Our Corporate Executive Chef, who has watched and nurtured people working towards their Guild Wine Master certification for almost 10 years has a few important thoughts on the process and being successful.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the people I know who I deem to be successful in their field of endeavor. What did it take to achieve their level of success? What did they do that was different from others?

These high achievers in my opinion have a dedication to their craft and practice every aspect of the activity that they are passionate about. Being passionate about something means you should have a willingness to do whatever it takes to learn about the thing you have a passion for. It requires deliberate practice, a well thought out plan of action, being organized, staying focused, and having great mentors and teachers to help you achieve those goals.

What does this mean for someone who wants to become a Guild Wine Master? It means becoming proficient at all aspects of your craft including practicing opening and pouring wine correctly every single time, learning something about the history of the wines you carry on your wine list, taking care of those wines properly, having a service "heart" when it comes to your customers, developing respectful relationships with your vendors and suppliers, training the wait staff about the wines, tracking the inventory so the wine is being rotated into service as it is reaching it's peak not when it is on the downside of its life. Constantly learning and taking classes, honing your knowledge base as well as tasting skills; keeping current with the industry and what is going on.

When you are passionate about something you want to learn more. The joy of learning becomes a positive "addiction" and the "reward" for the time and energy spent in the process. The more you know something, the more you realize what you don't know and you develop an intense desire to learn more! That is what separates the novice from the master.

Mistakes and failures happen on the journey to success. Hopefully you learn from them and go on. The successful people I know did not let setbacks stop them. Instead they evaluated the mistake or failure and learned from it. Sometimes it took several tries to be able to move beyond the problem.

Often students comment to me that they want to know what the Master level students or instructors know and they want to know it NOW! In the case of the Guild Wine Master Claude Robbins, I have to gently remind them that Claude's passion for wine has been a 30- year endeavor! He has practiced his sommelier skills, studied daily, prepared course material, had epiphany's and failures, got up the next day and started over with fresh new determination, and has not lost his passion for wine along the way.

He has worked in all aspects of the wine industry except for opening a restaurant. In other words, paid his "dues" by starting at the bottom of the industry and has worked his way to the top. This is part of the journey we all must be willing to do in order to be successful! Once you commit to doing the "work" necessary to become successful in your passion the rewards will outweigh the sacrifices.

How do you know that you are passionate about something? Let me answer the question this way. Have you ever been so engrossed in doing something that you were in a time warp? Hours flew by and pretty soon you realized that a whole morning or day has been spent doing the thing you were passionate about? Time seemed to stand still and you were having so much fun you didn't realize how much time you just spent doing the thing you loved? That's being passionate!

What it takes to accomplish something at an expert level:

How can these work for you and your journey to become a Guild Wine Master or successful in the wine industry?

Above all, enjoy the journey! If the Guild can help you realize your dreams give us a call! We would love to be your wine education partner.

Sherrie Robbins VP and Guild Executive Chef

More Questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.


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