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Berkmann to train 20,000 hospitality professionals

Published:  16 January, 2024

Leading UK wine distributor Berkmann Wine Cellars has re-launched Veraison, a training programme designed to futureproof wine culture in the on-trade hospitality sector.

The initiative will see Berkmann train over 20,000 hospitality professionals as part of a commitment to rejuvenate on-trade wine sales.

Devised in collaboration with behavioural scientist Dr Rachael Skews, Veraison has been primarily curated for the Gen Z age group (born between 1997 and 2012) which is a major segment of the UK hospitality workforce.

Bob Davidson, Veraison’s training manager, said: “What makes Veraison special is our approach to the training – it is new to the wine trade and one that is about inspiring and instilling a real passion for wine culture. We know that for many 18-25-year-olds, wine is an inaccessible and alien subject – so we are determined to give them a reason to engage with it.”

The programme comes amidst changing drinking habits in younger generations. According to the IWSR, wine consumption in the on-trade has dropped by 26% in volume when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

With its brand-new app, Veraison’s content is delivered in bite-sized chunks and features elements of gamification to help appeal to its digital-first target audience.

Dr Rachael Skews, behavioural scientist, said: “I welcome the Veraison team's forward-thinking in adopting new, more effective training methods, plus the Veraison materials are beautifully and clearly presented. By including exercises for developing empathy with customers, co-creating wine vocabulary and discussing participants' feelings, we have designed a powerful training programme that will give hospitality staff the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to succeed.”

The new format will train up to 20,000 drinks professionals this year across Berkmann’s 3,000-strong client base. Initially launched in 2016, Veraison has hosted over 1,000 sessions with 9,000 participants, equating to approximately 13,000 hours of training. 

Meanwhile, Berkmann’s revenue has grown 25% from pre-pandemic sales to an estimated £100m in the current financial year, with around three-quarters of that business generated by its on-trade focus.