NOffLA to offer Gold Star training

The National Off-Licence Association has introduced a wine training course as a follow-through to its Gold Star wine awards.

NOffLA’s Irish Wine Show ‘Star Awards’ initiative has been running since 2001 and is intended to be of practical assistance to consumers in making wine choices in members’ retail outlets.

With over 600 wines to select from in a typical independent off-licence, the specialist knowledge and assistance of staff in these outlets is crucial to customers.

Fortunately in most off-licences which have developed into specialist wine retailers such a service is readily available. But taking into account busy sales periods when it might not be practical for the resident wine expert in the outlet to spend the required time helping customers to make individual choices NOffLA has introduced this training course for those staff less experienced in these wines.

The course will allow staff to acquire the vocabulary and thus to be able to describe these Award-winning wines in a range of categories and at various price levels.

The course, free to NOffLA members, aims to help all staff to recommend and sell these wines – which have already been picked out by experts .

The ‘Star Awards’ wines range from Old World to New World at various price points, so there’s something for everyone.  Their endorsement by experts following a blind tasting means that customers have a specialist recommendation and an expert reassurance that they’ll enjoy excellent quality and value when they select one of the Award winners.

The wine training course, which starts on Monday 11th June, takes between three and six hours and is designed to be interactive and engaging.

A series of tasting videos for each of the 15 Gold Star wines is brought to life by the Irish Examiner’s wine expert Leslie Williams who details their characteristics, food matches and the retail scenarios where these wines would be an appropriate choice for the consumer.

In addition to the videos, there are quizzes and exercises designed to increase and reinforce staff’s knowledge of these wines.

“We think this is an exciting innovation to give our members the tools and knowledge to provide excellent levels of customer service to their clientele,” commented Anita Gilmore, NOffLA’s Training Manager, “The crux is to have an interactive course that will give staff some knowledge of these wines and help in their merchandising. There are a lot of useful tools within the course for broadening one’s knowledge of general wine terminology as well as the Irish suppliers behind the labels and links to the wineries concerned.

“The Gold Star collection makes life much easier for the off-licence staff and it will differentiate the independent off-licence from the multiple. It’s such a differentiated range of wines that this short training course is the next logical step.”

A promotional booklet featuring the Award-winning wines is also available with tasting notes on each winner.

Anyone interested in seeing these tasting videos should contact the NOffLA office on 01-2962326 or e-mail





Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free