The business of Wine

So I'm sitting here at work (yes, I know, blogging at work is a big no-no, but I have nothing to do until the people in front clear out and I can sweep the sidewalk), thinking about several conversations I've had recently with customers and co-workers.

Wine is a business.

There have been several posts on this topic from some very good bloggers, and I'd like to add my $0.02 in.

First and foremost, the store I work at is intended to make money. Location #2, having been open only a short while, is already posting a profit, which is a wonderful sign. Location #1 is still a wonderful place to explore and find wines you've never heard of. As I continue to work here, I'm learning the ins and outs of running one's own store, and it is not easy. Seeing as how I plan on opening my own one day, here are a few things I've decided are essential.

1. Hire a manager for day-to-day business, general bookkeeping, and other paperwork. Said manager should NOT be responsible for ordering.

2. One person should be responsible for ordering. Whether it's the owner, or a buyer, that person should have no other responsibilities.

3. Communication is key. If the manager is responsible for all hiring, firing, raises, and other personnel issues, then they should keep the owner/s updated on all discussions relating to those issues.

4. Keep staff to a minimum, and do whatever you can to keep them full-time.

5. There must be schedules in place, and everyone must know them. This goes not only for shift schedules, but cleaning, general maintenance, and delivery.

6. Every week should see a new wine. If there isn't room on the shelves because of single bottles left, find a way to get rid of those single bottles. Put them in a bin for people to hunt through.

7. A bottle of something that isn't selling (and is stocked heavily) should be tasted every night.

8. Hold classes. More informed customers means more sales, and higher-priced wine.

9. Taste the staff on what is in-house. Encourage them to go to trade events, and make sure schedules are shifted to accommodate tastings. The staff must be educated. If that means having a rep in to taste everyone on what they have in-house, then so be it.

10. Have books and publications about wine available for sale, and for staff use. See #'s 7, 8, and 9 for reasons.

Those are my 10 points on running a wine store. Obviously some of them are general, and I may add to this later as I think of more, but for now this is good.

Now, to convince my landlord to allow me a kitten so I can rename this blog what I wish to have my future store named: Athena, Nico & Petite Sarai (Aglianico & Petite Sirah - two unusual grape varietals).

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