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Former Accolade brand manager launches trade-focused wine school

Published:  11 October, 2016

A new wine school has been launched offering bespoke training services to staff across both the off- and the on-trade.

Epsom-based Wine Confidence, a WSET-approved programme provider, is led by Deborah Zbinden, who has some 15 years' experience as a marketer and brand manager with major producers such as Accolade Wines and Treasury Wine Estates.

Zbinden's commercial experience ranges from big-selling popular brands - including Hardy's, Rosemount and Wolf Blass - to up-and-coming wines from countries such as Portugal, Chile, New Zealand and Spain.

Zbinden's aim is to provide her students with both wine expertise and the practical skills to maximise that expertise in a commercial environment, making better informed recommendations to their own retail or on-trade customers and driving more profitable sales.

Courses at Wine Confidence range from bespoke two-hour sessions to full-day workshops and can be structured around retailer's or restaurant's own wine lists - for example to train staff ahead of key trading periods in encouraging up-selling and experimentation.

Wine Confidence

Zbinden said: "Wine shouldn't be an unknown when people spend so much of their hard earned money on it and with effective training the industry can help consumers to better navigate the wine lists and aisles, providing more opportunities for experimentation and trading up."

Wine Confidence launches at a time when demand for wine education is growing rapidly, with WSET candidate numbers up some 14% in the UK in 2016.

Zbinden is a WSET-certified educator and former winner of a Sherry Institute of Spain scholarship.

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