retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Albertsons announced this week that it is working with the Napa Valley Wine Academy (NVWA) to develop a proprietary certification program for professional wine stewards.

The company's beverage stewards "can take the courses online while on the job, to earn two different levels of certification: Wine 101 and Wine 201. The company is sponsoring the rigorous courses, which are on par in terms of depth and complexity."

"Albertsons Companies understands the importance of wine education," said NVWA Founder Christian Oggenfuss, "The new wine certification program that we have developed specifically for their beverage stewards, reflects the mission of our academy, which is to prioritize the experience for the student. The beverage stewards will be able to study for certification at two levels, learning about domestic wines as well as wines of the world, furthering their knowledge and career."

"By educating our beverage stewards with an advanced certification program developed by one of the top wine academies in the country, we are providing the tools that our alcoholic beverage professionals need, to help customers as they navigate hundreds of wine brands while shopping our aisles," said Albertsons' Curtis Mann, Master of Wine and Group Vice President Wine, Beer and Spirits.  "Many of our stores have more than 1,000 different wines on the shelf, and it is our job to help our customers find the right bottle for every occasion."

KC's View:

I love technology innovations, but for my money, these kinds of initiatives are equally important - raising the level of expertise on the front lines so that people can inspire their shoppers.  Kudos to Albertsons.