My amazing time in the London wine trade began with a random email I sent from my computer in May 2011. After many attempts and a missed interview at a famous bank in Luxemburg, I had an inspired idea after with one of my friends to try and find work in an industry I’d enjoy. Why not do my six months work experience in the wine trade! I’ve had been to a wine tasting day back in February, which I loved, and I was already keen on marketing and sales so my ambitions drove me to try and combine the two things in one! But where to start?! I visited my work placement advisor who gave me the book of The London Chamber of Industry and Commerce where I got loads of ideas of wine companies I could approach, among them, were famous names like Laurent Perrier, Chivas, Patriarche, Pernot Ricard, all companies that I was already huge fan of and would love to one day work for.
And so I set to work, emailing and calling wine companies to enquire about the opportunities available. It wasn’t easy, not many companies had positions available but I had a couple of break throughs including an interview on Skype with a famous Champagne brand whose wine I’ve tried with a friend earlier that day! Working in the wine trade as a student of my age was still just a dream, that was until I sent that email of destiny which caught the attention of the team at Patriarche Wine Agencies in London and which started my 6 month work experience in the London wine trade.
The first week I arrived at Patriarche I was very excited to get there. It was the first time I had my own desk and phone where I could work on my own and talk to people in English, most of the time except when people on the other end heard my accent…
“Patriarche Wine Agencies good morning!”
“Oui je voudrais un petit renseignement sur vos vins..?”
“How did you get I was French in 2 seconds!?”
I also joined in with some of the office wine tastings and tasted some wines I loved and some I found interesting! Some weeks we tasted so many wines I had to remember we’re in the business of selling them, not drinking them!
Keith who’s an MW explained to me how to taste wine and in my second week threw me into the deep end with my wine event; helping to support the VIP enclosure of the Taste of London event on behalf of British Airways. It was amazing! At school, you’re often a number and no one’s gives you responsibilities, you have to do everything by yourself and try to do better than anyone else to be noticed by one of your many teachers whereas at Patriarche Wine Agencies, everyone really works together as a team which I loved and found really unique!
After 2 months working at the tastings and a lot on the company’s databases, together with some everyday tasks like answering the phone, placing an order, welcoming people to the office and sending emails, the pace got faster and faster and I started working on a huge project to create the Patriarche Wine Agencies e-newsletter with Belinda, the aim being to show you, the Patriarche Wine Agencies’ customers how we live inside the company, what wines we sell and what events we’ve been attending.
The development of the monthly e-newsletter went hand in hand with maintenance of the website in particular creating weekly blog posts which really helped me as a French person learning English as well as getting the chance to tell the company’s story.
I’ve been amazed by all the people I’ve met in London, those that are in the wine trade and those that I’ve met while out socially and how much I have learnt from them. The wine trade isn’t just a world; it is a whole family where everyone knows each other and is joined in the passion for wine.
But now I have to leave the company and leave London and go back to my business school in Lyon to learn even more. But the drive for success I’ve gathered at PWA and the opportunity to experience more will always stay with me. The people at Patriarche aren’t selling wines; wine is their life especially my colleagues Belinda and Charles who I was working with almost every day. They’re really passionate about what they do. They are wine experts!
I wish all the best to Patriarche Wine Agencies for the future!
Thank you Belinda, Keith, Charles, Kate, Paul, Penny!