The Wine Guild of the United Kingdom has launched a one-day introduction to wine course designed for young front-of-house staff.
Intended to help boost sales of wine, the course will offer staff an appreciation of wine, its production, and how to serve it. It involves a tutored tasting, and focuses on the quality of wine, its different types, how to read labels, the importance of temperature, wine service, and an introduction to food and wine matching.
The course has been trialled in a number of hotel groups, and the Guild says it has boosted some sales by as much as 10%.
Course tutors are chosen from experts already on the Wine Guild's panel, including Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers.
It costs £200, but a bursary scheme funded by the Lord Forte Foundation means there are 100 places per year at £110 each, for staff under 25 years of age. The Guild is also seeking hospitality partners who, in exchange for providing the venue and wines, will be invited to send 10 participants free of charge.
The next available date is 22 December, from 10am-5pm at London's Park Plaza County Hall hotel. Dates for 2015 are yet to be announced, although the Guild would like to include some courses outside London.
Wine Guild chairman Mike Hildesley explained that customers appreciate advice on choosing wine, especially less well-known options, and that waiters and sommeliers who can offer knowledgeable responses would give diners a positive view of an establishment.
He added: "The course gives young staff the confidence that comes from being better informed about what they're selling [and] I also hope we can fuel what could become a lifelong interest in wine amongst new recruits to the hospitality sector."
Established in 1983, the Wine Guild seeks to encourage the enjoyment and understanding of wine, and to support UK wine producers. Members can take part in training, tastings, dinners, visits and tours.
Recently-inducted honorary members including legendary restaurateur Anton Mosimann, along with sommeliers Loic Avril (the Fat Duck restaurant), Tanguy Martin (the TerraVina hotel), and Myles Donneky (bar manager at AquaShard).