The wine business is a lucrative one, commanding high fees for the best wines. Many restaurants take great care in putting together their wine list, and even grocery stores are selective in how they purchase wines, wanting to assemble a variety of flavors and prices. Many times, the liaison between producer and consumer is a wine broker, who represents both sides in the hopes of making sales and drawing a commission from the total cost. The best part is, wine brokers need little start-up capital and no office or supplies beyond business cards.
Educate yourself on wines. It helps to know the product you are selling. Get involved in wine tastings and learn about the subtle features of wines that make them popular--particularly wines you are trying to sell to customers.
Establish relationships with local wineries. Their familiarity with you as a wine broker will make it easier for you to taste their wines and learn about what gives them flavor and makes them different. Having a direct relationship with wineries will also improve your customers' perceptions of you because of your "insider knowledge."
Purchase reference books on wine to help you when you are unfamiliar with a certain wine. A popular book is "Hugh Johnson's World Atlas of Wine."
Dress well. The wine industry is associated with luxuriousness and lavishness, and you want to present yourself in the best possible way--remember, you are representing the wines you sell.
Visit local grocery stores and restaurants and introduce yourself to management. Talk to them about their wine selection and their satisfaction with it, and offer your services to help improve it. It helps to showcase your relationships with wineries. Restaurants are always interested in having a wine selection that is varied and distinctive, and if you make them feel like they are getting a distinctive product, you've got a leg up.
Keep your appointments. Showing up late or missing an appointment reflects poorly on you and can lead to a broken business relationship.
Make follow-up visits to clients you have made sales to. Inquire about their satisfaction with their wines, and be prepared to offer alternative wines that might better suit them. Consider taking your top clients on wine-tasting trips with you, further cementing your business relationship.
On return visits to clients, be sure to name-drop new wines or select stock you have access to. This will make your clients feel like you are ahead of the curve and keeping them in the know.