About Wine Industry Sales Education
We know that there are many wine education options for students and employers to consider. The WISE (Wine Industry Sales Education) Academy is unique in that it is the first-ever wine certification program dedicated to direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales.
Our research indicates that few wineries have maximized the DTC opportunity, and the lack of skilled professionals is often cited as the main reason for not capitalizing on the additional revenue and profit potential it represents. We aim to set new standards in direct-to-consumer sales education. WISE certification will signify knowledge and skill sets that significantly exceed current industry benchmarks. To succeed in today’s economic climate, it will require greater efficiency and creativity in meeting the needs of consumers. We believe focusing on improved DTC resources can meet those needs.
The WISE Academy, through its coursework and certification programs, is committed to teaching the skill sets and general knowledge required of today’s wine industry direct-to-consumer (DTC) professional. Although we are focused on this single sales channel, WISE takes a liberal arts approach – teaching our graduates how to think about DTC, what questions to ask, and various approaches to problem solving. WISE graduates are not one-dimensional in their approach to the DTC opportunity. They are confident, decisive, and aware of the increasingly important role they play.
The WISE Academy provides education, training, and certification for wine industry professionals who deal directly with consumers. The company was created in 2008 to address a core challenge in the wine industry: an urgent need for well-educated, direct marketing staff, managers, and leaders in all aspects related to consumer direct sales programs (i.e., tasting room, customer service, events, wine club, online, etc.).
WISE was co-founded by Lesley Berglund and Mack Schwing, two well-respected wine industry leaders in the areas of consumer direct and executive education. Over the past two decades, Berglund has built several successful wine related companies that have helped propel the consumer direct wine sales revolution. “We founded this company to raise the bar, to raise industry standards in direct-to-consumer wine sales,” says Berglund. Mack Schwing, former Director of the Wine Business Program at Sonoma State University, adds, “WISE graduates will have more career advancement and compensation opportunities. Wineries will benefit as they begin to realize their full consumer direct sales and profits potential.”
WISE is supported by a dedicated and accomplished Advisory Board. With input from many industry peers and a unique piece of research regarding current Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) best practices in the wine industry, the WISE Academy certification program was created to meet the demands of today’s market.
There is a gap between the high demand for skilled consumer direct talent amongst wine companies and the associated skill sets and candidates that are currently available. In addition, there is no comprehensive and meaningful certification
program that can guarantee a standard of excellence to both prospective students and current/potential employers. Berglund states, “We have a macro problem in the industry: winery needs have outstripped the available talent pool of consumer direct professionals. The WISE response is to deliver a macro solution by creating higher consumer direct standards and then educating and training the industry to meet them.”