Sandals team members receive training from Acclaimed Master of Wine
Over 300 team members from Sandals and Beaches Resorts in Jamaica and the Turks and Caicos Islands recently benefited from a special wine training conducted by Constellation Brands’ Master of Wine, Mark de Vere.
de Vere is one of less than 400 Masters of Wine in the world and boasts almost 30 years experience in the wine industry.
Constellation Brands is the parent company of Robert Mondavi Wines and Sandals enjoys a partnership with Mondavi’s Twin Oaks which sees six varietals of the brand included in the company’s Five Star Global Gourmet offerings across the region.
In keeping with the company’s longstanding commitment to training and development, select team members from the company’s food and beverage departments at all resorts in Jamaica, and Beaches Resort in the Turk and the Caicos Islands, participated in intimate and thorough training sessions and wine tastings with de Vere who not only shared useful information on wine but also introduced the group to the newest wines set to join the company’s expansive wine list. He told team members, “I want you to leave here being comfortable with wine. If you’re not comfortable with wine it may seem intimidating, but at the end of my presentation, I want you to feel knowledgeable about what wine is and how to present it to your guests.
“My aim is to make you comfortable, gracious and confident so you enjoy talking about and selling wine. We want to take away the mystery and keep the magic,” he explained.
Commenting on the significance of the training, Sandals Resorts International’s group manager Bar and Beverage Operations, Troy King, said, “Our team members can always benefit from continuous training and this is something our company is passionate about. We want our team members to be very comfortable talking about wines, and having the chance to learn from someone with Mark’s expertise will certainly enhance their exposure and knowledge.”
King added that with the hotel chain’s new wines set to come on stream, it was important that the team is able to speak confidently about the various products.
“I am positive this training will assist in that regard,” he noted.
de Vere’s detailed training, which was conducted in the south coast, Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios regions in Jamaica, educated team members on the history and science of winemaking, wine varietals and types of grapes, grape growing and maturation, wine regions across the world, and the art of discerning notes and flavours. He also provided tips on how to present, recommend and sell wine to guests.
During the exciting wine-tasting segment of the training sessions, team members were brought through a range of wines which will soon be added to the resorts’ manager’s wine list. The team was fortunate to be among the first in the Caribbean to taste two new special varietals that are aged in spirit barrels – a Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon and a Robert Mondavi Private Selection Rum Barrel Aged Merlot. Additionally, two new rosés - Band of Roses and Kim Crawford Rosé – were also tasted. The training also highlighted the Ruffino Sparkling Rosé, a Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Fumé Blanc and The Prisoner wines, which are among the standouts on the resorts’ wine list.
Romaro Watson, a waiter at Sandals Montego Bay, thoroughly enjoyed the training and was happy to get a preview of the new wines. He remarked. “To be honest, it was phenomenal. I enjoyed learning about the new wines that we’ll be having, especially the one aged in Jamaican rum barrels. As a Jamaican, that was definitely interesting for me.” Watson, who often serves guests at private candlelight dinners, said he was excited to share the new information with his guests.
All team members who completed the training will receive certificates from the Constellation Academy of Wine.