Nearly 200 hospitality professionals have been trained in all things wine related as Wine Matters Barbados in association with the TVET Council, hosted a Wines and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) workshop recently at the Hilton Barbados.
The classes conducted by Master of Wine Michelle Cherutti-Kowal covered several areas, including the history of wine, how to produce wines, how to grow grapes, and how to taste and judge wines.
There were 192 participants over the nine days of the training.
Head of Operations for Wine Matters Barbados Mark Yelle told Barbados TODAY the aim was to provide a high level of training in wines for staff from hotels and restaurants, particularly employees new to the sector.
“The reason we are doing it is because during COVID, there was a lot of staff turn over and there are new persons who come on and need the training. A lot of people are intimidated by wine [and] this course will introduce them to the basic wines that they need to know, to help them become more comfortable serving customers at hotels and restaurants,” he explained.
Celeste Pontifex, Director of Platinum Wines, which as part of the R.L. Seale brand sponsors the WSET programme, said Barbados stands to benefit greatly from the training.
“The WSET is globally recognised as the number one training board for wines and spirits in the world, and through them we have brought in a master of wine to conduct these courses. She has the highest level of training recognised in the world. Basically, there are 416 masters of wine in the world so we feel very fortunate to have her come because this ensures staff gets the highest level of training for the level one course,” Pontifex said.
“We feel that coming out of COVID, two years of sort of a transition period for staff, some people are lacking a bit of confidence, some people are new to the tourism industry, and we felt it was a really good opportunity to start these courses once again, because we had this many years ago. We’ve had a huge response for this and we are really happy with the turnout.”
Onika John, Principal Educator at Wine Matters Barbados was happy with the number of hospitality workers who showed interest in the classes coming out of COVID.
“We are really focused on uplifting two main areas – first, the industry in terms of hospitality so that we can give our teams the best tools possible in order to give the best service possible; and also we are focused on providing education that is able to move individuals forward in terms of their career in hospitality,” she said.
People interested in taking the courses can visit the Wine Matters Barbados website for more information.