, we need leaders that can motivate selflessly.
The New Wine Director will be an expert leader.
“ The new Wine Director will be a GREAT listener and salesperson. A tableside assassin.
The New Wine Director will have to be business fluent. The level of businessperson that can hold the attention of a restaurateur or an investor and convince them of a new direction that can be validated by the day-to-day. A Futurist. A collaborator. An Excel Spreadsheet Master.
The New Wine Director is a strong Businessperson.
Travel is currently handed out like free pamphlets on the street because every wine area and consortium is actively trying to build fans, but most have little idea which direction will bring the most lasting effect. Every appellation wants to have a Chianti Classico camp with a superstar sommelier ambassador, but it just ain’t going to happen. Want to go to Georgia, even though you would never buy Georgian wine, or even make a dent as an ambassador? Here is a ticket. Have fun. How many followers do you have again? The best Wine Directors I know travel with ideas for their future list, not to see sights.
The New Wine Director will travel with a purpose.
The best Wine Directors have an area or charity they want to get behind. They will have a mission that informs their overall direction that isn’t just business building, but community building.
The New Wine Director will be a community builder.