Southern Glazer’s Ramps Up Wine Education Program

School may be almost out for the summer, but education and training continues at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

The company continues to make investments in internal employee education programs, including the additions of Italian Wine Professional, French Wine Scholar, and Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 in Spirits, as well as the soon-to-be launched Introduction to Sake course.

With the increased focus on education, Southern Glazer’s salesforce has gained more than 2,000 new certifications over the past two years.

“Our mission is to have the best educated salesforce on earth,” says Eric Hemer, senior VP and director of wine education. “It is one of the things that sets us apart from and gives us an advantage over our competitors, and allows us to better serve the needs of both our supplier partners and our customers.”

The program starts with online introductory courses in wine, sake and spirits offered on Southern Glazer’s University (SGU), the company’s online learning and development portal. Then training continues with both online and classroom instruction in pursuit of educational certification from WSET, the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) and the Society of Wine Educators (SWE), as well as advanced-focused education and certifications.

Southern Glazer’s is also developing advanced courses in specific wine categories such as Champagne, Burgundy, Italy and Spain, that will be offered on SGU in the near future. And, as certain wine and spirits categories gain in importance, the program adds more emphasis on specific educational content – two recent examples are rosé (especially French) and prosecco


“The courses offered on SGU are open to all employees, while some are prioritized towards sales employees,” says Mel Dick, SVP of Southern Glazer’s and president of its wine division. “While our salesforce has a special responsibility to know about our products, we want everyone that works at Southern Glazer’s to learn as much as possible about the brands we sell.”

Training doesn’t stop with employees. The Company is investing in expanding its program to its national customer base, working with its digital team to create a platform to deliver educational content specifically for Southern Glazer’s customers.

Southern Glazer’s has made significant investments to position the company as a leader in wine. Its employees have successfully completed more than 5,000 wine, sake and spirits education programs, from introductory to master-level achievements. These include:

1 Master of Wine
12 WSET Certified Educators
16 WSET Level 3 Wine
16 WSET Level 3 Sake
2,685 WSET Level 2 Wine & Spirits
516 WSET Level 2 Spirits
227 WSET Level 1 Sake
1,600 Court of Master Sommeliers Level 1
121 CMS Certified Sommeliers;
21 CMS Advanced Sommeliers;
16 Master Sommeliers
Over 600 Certified Specialists of Wine
16 Certified Wine Educators
3 Certified Spirits Educators
117 Certified Specialists of Spirits
112 Italian Wine Professionals


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