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India Munari, Wine Ambassador Graduate Program 2015
What's your job about?
I work within the Wine Marketing team for Pernod Ricard Australia which is part of one of the biggest premium wine and spirits companies globally. Within my role I act as a wine educator and brand advocate. The Australian wine market is a challenging one as it is a mature market where every brand is fighting to differentiate themselves. My team is constantly working on finding new opportunities around innovative new products or unique marketing concepts.
My week consists predominately of hosting tastings for consumers, retailers and bar staff all over the country. I also do basic wine training and brand overviews, I host wine dinners and other bar events. Yesterday I even pitched a new product to one of the major liquor retailers! I also assist at marketing ‘activations’ such as the Australian Open and other sponsored brand events and finally, I think up new and fun ways to engage customers.
What's your background?
I grew up on a vineyard and working winery in Central Victoria! It was lots of fun spending my weekends among the vines and vats, but it was hard work too. There are a lot of jobs to be done in the vineyard, winery and cellar door so I got a lot of firsthand experience in the industry. I never really considered working in wine professionally, perhaps because I didn’t see myself living in regional Australia (which I assumed was the only option) or perhaps because it was too natural a transition and I knew the family business would always be there to come back to. I was coasting through my corporate career trying to settle on something that took my fancy when I saw the Wine Ambassador Graduate Program advertised (on facebook!). I sent a message to my family with the link and the text, “If I ever follow through on one idea I’ve ever had, I hope it’s this one”. When I joined the Graduate program in February 2015 my industry knowledge was very Australia-centric so the program was a fantastic way to broaden my knowledge of international wines and styles.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Of course! Wine knowledge helps but our Graduate Program sets you up with all of the knowledge you need to be successful in your role. This means applying yourself through the training period and often going above and beyond what you learn day to day. It’s about talking to people to consolidate your knowledge and tasting lots of different wines from lots of different regions in order to develop your palate. What you do need coming into this job is an open mind, a willingness to learn and a desire and passion to share your stories and knowledge with other people and of course, a love of wine.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
I love preparing basic training modules for people new to the industry. I love to be creative and add videos, practical tastings and think up new games that I know will keep my audience entertained. Wine is meant to be fun and social so I always try to keep that in mind when I am presenting anything and I get a real thrill out of seeing my ‘trainees’ engaged and talking about wine.
What are the limitations of your job?
Although I work within the wine marketing team, I don’t truly belong to a team and I often prepare tastings and present wines alone which can be a lonely job, particularly because I am naturally a social person. I also run events at lots of different times and in different cities (which can be tiring) so if you like the routine of a 9-5 desk job this probably isn’t the job for you.
3 pieces of advice for your teenage self...
- Consider what you are naturally drawn to, for me it was wine (for example my housemates and I use to hold monthly wine nights) but I never thought there was a career for me in the industry away from the vineyard and I wasn’t ready to give up city life. Talk to people in the industry and look outside the standard job possibilities. Sign up to industry newsletters that advertise job openings to give you a good feel for what is out there.
- People skills and life experience is more important than straight A’s (for my job at least)
- Get used to public speaking early and maybe even take a class on how to be a good presenter.