- Albertsons has partnered with the Napa Valley Wine Academy to offer a newly developed certification program to its beverage stewards to help shoppers find the right wine, according to a press release.
- The proprietary certification is available online for associates to complete while on the job, and has two levels: Wine 101 and Wine 201.
- Albertsons is sponsoring the courses at a time when grocers are looking to boost consumers’ confidence in their employees’ expertise and also roll out more training opportunities for workers.
The wine assortment at grocery stores can be daunting to shoppers. Albertsons is looking to remedy that by boosting employees' knowledge with training from an award-winning wine school.
"Many of our stores have more than 1,000 different wines on the shelf, and it is our job to help our customers find the right bottle for every occasion," Curtis Mann, master of wine and group vice president of wine, beer and spirits for the grocer, said in the announcement.
The online courses use video, text, graphics and "an interactive experience" to cover both domestic wines and ones from around the world, according to the press release. It takes employees roughly 12 to 14 hours to complete the first level and 18 to 20 hours to finish the second level.
All courses are asynchronous and can be accessed by employees at any time, according to the announcement.
Albertsons, like other grocers, has been working to become a destination for wine, beer and spirits. The grocer has been opening stores with walk-in wine cellars, growing its portfolio of private label wines and expanding the reach of on-demand alcohol delivery and pickup. Last year, Albertsons opened an in-store bar called Talon Tap & Spirits at its flagship store in Meridian, Idaho, and was named Retailer of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
While other grocers, like Gelson's Markets in California, are also working on educating their staff to help shoppers make more informed decisions in the alcohol aisle, the Albertsons announcement is notable for its partnership with a wine school on an exclusive offering.
The Napa Valley Wine Academy is a two-time winner of the Global Wine Educator of the Year recognition from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), which is the largest global provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications. Based in Napa Valley, California, the school claims to be the most awarded WSET wine school in the world.
The training comes at a time when retailers are struggling to retain and hire workers. More training was listed among top desires among frontline workers, according to a newly released report from Axonify and Arlington Research. Almost one-third (32.2%) of respondents said they want more training and skills development, per the survey of 2,564 workers in the grocery, retail, finance and professional sales industries in the U.S., Australia and U.K. For training, workers across age demographics showed a stronger preference for digital over traditional methods.