Drinks training

Here at Unity we are forever brushing up on our drinks knowledge…

and we believe that’s crucial to ensure we are giving the end consumer the best experience when it comes to exploring and tasting wine. We offer our customers various training from basic wine workshops right up to WSET training. All of our Category Development Managers are either qualified at WSET level 3 or training for it and so they will be able to personally recommend and support you with the training required for you and your staff. To find out more about training we can provide for you please contact info@unitywines.co.uk. We have pulled together some wine tips and things you might find interesting to get you started:

Aromas and flavours

Grape variety, climate, weather during the year in question and the winemaker’s techniques all help to differentiate each wine and make it unique. The aroma characters shown in the diagrams below come from both the grape itself and the effects of the fermentation process.

The customer is key

To deliver top quality customer service, the team’s attitude is as important as their skills in ensuring that customers have the best possible experience. There are three key stages of service: each influences the customer journey and, ultimately, their enjoyment of the experience. Breaking this process down allows your team to apply their knowledge and upgrade customers’ wine selections.

Taking the order

Allow the customer to read through the list and be prepared to answer any questions they may have. Make suggestions to make them comfortable, and provide direction

Theatre of wine

Open the bottle in front of the customer and offer them the opportunity to taste the wine. If they are not happy, you should replace both bottle and glass. If your are pouring for the customer, fill each glass to the widest point


Keep an eye on your customers and be attentive. Some will prefer to pour their own wine - just ask them. At the appropriate moment, offer to bring back the wine list so they can select a different bottle

Types of wine glass

Making sure you have the right glass for the right occasion is key. It’s proven that a customer is more likely to buy a second glass if the serve is correct, not only this but people buy with their eyes and seeing someone else with the correct serve will encourage a further purchase. See below for our guide to wine glasses:


The style dial

Having confidence in the various styles of wine will help you to make recommendations and offer alternatives. This knowledge provides a starting point to help you with recommendations and suggestions, and gives you some simplified descriptors in clear, concise language for your customers. The style dial will help you to create and recommend food pairings, and the guidelines make it easier to remember the various styles and where each variety sits within that group.



To maximise your customer’s enjoyment of the wine, the serving temperature is important. Don’t be tempted to serve whites too cold, and don’t be afraid of chilling some lighter reds, particularly in the warmer months.


The truth about price

It’s our job to educate wine consumers about what they are actually paying for when they buy a bottle of wine. There is a strong correlation to the selling price of a bottle of wine and the quality of the juice inside that bottle, but there are other factors which affect the price. The diagram below shows the comparative value of two bottles, and illustrates that by spending just £2.50 more, the quality of the wine in the more expensive bottle will be over four times more than that of the cheaper bottle.

Winemaker power

Winemakers can manipulate flavours, enhance aromas and bring texture to their wines. One major choice is whether they use oak or not. Oak has been used in winemaking since Roman times, when they discovered that barrels could impart delicious flavours. It’s an important tool in a winemaker’s toolkit. The initial fruit flavours can develop into more savoury and dried fruit characters including honey, nuts and hay for white wine and mushroom, leather and meaty flavours for red.

Some helpful guidelines for food matching

Keeping the acids together

High-acid foods, including tomato-based sauces and dishes that require citrus fruit or vinegar, respond well to wines with high acidity too. The acidic elements in the food will balance the wine's acidity, and the wine will taste fuller and fruitier

Crème de la crème

Creamy foods like cheese and creamy pasta sauces need a full and fruity, smooth style to balance the weight and mouthfeel of richer dishes

Weighty little number

Heavy dishes such as casseroles and autumnal stews will need a full-bodied wine to be able to cope with the stronger flavours of the food

Keep it local

In many winemaking regions of the world, the local wine has been developed to perfectly complement the traditional regional food dishes. Don't fight it - match regional food with wine from the same region

Heat it up

Chilli and tannin are not great bed fellows, as the tannin and the capsaicin bring out the worst in each other, making each more intense than they are intended to be. Spicy food needs lighter, fruitier styles of wine to make them shine

Sweet tooth

The rule of thumb here is to make sure the wine is sweeter than the food, otherwise the wine can taste drier than it is. Sweet wine is also the perfect partner for salty foods like blue cheese

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